Sales Force Automation Software – Must-Have Features

Oftentimes, your sales representatives have to deal with a lot of multitasking. Sales teams face a lot of pressure and sometimes they might mess up their key responsibilities, which consequently leads to decreased sales results. In today’s hypercompetitive environment where the sales cycle tend to get longer businesses cannot afford to make too many mistakes. In addition, it is difficult to evaluate the performance of your team and each individual member. These factors can actually put your business at a disadvantage. Luckily, there is a solution that can transform a group of individual sales managers into a result-oriented team with common business goals.

Sales force automation (SFA) is a technological solution that can transform the way your sales reps use information and approach the sales process. Appropriate SFA software positively affects your organization by enhancing all of the sales processes in the sales pipeline. As a driving force of your business, your sales team needs the tools to increase revenue and drive your company’s success.

Sales force automation tools provides companies with great range of functionality: from sales predictions to a complete overview of your customers. Take a closer look at the features that every SFA software should offer:

Sales Forecasting

Sales forecasting will stimulate your sales team to work more efficiently. Detailed analytical indicators will give a deep insight into customer behavior based on existing sales trends and previous customer communications. You will also have access to prospects on every stage of the sales pipeline. These breakthrough metrics enable your sales managers to see the bigger picture of the sales activities and plan their sales accordingly.

Synchronized Workflow

The time when every important notification or task had to be recorded on paper has passed. Your managers will not be able to navigate in countless volumes of emails, notes, planned events and mixed spreadsheets if you do not have a single platform where all of documents are unified on a single platform. Excellent SFA software has the ability to import all valuable data from Excel and integrate with MS Exchange. Once again, your sales reps will have the ability to be aware of all the changes that might occur to work as a real team.

Customization Options

Customize your sales force automation solution in accordance to the specific needs of your company. Rearrange the layout of the entire SFA application to get access to the data you need most. Also, if you need to communicate with your contacts, you can create templates for any type of documents. Individual personalization option will give your sales staff the ability to adjust the interface of the software in the way that will work for them best.

Lead Management

Members of the sales team do not have to work separately on their leads – suitable SFA solution gives the opportunity to identify the stage your prospects are at. After careful evaluation of all leads, the system will distribute the sales-ready prospects to the right sales representatives.

With customers becoming more demanding than ever, the task of retaining the clients has never been more obvious. Not to mention that your sales representatives need to recognize potential sales opportunities on the early stage of the pipeline. Understanding the high standards your customers establish is a key to getting the deal closed faster. Integration of sales force automation will give your firm the opportunity to identify each contact by creating a full profile on your existing customers and early-stage leads. Such systematic approach will help your sales reps recognize potential deals from the very beginning, which are most likely to convert in deals later.

Your sales team will undoubtedly appreciate the benefits of sales force automation. The tool will help them understand the structure of potential sales, making the predictions easier and more specific. Establish an efficient pipeline of the sales process and your team will uncover a completely new level of productivity. For example, bpm’online platform provides excellent SFA software that can give you a sensible expectation of the future customer-behavior based on your past events, performances and client’s previous actions. The best SFA software is equipped with analytical filters that will scan all of the available data to forecast your future deals. Of course, that would be impossible if it were not for accurate metrics. You have to understand that unlike SFA solutions, Excel spreadsheet formula and shrewd business acumen will not be able calculate precise analytics. An in-depth review of your business activity consists of dozen of critical indicators.

Another amazing bonus is that you can use certain SFA solutions to easily handle your leads from anywhere in the world. Moving towards cloud-based platforms is probably one of the most significant achievements in sales automation industry. Liberated from the need to install the software on countless PCs, companies worldwide are exploring the advantages of cloud-based options.

Branding yourself in the market is easier like never before

As they say what’s in a name, but wait, everything is in a name as it’s the recognition you gain when talking about the business. All around, you will see the consultants, who will tell you which names suits your image perfectly and how does business happen. We talk about a website here which offers you within budget services in a quick time. It is Nameperfection that we are talking about and this website has everything that you seek to have. First point of concern in branding your business is that you should have perky names which make you recognizable in the competition which requires being unique.

How the services from Nameperfection help you out?

While launching your business, you need to take up the names which are completely new and are bound to get browsed in your category of work. For instance, there is a .com domain which is the most browsed one and makes you a known entity in the realm of the business. Experts recommend that your company’s name has to match up with .com so that you are more visible and as per the customer tendencies, they search the name of the company by attaching.com with name.

When you have picked up the right name of the company, chances of acquiring better customer base is quite probable which helps you in establishing your business in a better way. This company offers you consultation in the field of business with the names that you are going to fall for which includes the following:

  • catchy business
  • cool company
  • creative business
  • cute business
  • trendy business

Besides that, you need to keep in mind that having an understanding of branding and related terms also helps you to assimilate the business trend in a better way. Many times, people look for search domains which are of great help and when it comes to naming your business, there is a website which can work well in your favor to get what you seek to have.

There are several products categories as well in which services are provided including the following ones:

  • Financial
  • Consulting
  • Engineering
  • Construction
  • Beauty
  • Education
  • Travel
  • Technology
  • Sports
  • Social
  • Shopping
  • Service
  • Security
  • Real Estate
  • Production
  • Product
  • Photography
  • Organization
  • Music
  • Multimedia
  • Financial
  • Fashion
  • Event
  • Entertainment
  • Energy
  • Employment
  • Education
  • Computer

The products offered by the company are in line with the best kind of services which help you in making the most of it. Branding is a must and nothing can be overlooked because of the business risks involved. Having an impactful name makes you a known face in the industry and you need to have the right kind of things in mind while talking about the branding process adopted in the current business scenario.

You need to keep in mind certain tricks and tips for choosing the best consultant available and with a firm like Nameperfection, chances of getting more recognition indeed becomes a commendable thing.

 

New Penalties for Employing Illegal Overseas Workers in Australia

the Migration Amendment (Reform of Employer Sanctions) Act 2013 and the Migration Amendment Regulation 2013 (No. 3) came into effect.

The Act introduces new civil penalties for Australian employers that employ workers from overseas who are not allowed to work, or employ overseas workers in breach of work-related visa conditions.

Under the new laws, employers are liable even if they do not know that a worker is not allowed to work or has work-related visa conditions.

Employers may also be liable even if the illegal worker was referred to them by an employment agency.

Executive officers of companies (directors, secretaries, CEOs and CFOs) may also be liable if they do not take all reasonable steps to prevent the company from employing illegal workers.

However, if employers can prove that they took “reasonable steps at reasonable times” to verify that their workers are allowed to work in Australia without breaching their visa conditions, they will not be liable.

Employing non-Australian workers – the basics

Australian citizens and New Zealand citizens who live in Australia are allowed to work in Australia.

People from other countries need to hold a visa to legally enter or remain in Australia.

Some visas do not allow the visa holder to work at all. Other visas have work-related conditions that restrict the type or amount of work the visa holder can do.

Offences

It is illegal to allow a non-citizen who does not hold a visa to work.

It is illegal to allow a non-citizen who holds a visa to work in breach of a work-related condition of their visa.

It is illegal to refer a non-citizen for work if they do not hold a visa or if it breaches a work-related condition of their visa.

Employers who are visa sponsors have additional obligations that are not dealt with in this article. It is an offence to breach those sponsorship obligations.

Penalties and fines for employers

The new civil penalties for employers range from $1,530 for individuals and $7,650 for companies for a first infringement notice to a maximum civil penalty of $15,300 for individuals and $76,500 for companies.

There are also criminal penalties including imprisonment and substantial fines for employers who knew, or were reckless as to whether the worker was not allowed to work or had work restrictions.

Required checks

The new laws require Australian employers to take “reasonable steps at reasonable times” to verify that their workers are allowed to work in Australia without breaching their visa conditions.

Australian citizens, permanent residents or New Zealand citizens

Before employing workers who claim to be Australian citizens, Australian permanent residents or New Zealand citizens, employers should inspect official documents that verify the worker’s citizenship status.

Workers from overseas

Before employing overseas workers, employers should check their visa details AND work-related visa conditions on the Department of Immigration and Citizenship’s Visa Entitlement and Verification Online (VEVO) computer system.

Temporary visas – employers should note the visa expiry date of workers who hold temporary visas and check VEVO again immediately after that date to ensure the workers have been granted a new visa and check for any work-related visa conditions.

Bridging visas are short-term visas with no fixed expiry date usually granted while the visa holder awaits the outcome of a visa application. Employers should check VEVO regularly to ensure that workers who hold bridging visas continue to hold a visa and check for any work-related visa conditions.

Workers referred by contractors or labour hire companies

On 1 June 2013 the Migration Amendment (Reform of Employer Sanctions) Act 2013 and the Migration Amendment Regulation 2013 (No. 3) came into effect.

The Act introduces new civil penalties for Australian employers that employ
workers from overseas who are not allowed to work, or employ overseas workers in breach of work-related visa conditions.

Before employing workers referred by a third party, employers should get written verification that they are allowed to work in Australia and whether they have any work-related visa conditions.

Recordkeeping

The onus is on employers to prove that they took reasonable steps to verify that their workers are allowed to work in Australia without breaching their visa conditions.

It is therefore vital that employers keep records of all checks that they do including the dates they do them and to keep copies of any related documents such as passports that they inspect.

Duties of executive officers

Executive officers of companies should take all reasonable steps to ensure the company complies with all laws relating to employing non-Australian workers.

All of the company’s employees, agents and contractors who are from overseas or who are involved in hiring, rostering or supervising employees from overseas should be given any necessary training to ensure that the company does not employ overseas workers in breach of work-related visa conditions.

Written by Registered Migration Agent Svenja Greer from Australia Direct Visas and Migration

The team at Australia Direct can give advice and assistance to Australian employers who wish to employ overseas workers, including:
•advice about sponsorship obligations
•assistance with preparing & lodging sponsorship & nomination applications

Termination of Employment in Cyprus

The Employment Law (100(1)/2000) in Cyprus includes both statute and case law. Specifically, Cyprus statute law contains issues related to the termination of employment, paid leave, annual social insurance, maternity leave, equal treatment at work e.t.c. The Labour Disputes Courts deals with issues related to the rights of employees and employers.

The Employment Law applies to every employee who has a contract or employment relationship in the private, public and semi-governmental sector.

The Employment Law does NOT apply to:

· employees whose total period of employment is less than one month;

· employees whose total hours of employment is less than eight hours in a given week;

· employees whose employment is of a casual nature and/or particular nature under the condition that in these cases the non-application of the Law is justified by objective reasons;

In this article, our employment lawyers will present the primary aspects of termination of employment in Cyprus, i.e. notice period, unlawful termination of employment and redundancy.

Under the Termination of Employment Law (24/1967), an employer intending to dismiss an employee, who has completed at least 26 weeks of continuous employment, is obliged to give the employee a minimum period of notice based on the length of his/her service, as illustrated below:

26 -51 weeks work (6 months- 1 year)

One week notice

52 – 103 weeks work (1-2 years)

Two weeks notice

104 – 155 weeks work (2-3 years)

Four weeks notice

156- 207 weeks work (3-4 years)

Five weeks notice

208 – 259 weeks work (4-5 years)

Six weeks notice

260 – 311 weeks work (5-6 years)

Seven weeks notice

More than 312 weeks work (more than 6 years)

Eight weeks notice

Unlawful termination of employment:

Following the Termination of Employment Law, an employee whose employment has been terminated unlawfully after completing 26 weeks of continuous employment with an employer is entitled to receive compensation. In addition, an employee who quit his/her job due to his/her employer’s conduct is also eligible to receive compensation. Second of all, it should be clarified that the amount of compensation is determined by the Labour Disputes Court following an application by the employee.

When assessing the amount of compensation, the Court takes into account the following criteria:

· The remuneration of the employee;

· The duration of employee’s service;

· The restriction of employee’s career prospects;

· The age of the employee;

· The circumstances of employee’s dismissal;

An employee cannot claim compensation if he/she terminated his/her employment for one of the following reasons:

· In case the termination of employment held as an outcome of redundancy, Act of God, war, riots, extreme weather conditions, etc.;

· In case of dismissal due to redundancy;

· In case the employment is terminated at the end of fixed-term contract;

· In case the dismissal is due to employee’s fault;

How to receive compensation for unlawful dismissal:

Submitting an application for unlawful dismissal compensation requires a professional legal support. An employment lawyer will assist you with all the necessary legal and administrative procedures so that to help you to get the compensation you deserve. Therefore, if you wish to receive a customised legal support contact one of our lawyers.

Redundancy:

The amount of redundancy payment is calculated as illustrated below:

Period of continuous employment

Amount of redundancy payment

Up to 4 years

2 Weeks wages for each year of continuous employment

More than 4 and up to 10 years

2.5 Weeks wages for each period of continuous employment

More than 10 and up to 15 years

3 Weeks wages for each year of continuous employment

More than 15 and up to 20 years

3.5 Weeks wages for each year of continuous employment

More than 20 and up to 25 years

4 Weeks wages for each year of continuous employment

How to claim redundancy payment:

In order to get payment from the Redundancy Fund, the employee must make a claim on the prescribed form, that can be found on Social Insurance Offices, Citizen’s Service Centre and the official website of the Ministry of Labour and Social Insurances.

The claim must be submitted to the closest Social Insurance Office, within three months at latest from the date of termination of employment. Nevertheless, in cases where the employee proves that he/she had a good reason for the delay, payment may be approved given that the claim is made within 12 months from the date of termination of his/her employment.

Five Things an Employer Needs to Know About Employment Law

It is an unavoidable demand of running any business that an employer must have a good knowledge of employment law whether they are self employed and/or employ other staff. They should have an awareness of the rights of the employee, the employer themselves and where each party stands in the unfortunate event that the normal working relationship breaks down. This article addresses the five key areas that employers and HR departments need to consider when dealing with employment law in the UK.

1. How You Define Employees and Employers
It is important, before delving into the intricacies of employment law to have a clear idea of the parties that are involved and how their roles should be defined.

Employed vs Self Employed: This distinction can be less apparent than you may think. If a worker has agreed to provide a service/work under contract for an organisation then they will be a worker employed by that organisation unless the organisation is actually employing the services of that individual’s business, in which case the worker is self-employed and thus not a direct employee of the organisation. An example of such a scenario would be a contractor who offers his services to an employer via his own business rather than agree a direct contract of employment himself.

Part Time vs Full time: This is a heavily contextualised concept as the hours a full time employee works in one organisation could be the same as the hours worked by a part time employee in another. Once an organisation has set the hours that a full time employee is expected to work, a part time employee is defined as a worker employed on the same contractual basis but for reduced hours. The key thing to remember here is that part time employees should not be treated any less favourably in comparison to their full time counterparts purely because of the difference in hours that they work, unless their hours are a justifiable factor in the decision process. For example, pay should always be awarded on a pro-rata basis for part time workers in comparison to an equivalent full time role. Employees have the right to challenge and demand written explanations if they think that they are being treated differently on this basis alone.

Temporary vs Permanent: This distinction depends upon the contract of employment which we will discuss later on. The temporary or fixed term worker will have a contract which agrees their employment for a fixed period of time as opposed to an ongoing permanent relationship. As with part time workers, temporary workers must not be treated any differently to their permanent counterparts purely on the basis that they are on fixed term contracts.
2. Statutory Rights
These are the rules that govern and provide the framework for how you will need to deal with your staff from the start of the recruitment process to the cessation of the contract of employment. They cover not only the definitions of employment types mentioned above but every other area of individuals’ rights in the work place. They are too broad and detailed to discuss in their entirety here but, in summary, include:

Pay

Minimum Pay – Rates for over 16s, varying for different age groups
Equal Pay – Contracts for women employees must include the same pay and benefits as that of a man in an equivalent role
Pay Slips – To be itemised and provided before or on the date of pay
Discrimination – Employees must not be discriminated against based upon “protected characteristics” such as age and sex. Provisions must be in place for disabled workers
Equality Act 2010 – Employers do have the right to choose between two candidates of equal ability on such a characteristic if it is under-represented amongst their staff
Working Hours

Maximum Working Week – 48 hours, regular breaks etc. Opt outs can be agreed but not demanded
Flexible Working – Parents of children up to 18 years old have a right to apply to changes to their hours and work location which an employer can only refuse if specific circumstances are met
Parental Leave
Maternity Leave – 26 weeks ordinary and 26 weeks additional entitlement
Paternity Leave – 2 weeks entitlement with additional 26 weeks when mothers return to work
Absence

Sickness – Statutory sick pay entitlement etc
Compassionate Leave – Employees have a right to time off (but not pay) if they have illness or death in the immediate family
Whistleblowing – Protection for some disclosures in specific circumstances which would otherwise breach the employee’s contract.

Workplace Health & Safety (see below)

Redundancy – When an employee’s role is no longer required.

Statutory Pay
Notice Period
Relocation Opportunities
TUPE – Conditions of employment must be transferred in the event of a take over.

Pensions – Most employers must offer employees a stakeholder pension provision.

Dismissal & Disciplinary

Unfair Dismissal – The employer must have a fair reason (e.g., employee conduct) to dismiss an employee with 1 years employment and must follow a fair dismissal procedure. Some reasons for dismissal will qualify to be considered as automatic unfair dismissals such as union action, time off for parenting etc

Wrongful Dismissal – Notice must be given by all parties (unless a fixed term contract is lapsing) as set out in common law

Constructive Dismissal – If an employer breaks the terms of a contract and consequently forces an employee’s dismissal
Retirement – The Default Retirement Age is ultimately due to be scrapped by Oct 2011 although there are certain measures already in place to reach this end (Retirement is therefore no longer a fair reason for dismissal).

One of the most essential things to remember with statutory rights is that they are regularly changing. As an employer or HR worker you must remain familiar with the latest developments.

3. The Contract
Perhaps the most important element of any employer-employee relationship is the contract of employment. All parties will have certain statutory rights as mentioned above but the finer details and practicalities of the relationship will be contained in the employment contract. The contract will determine the procedures to follow in the event of staff under-performance or disciplinary proceedings, any employee benefits and concessions above and beyond their statutory entitlements (e.g., maternity leave, compassionate leave) and ultimately the conditions and processes of releasing staff either through dismissal, redundancy or resignation.

4. Trade Unions
If you are an employer of more than 21 individuals you may be approached by a trade union seeking recognition from your organisation. The Trade Union needs to show that it has a 10% representation in your workforce and that those members wish your organisation to acknowledge it. You will have 10 days to respond to the request otherwise you will have effectively rejected the approach. In the event of rejection the Trade Union can apply to Central Arbitration Committee to force you to accept their approach for recognition. Once a Trade Union has been recognised, an employee is entitled to take part in industrial action organised by the union (for a period of up to eight weeks) if the industrial action was called for by an official Trade Union ballot. Any dismissals resulting from this action would automatically qualify for unfair dismissal.

5. Health And Safety
An employer is obliged by common law to provide a safe working environment and to ensure that their workers are fully competent in the roles they are filling. However employers are also bound by statutory requirements which reinforce these obligations and the fact that all employees must, at all times, be fully capable, be trained in the safety procedures that they must follow and be aware of the Health & Safety Act 1974.

To this end employers are also required to perform regular assessments of the risk in the workplace, not only to their own employees but any other individuals who may be affected. Employers of at least five members of staff must document these assessments and are in addition required to produce a documented health and safety policy which is communicated to all members of staff.

There are many more requirements that an employer must be aware of to fulfill these objectives and specific additional regulations which apply to particular industries and workplaces.

As you can see employment law is a very broad and nuanced topic and it takes a fair amount of effort and time to become familiar with it. Therefore, if you are in doubt, or you need guidance on a specific circumstance you should seek advice from a qualified employment law specialist, such as Employment Solicitors Basingstoke to make sure you take the easiest and most economical path to a resolution.

Why Pre-Employment Screening is So Critical

It is the ultimate nightmare for every human resources, security, or risk-management professional: Your phone rings late Friday afternoon as you wind up loose ends from yet another challenging week and are looking forward to a quiet weekend. A panic-stricken voice informs you that Pat in accounting has assaulted another co-worker and threatened to harm a supervisor. It turns out Pat was not only stealing money, but did not really have the experience claimed.

As the mess is being sorted out, everyone will be asking you the same question over and over. From the company CEO, CFO, and corporate attorney to managers, supervisors, and co-workers, there is one thing everyone wants to know: How did that person get hired in the first place?

If the matter turns into litigation, the legal fees for just one incident of workplace misconduct can easily soar into the six figures, and jury awards can be astounding. Your firm can be sued by injured co-workers, members of the public who were damaged, or even the bad employee who may claim wrongful termination. Once litigation starts, you will also find that in addition to your normal duties you now have a second and nearly full-time job–dealing with the discovery process in litigation and the organizational fallout.

The statistics on the consequences of even one bad hire are chilling. The financial cost to businesses from theft, violence, and false credentials can be enormous. There are other costs that are hard to measure, such as the harm to employee morale or the firm’s reputation. Industry statistics suggest the cost of even one bad hiring decision can exceed $100,000, taking into account the time spent recruiting, hiring, and training and the amount of time the job is left undone or done badly by an unqualified applicant.

Given the enormous price tag of a bad hiring decision, it is no surprise that employers of all sizes are turning to various tools to boost the effectiveness of their hiring process. The tools run from honesty and skills testing to behavior-based and group interview techniques.

Ultimately, none of these tools has proved effective in weeding out bad candidates, unless used in conjunction with a program of pre-employment background screening to obtain hard facts about a candidate.

Pre-employment background screening works in four critical ways:

o Just having background screening can discourage applicants with something to hide. A person with a criminal record or false resume will simply apply to a company that does not pre-screen.

o It limits uncertainty in the hiring process. Although using instinct in the hiring process can be important, basing a decision on hard information is even better.

o A screening program demonstrates that an employer has exercised due diligence, providing a great deal of legal protection in the event of a lawsuit.

o Having a screening program encourages applicants to be especially forthcoming in their interviews.

Pre-Screening Tools

Checking criminal records is a good example of a pre-screening process that helps promote safe hiring. It is estimated that 10 percent of job applicants have criminal conviction records relevant to the hiring process; without a screening program, it is statistically almost certain that a company will hire someone with a criminal record. Contrary to popular perception, there is no national database available to private employers. Criminal records are normally checked by having qualified researchers visit courthouses in counties where an applicant has lived or worked. Because there are more than 10,000 courthouses in America where records are kept, most employers outsource this task to qualified firms that specialize in pre-employment screening.

Another important tool is resume verification. Job applicants often use their resumes as a marketing tool, but the hiring company can find itself in trouble when resumes exceed the bounds of honesty. It is estimated that up to 30 percent of resumes contain material falsehoods that pertain to previous employment, education, and professional licenses. A professional screening firm can verify whether an applicant has the degrees or licenses claimed. Even if a past employer will not give details about job performance, just verifying the job dates and job title is crucially important. One of the most critical parts of the hiring process is to look for unexplained gaps in employment. That is important in order to help a screening firm check the appropriate courthouses while searching criminal records.

Other tools can include credit reports (when relevant to the job), Social Security number traces, driving records, national wants and warrants, as well as civil and federal court records.

Common Employer Concerns

Even with all of the advantages of a screening program, many employers still have questions and concerns about implementing background checks. These are the seven most commons concerns that employers express:

Is it legal?

Employers have an absolute right to conduct lawful pre-employment screening in order to hire the best-qualified candidates. A federal law called the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) balances the right of employers to know whom they hire with an applicant’s right of disclosure and privacy. Under that law, the employer first obtains the applicant’s written consent to be screened. In the event negative information is found, the applicant must be given the opportunity to correct the record. Employers should set up a consistent policy so similarly situated applicants are treated the same. A qualified screening company will assist an employer with legal compliance issues.

Does it invade privacy?

No. Employers can find out about only those things that an applicant has done in his “public” life. For example, checking court records for criminal convictions or calling past employers or schools does not invade a zone of personal privacy. Employers are looking only at information that is a valid and non-discriminatory predictor of future job performance. To maintain privacy, most background firms have Internet systems with secured Web sites. Employers should also take steps to maintain confidentially within their organization, such has keeping reports in a separate file from the personnel files.

Is it cost-effective?

A pre-employment screening will typically cost less than the cost of a new employee on his or her first day on the job. That’s pocket change compared to the damage one bad hire can cause. In addition, employers typically only screen an applicant if a decision has been made to extend an offer, and not all applicants. It is ironic that some firms will spend hours shopping for a computer bargain and at the same time try to save money by not adequately checking out a job applicant, which represents an enormous investment. The bottom line is that problem employees usually cause employee problems, and money is well spent to avoid problems in the first place.

Does it discourage good applicants?

Employers who engage in screening do not find that good applicants are deterred. Job applicants have a desire to work with qualified and safe co-workers in a profitable environment. A good candidate understands that background screening is a sound business practice that helps a firm’s bottom line and is not an invasion of privacy or an intrusion.

Does it delay hiring?

No. Background screening is normally done in just 48 to 72 hours. Most of the information needed is not stored in databases but must be obtained by going to courthouses or calling up past employers or schools. Occasionally there can be delays that are out of anyone’s control, such as previous employers who will not return calls, schools that are closed for vacation, or a court clerk who needs to retrieve a record from storage.

Furthermore, an organization that is careful in its hiring practices should find a lower rate of “hits” during background checks. There are a number of steps a firm should take to ensure safe hiring well before a name is submitted to a background company. These techniques include making it clear your firm does background checks in order to weed out bad applicants, knowing the “red flags” to look for in an application, and asking questions in interviews that will filter out problem candidates.

Is it difficult to implement?

For an overburdened HR, security, or risk-management department already handling numerous tasks, outsourcing background screening can be done very quickly and effectively. A qualified pre-employment screening firm can set up the entire program and provide all the necessary forms in a short period of time. Many firms have Internet-based systems that speed up the flow of information and allow an employer to track the progress of each applicant in real time.

How do we select a service provider?

An employer should look for a professional partner, not just an information vendor selling data at the lowest price. An employer should apply the same criteria that it would use in selecting any other provider of critical professional services. For example, if a employer were choosing a law firm for legal representation, it would not select the cheapest–it would clearly want to know it is selecting a firm that is competent, experienced, and knowledgeable, as well as reputable and reasonably priced. The same criteria should also apply to critical HR services. A screening firm should have an understanding of the legal implications of background checks, particularly the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act.

Both employers and applicants have learned that pre-employment screening is an absolute necessity in today’s business world. More importantly, they’ve learned due diligence in hiring is a way to keep firms safe and profitable in these difficult times.

Lester S. Rosen is an attorney at law and President of Employment Screening Resources, a national background checking company located in California offering employment screening services such as employee background screening, job verification, and credential verification.

He is the author of, “The Safe Hiring Manual–Complete Guide to Keeping Criminals, Imposters and Terrorists Out of Your Workplace.” (512 pages-Facts on Demand Press), the first comprehensive book on employment screening.

He is also a consultant, writer and frequent presenter nationwide on pre-employment screening and safe hiring issues. He has qualified and testified in the California, Florida and Arkansas Superior Courts as an expert witness on issues surrounding safe hiring and due diligence. His speaking appearances have included numerous national and statewide conferences.

When Does a Job Become a Career

For those who are employed now, along with those who are searching for a job, employment at its basis represents a need. For many people that need is related to a source of income and for those who are unemployed it becomes a necessity that reduces the amount of perceived selectiveness when weighing possible options. In other words, the first job (or any job) that comes along may be accepted whether or not it is the best possible choice. If it wasn’t the best option, the process of searching for a better job begins or continues. That is often the reason why many of the resumes I’ve seen as a resume writer include a list of jobs that are short-term in nature.

This is also directly related to a trend I’ve observed, where many of my resume clients place more of an emphasis on the jobs they’ve held or are searching for now, rather than looking at development of an entire career. There seems to be an uncertainty about when a job becomes a career. I have coached my clients to develop a different viewpoint and look at jobs from the perspective of how those employment opportunities are contributing to a career plan. When someone is able to change how they view their career, along with the jobs they have held, they are able to transform their attitude and self-belief, becoming a much stronger job candidate regardless of the number of available opportunities.

What is a Job?

Because employment is related to a personal need first and foremost, it is easy to focus only on that job and the conditions experienced. A job may be something a person takes out of necessity and hopes will get better over time, which can result in feeling trapped if the conditions are intolerable or the work requires a skill level far below what has already been developed. As a career coach I’ve seen some people develop a sense of helpless and self-resignation when time in a job like that continues and it seems there is no way out of it. Some of my clients have worked in the same job for many years and their self-belief has become so limited that it is conveyed in the tone of their communication and their disposition.

What has to be done first is to change the perception that a current or previous job represents who that person is as a potential candidate. That is also related to the problem with chronologically written resumes, there is an emphasis placed on what the person is doing right now rather than take a long view of his or her career. Everyone is a summary of all of the jobs they’ve had, even if they have only had one long-term job. A job, or series of jobs, is all part of a bigger picture and that is a person’s career plan.

What is a Career?

A person has a career that they are developing with every position held and through those jobs they have acquired knowledge, skills, and abilities. This is why I take a different approach to resume writing and emphasize first the skills that a person has and is transferable to the next job they hope to acquire. It takes the emphasis off of the current job, which helps encourage recruiters and hiring managers to look closer at their resume. With a chronological resume, it requires someone to look at each job and try to ascertain or guess what skills a person has and in a competitive job market that type of extensive review may not be conducted. In order to change the format of a person’s resume I have to help them first see their jobs in relation to their overall career, career goals, and career plan.

A career is often related to and defined as an occupation, which a person can have one of during their lifetime, more than one of at a time, or change as their interests change. I have multiple occupations that include work as an educator, writer, resume writer, career coach, and the list continues. While I have had different job titles the work itself is all related to my occupations in some form. A career involves developing a long-term focus and viewing each job from a perspective of what has been learned and the skills that have been developed or acquired. Every job contributes to that career in some manner, even if the job offers nothing new or challenging and confirms that a person is ready to find new employment or a new occupation.

As an example, my career occupation has always involved teaching and leading others – regardless of a job title. I went from a corporate environment as a manager of training and development to an academic environment with responsibility for leading and developing faculty, along with teaching students instead of corporate employees. With every job held I have viewed it from a perspective of how it contributes to my career, whether or not each job was perfect, imperfect, beneficial, or short-term. This means that I do not have to ever dwell on a job that was unsatisfying as I am focused on the bigger picture and what I can do to continue to develop my career and occupation(s).

Developing a Career Focus

If you can change how you view your career, even if you plan to change your occupation at some point, you will find immediate benefits. The development of a long-range view will help you to feel in control of you career, even if you are presently working within the least desirable circumstances possible. Instead of seeing a job or series of jobs as having no value or representing a failure of some kind, you begin to focus on the skills and knowledge you possess and are continuing to develop. The following steps can help you to begin to develop a career focus.

Step #1: Define Your Present Occupation.

If you are frequently changing jobs and there isn’t a clear pattern established for the jobs selected, it is helpful to define the bigger picture of what you want to do with your career. If you have been in the same job for some time, or held several related jobs, you may find it easier to describe your occupation. It is also possible that some jobs also define a person’s occupation. For example, teaching can be described as both a job and an occupation; although there are other education-related occupations that a teacher can work towards.

Step #2: Develop a Vision Statement.

Now that you have developed a description of the occupation you are presently working in, it is time to develop a vision statement for your career. This doesn’t mean that you have to describe what you will be doing for the next 20 years or that you have to settle on a particular occupation. However, consider what you want to work towards in the long-term. For example, are there various types or levels of jobs within your occupation that you can work towards as you gain additional knowledge and/or skills?

Step #3: Develop a Short-Term and Long-Term Career Plan.

Once a vision statement has been established you can now develop a career plan and this will immediately help shift your mindset and create a sense of control for your career. As a career coach this helps many of my clients overcome a sense of helplessness in their career, even if they don’t have immediate options to explore. A career plan involves establishing short-term and long-term goals that are related to your vision. While this does not mean it has to be a fixed plan and one that can never be adapted or modified, it does provide a starting point to work from and this creates a proactive mindset.

Step #4: Develop Job-Related Milestones.

With a career plan established I also encourage my clients to develop job-related milestones to maintain a focus on their career plan and vision. For example, if the short-term goal is to develop new skills as a means of advancing in a particular occupation, a milestone could be a 90-day check-in to determine if those skills are being acquired. If those skills have not been acquired then next steps can be decided upon and range from asking for different assignments on the job, looking for other positions within the same organization, or finding a new job if the current job has reached a point where it offers no further long-term value. These milestones are reminders and provide an opportunity to reflect on the career plan to determine if there are any changes to be made.

Step #5: Conduct an Ongoing Skills and Knowledge Self-Assessment.

When I first ask my clients to describe the skills and knowledge they have now I often receive a response that is very similar to a job description for their present employment. When you have a career plan developed and a long-range view of your occupation, you will also have a fairly good idea of the knowledge and skills required to advance within this occupation. You can use this as a form of measurement for your existing skills and knowledge. It also helps you ascertain what you have gained or could possibly acquire from your present job. Every job held throughout your entire career has contributed to what you possess now and that is what you should consider as you evaluate what you have and what is still needed.

Step #6: Conduct a Professional Development Plan.

It is not uncommon for people to sign up for classes, workshops, or seminars without relating it to a career plan. You will find it to be much more beneficial to utilize these types of developmental opportunities as a means of furthering your occupation and being strategic in the decisions made to invest your time. You may have a job that requires professional development and that may mean taking workshops or seminars that do not appear to be relevant or necessary. However, it is still possible you could learn something or at a very minimum, make a professional connection with someone in your occupation. For the development of your occupation and career it is helpful to establish professional opportunities as part of your plan and include it in your list of career or job-related milestones.

When you are able to view your career from the perspective outlined above you will create a mental shift away from your present job to your occupation as a whole and the goals you have established for yourself. You will find that this gives you more of a purpose to your career and eventually you will develop a sense of self-empowerment for your jobs and self-actualization as milestones and goals become fully realized. When you decide to change jobs or careers you will speak to potential employers with a sense of confidence in your talents and abilities as you will be presenting your career from a perspective of capability and transferable skills rather than just a need for a job. A person who has a career plan and goals is a much stronger candidate as they have a clearly defined sense of self. A job doesn’t become a career, rather it is part of an occupation that is developed over time and with a plan