Should You Pass On A Candidate Based On Their Online Reputation?

August 20th, 2013

Technology today offers so many conveniences and advances… one of which is your ability to ‘Google’ a candidate to find out a little more about them. Some candidates have squeaky-clean reputations, while others make it easy for you to discover their wild side or inappropriate past. What should you do if you find a candidate with a less than stellar online reputation? Should you just move on to the next candidate?

Establishing an online background check:

Today, many HR departments and hiring managers supplement the traditional background check with some online sleuthing. Researching candidates profiles on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube has become commonplace. This methodology can be beneficial to help you find out more information about a candidate, especially things that they might not reveal in an interview. A simple search can reveal much about a person.

What kinds of things should you look for?

  • Negative rants about previous or current employers
  • Inappropriate posts or pictures
  • Breaches in confidentiality of previous or current employers
  • Illegal behavior

If you find information that is damaging, does that mean that the candidate should be automatically nixed? Maybe not – Consider when the offending post appeared online – is it from several years ago or just last week? A recent lapse in judgment may be more concerning than one from several years ago.

If you implement an online aspect to background checks, make sure you record when and where you conduct the search as well as what results you found. Don’t be too quick to dismiss a candidate based on their online presence. Take the time to weigh the pros and cons and determine if the candidate simply had a few youthful indiscretions or if they have an ongoing issue that makes them unfit for employment.

If you find something that truly makes you feel they’re not a good candidate, it’s OK to pass and move on to someone with a more appropriate background.


Four Ways to Build your Talent Pool on LinkedIn

August 14th, 2013

Employers using LinkedIn are finding it’s easier than ever to reach passive candidates – those who are highly skilled but not actively looking for a job. On LinkedIn, you can find people based on their qualifications and reach out to them directly. You can also search for active job seekers to get current leads. LinkedIn offers what we like to call “just-in-time talent” – a pool of employees who are just waiting for you to contact them about your job opening. To get the most from LinkedIn, follow these steps:

Create a company page

The first step in establishing a presence on LinkedIn is ensuring your company is well represented with its own page. Consider this part of your employer branding! Users can follow your company’s page and keep up-to-date on the latest happenings. You’ll want to post regular updates on the page so that they show up in your follower’s news feeds. You will also want a personal profile so that you can reach out to people directly. This two-pronged approach will help get you started with recruiting on this popular social platform.

Build connections

You can use LinkedIn to connect with past colleagues, current employees and friends. Doing this helps you expand your personal network but also your company’s reach! Make an effort to get out of your shell and connect with a variety of people by joining groups and connecting to people you know. You can also research candidates on the site and learn more about them by reading their profiles.

Engage your audience and interact

Use groups, the company news feed and your personal connections on LinkedIn to build engagement. The best part of social media is that it is social! Engaging with people online will provide you with a wide pool of potential recruits – and expose you to their networks as well. Establish the relationships now so that you can tap your network when you have a job posting.

Use paid or free features

LinkedIn offers a variety of options that make it easier for you to reach your perfect candidate. Some of the paid features include creating a basic, recruiter profile or corporate recruiter profile. Based on your needs, these options can help you reach out to people who aren’t directly connected to you. You can also pay to post a job directly to LinkedIn’s job search.

Creating an active, engaging LinkedIn profile is an easy way to build a solid pool of candidates for your recruitment efforts.

5 Ways to Turn Your Temporary Job Into a Permanent One

July 9th, 2013

1. Go above and beyond

If you treat your job like it’s a temporary position, it likely will be. Our number one piece of advice that will help you turn a temp or contract job into a permanent position is to go above and beyond. Show your expertise, offer to come in early or stay late, ask questions and show initiative. Take on challenges and be a team player. Do quality work and strive to excel – it won’t go unnoticed. By showing the value you bring to the team, you’ll make them see they just can’t live without you!

2. Network and build relationships

Networking and building relationships are key in any role, but especially if you are trying to transition your temp job to a permanent one. By being a team player and building relationships with people, you’ll create a circle of people who want you to stick around. Be sure to introduce yourself to the Human Resources team, managers, team leaders and your colleagues. Go out of your way to be friendly, helpful and most of all knowledgeable so that those around you see your interest and value.

3. Do your homework

Learn everything you can about the company and industry. Find out about their top competitors and understand what differentiates the company where you wish to work. By showing a genuine interest in the company and its history, earnings and potential, you’ll stand out as someone who truly cares.

4. Communicate

Ensure that you are keeping your manager and colleagues informed. Respond to emails and phone calls in a timely manner, ask questions when needed and provide updates on your progress regularly. By keeping those lines of communication open, you’re laying the groundwork for the future. Make sure that your manager knows you’re interested in a long-term position and don’t be afraid to share your goals. It’s OK to ask about the potential for a permanent position and show your interest (within reason). You don’t want to seem too pushy, but you should communicate about what you’d like to see happen.

5. Make yourself at home

If you want a gig with long-term potential, take the time to understand the company culture. What is the company’s mission? What are their values? Take the time to learn about not only the written policies and procedures but also the things that are just “understood” within the company. From the dress code to the process for raising an issue to management, the little details make a difference. By observing the company culture, you can understand how you best fit in and integrate yourself into the team seamlessly.




Hiring Mistakes…The Top 7 Ways to Avoid Them

June 26th, 2013

Every hiring manager faces the challenge of interviewing and selecting new employees. It can be overwhelming to find a candidate who meets the company’s requirements and is the right fit with the existing team. Avoiding these top 7 pitfalls will help you choose the right candidate for the long term.

1. Posting a poor job description

It all starts with crafting a job description that clearly explains the tasks and responsibilities of the role. A poor job description sets you up for failure during the hiring phase. Take the time to develop a robust and accurate job description so that applicants are fully aware of the expectations of the role. By creating a good job description, you allow candidates to determine if they want to proceed and apply for the role. It’s better to eliminate those who aren’t interested early in the process.

2. Searching in all the wrong places

When you cast the net to find employees, are you limiting your search? If you’re only using the big job boards or local classifieds, you may be missing out on the best candidates. Niche job boards can help you narrow candidates to the specific type of role you need to fill. From Communications to IT, there are specialized job sites for nearly every type of position. Another great way to find the right candidate is to use a recruiting agency, as they typically have a pool of qualified candidates and are able to match them to company needs. Don’t forget to use your network, too. Letting friends, family and colleagues know that you have an open role can help you find a great candidate.

3. Ignoring the importance of prescreening

Save yourself the pain of suffering through an interview with a candidate that clearly isn’t the right fit – use phone screenings to ensure candidates meet the basic requirements before bringing them in for a full interview.

4. Going into the interview without preparing

Prepare for the interview by reviewing the candidates’ resumes and develop a set of questions along with a rating scale. By asking each candidate the same questions and rating them, you’ll be able to compare them more easily after the interview. Select questions that really challenge candidates to think – encourage them to offer examples.

5. Ignoring personality and culture fit

If the person you’re interviewing seems blasé about the job, they probably aren’t the right fit. Ensuring that an employee’s personality fits in with the rest of the team can be an important aspect of the hiring process. You can’t just go with your gut; you’ll want to ask them questions and see what they are passionate about and determine if their values match up with those of the company.

6. Not requiring a test to show skills

If you are hiring for a position that requires a high level of skill or technical knowledge, it may be worth it to make the applicants complete a test. Create a test that will help you evaluate their real-world skills. For some roles this could mean a programming test, for others a typing test or drafting a proposal might be appropriate. Many staffing companies can even test candidates on skills such as Word and Excel to ensure they meet your needs!

7. Failing to do a background check

It might not seem necessary, but performing a background and reference check is vital to the long-term potential of the candidate. Candidates don’t always tell the truth. Wouldn’t you rather know before you bring them on board?

By avoiding these pitfalls, you will be well on your way to finding the right applicant to fill your open positions!

Top 5 Tips for College Grads Entering the Workforce

June 12th, 2013

Score an Internship.

Our first tip is something you’ll have to work on before graduation – finding a meaningful internship. Don’t wait until the last semester – find an internship or co-op program and you’ll reap the rewards when it’s time to job search. Not all internships turn into full-time jobs, but you’ll gain real-world experience and networking opportunities. Do a great job, and you may even get a recommendation from your boss. Some internships don’t offer pay, but having a paying job after college may mean it is worth sacrificing pay in the short term.

Widen your search.

If you’ve only looked on the big job websites, try a niche site or check out your college career center or job bank. If you’ve only looked at certain industries or job types, take a look at the other options that are out there. Lastly, if you are looking for a job but aren’t sure what type of company or role is right for you, go to an experienced recruiting agency for help. A recruiter can provide you with guidance, help you spruce up your resume and keep an eye out for the perfect job for you. Recruiters often do mock interviews and have the inside scoop on what a specific employer may be looking for, as well.

Make your resume shine.

Your resume and cover letter are your chance to show your potential employer what you’ve got. Make sure you include your relevant experience, include leadership roles that you’ve held. Highlight the courses you’ve taken that are directly related to the job. Most importantly, customize your resume and cover letter for the job you are applying to. A standard cut and paste letter won’t get your foot in the door, but a letter tailored letter, specific to the job posting, just might. Don’t forget to have a friend proof read your resume as well. Typos are a sure way to get booted to the “no” pile.

Go where the jobs are.

These days, employers are searching for candidates online, so make sure that you have an amazing profile and current resume posted. Make sure to also visit job fairs, employers are often looking for entry-level employees when they attend. Call a recruiting agency and ask if they have anything that might be a good fit. By looking for jobs both online and in-person, you’re sure to find success.

Network for all you’re worth.

Networking may be the most important aspect of your job search. Let your friends and family know that you’re looking. Join clubs, social media sites and go to networking events in person. Check out your alumni association or a professional organization in your field. Most importantly, talk to those you meet about what you hope to do. Sharing your story with others just might help you find the career of your dreams.

Need help finding the perfect job? Contact the Recruiting Specialists at The A&F Group. We’ll help you get your foot in the door at some of the nation’s largest financial institutions.  (302) 504-9874


Five Things You Should Know About the Affordable Care Act (ACA)

May 22nd, 2013

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), otherwise known as the Affordable Care Act, was signed into law in 2010. This law put into place insurance reforms that will be rolled out through 2014 and beyond. Since there is a tiered approach at implementing its provisions, there are impacts from this act that may influence your business this year.

As you probably know, many changes have already taken place, including the following:

  • Young adults can stay on their parents’ plan until age 26.
  • Lifetime caps and annual limits are no longer allowed.
  • Coverage cannot be cancelled if the subscriber becomes ill.
  • Small businesses may be eligible for tax credits for offering insurance to employees.
  • Subsidies are available for businesses who provide retiree health benefits.

With the full bill containing over 2,400 pages, we’ve selected the top 5 things you need to know:

  1. The limit on pre-tax contributions to healthcare flexible spending accounts is now limited to $2,500 annually.
  2. Starting this year, insurance companies will be required to implement simpler and more standardized paperwork. This will help employees compare apples to apples when they are looking for coverage.
  3. Also starting this year, employers with more than 50 employees could face a penalty if they do not offer health insurance coverage to full-time workers.
  4. Starting in 2014, employers will be required to inform their employees of state-run insurance exchanges and the implications if they purchase coverage through an exchange. These exchanges will provide individuals and small businesses an option to purchase health insurance.
  5. Starting in 2014, insurance companies will no longer be able to deny coverage for people with pre-existing conditions.

The variety of taxes, penalties and changes means that businesses have to stay informed and should immediately explore their options. Complying with the law and ensuring your employees have the proper coverage and understand their options under the law is critical for long-term success.

Want to know more? Check out the Department of Health and Human Services’ interactive timeline to see when various aspects of the law may impact your business. If you own a small business, you might also want to visit the Small Business Administration healthcare page.

Integrity Staffing is committed to partnering with our clients to address the new demands of the ACA. We will work diligently to ensure small businesses are implementing legitimate workforce strategies that align with the new provisions. If you have any questions about how the ACA might impact your business, please contact us at (888) 458-8367.

Four Tips for CPA Success

May 8th, 2013

The CPA exam is considered to be one of the most complex and difficult certification exams out there. The Uniform CPA Examination reflects the highest standard of American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. The CPA Exam is so intense and rigorous that in most instances nearly half of the candidates who decide to take the exam do not succeed. Besides a bright and vibrant mind that is inclined towards accounting and finance, the CPA candidate is required to complete 150 college credits that include highly challenging courses. The key is to prepare yourself in the most effective and efficient manner possible.  Below are four tips to help you prepare:

Break it Down.

You need to prepare intelligently! Figure out how much time you have and how many weeks are available before each section of the exam. Your best bet is to divide those weeks into three parts to help balance out the amount of time you’ll need to effectively pass each section of the exam. Review your course work thoroughly so that no loopholes or gaps remain. Review past papers more as opposed to only course work; this will enable you to get the crux of what the exam is going to be like. Understand the feeling of sitting for a CPA exam and what it actually entails.

Pay if You Can.

Given the nature of the CPA exam, if you have the budget, you should seriously consider taking a CPA exam review course. These types of programs offer training in a manner that reaps results. It is better to learn from the pros than to try and do it yourself, particularly in the case of a CPA exam.

Don’t Overdo It.

Studying for the CPA exam can be excruciatingly difficult, but studying round the clock without any breaks or intervals won’t help you, in fact it will have quite the opposite effect. Taking meaningful breaks will help relieve anxiety and stress, and will allow your brain to absorb more of the information.

The Night Before.

It might sound like a cliché but simply shutting your course books the night before and distracting yourself with a little recreational activity has proven to deliver wonders in CPA exams. Go to sleep early the night before the exam and eat a healthy meal the morning of. Being strategic in your preparation is key to acing the CPA exam!

How to Politely ‘Unfriend’ a Co-Worker

April 10th, 2013

You probably spend more time at the office with your co-workers and boss than with your family during the week. During such 40-hour work weeks, you are likely going to end up becoming friends with some of your co-workers as a result of group projects, daily lunches and occasional happy hours. You might love your job and enjoy the company of many of your colleagues, but occasionally you might also have to shrug off some annoying co-workers who are hard to deal with.

In the workplace, it’s absolutely essential to develop relationships, but the business environment requires you to draw a line with professional friendships. The main goal of workplace relationships is to accomplish your professional and business goals, but if you find some colleagues interfering in your personal life and bossing you around regarding how to get work done, then you have a serious situation.

You probably can’t cut these co-workers completely out of the picture because it would disrupt the work environment and result in productivity glitches. But, there are polite ways to ‘unfriend’ such eager social co-workers without hurting their feelings or offending them.

Build Boundaries

Limit your friendship with the co-worker and avoid sharing any personal information such as illness, arguments with your spouse, financial problems, or romantic conquests. Avoid crossing paths with the colleague at work and engage in brief conversations mostly related to work projects. If your co-worker barges through the door or takes too much of your valuable time, remind them politely about the truckload of work you have to complete.

Maintain A Good Rapport

‘Unfriending’ a co-worker doesn’t mean that you have to stop being polite and friendly towards him/her. It’s recommended that you remain friendly towards your co-worker without actually being a friend. Such a safe emotional distance will let you concentrate more on your job responsibilities rather than on personal grudges. Engage in small talk and extend daily greetings. You don’t necessarily have to go out with your colleagues or invite them to barbeques that you host.

Maintaining a friendly attitude, being cooperative and sticking to your personal and professional ethics will help you not only deal with difficult ‘friendly’ co-workers, but it would also be in the best interest of your career.

8 Tips for Building Staff Loyalty

March 20th, 2013

In today’s world, loyalty seems to be an outdated concept. Decades ago, people considered it a good idea to build a career with one employer. But times have changed, and many employees, especially those in their 20s and 30s, don’t think that way. They consider loyalty to an employer to be a liability.

Loyal employees are usually satisfied, productive employees. And loyalty reduces turnover rates while building a culture of stability. If you want to encourage loyalty, the bottom line is, it’s all about you. Here’s what you can do to create a loyal staff:

  • Prove you have what it takes to get the job done.
    If your staff sees you demonstrating a high level of competence on the job, they’ll respect you—a major step toward building loyalty.
  • Demonstrate integrity in your actions and beliefs.
    You have to be honest and trustworthy, especially in difficult situations where it would be easier to blame someone else or deny involvement. When false blame or denial occurs, employees quickly lose respect for their leader, and loyalty decreases.
  • Behave consistently with your staff.
    Show them that you’re reliable and predictable, and that you use good judgment. Your employees need to know they can rely on you and your judgment.
  • Be as open with your employees as possible.
    Do you share information and ideas with your employees? Or do you withhold key data? Clearly, there is some information that needs to be withheld due to its sensitive nature. But the manager who openly shares appropriate information that enables their employees to work productively and efficiently will build loyalty.
  • Listen to staff concerns
    —about working conditions, working hours, deadlines and other matters. You may not be able to resolve them all, but you still need to listen to what they are telling you, and then follow up. They will be more loyal if they think they’re being heard.
  • Be committed to staff development. 
    Your employees need training to maintain their skills. Make sure your staff receives regular training — and when they’re participating in a training session, respect that time.
  • Encourage, don’t criticize.
    You always want your staff to do more, produce more, finish the project earlier — and for less cost. If there’s a gap between where they are and where you want them to be, and you criticize them, you’ll create resentment. Instead, make sure the goals are clear and encourage them to find ways to reach them.
  • When giving correction, do so privately.
    If someone makes a mistake, talk to them about it behind closed doors. When doing so, focus on the issue, not the person, and on the actions that caused the problem. Try to help your employee learn from the situation so that the same issue doesn’t occur again.

By encouraging loyalty among your staff, you’ll protect the integrity of your department. Want to know more about employee retention? Contact The A&F Group today.

Humor and Your Job Hunt

March 6th, 2013

You are a funny guy or gal, and you know that if you just cracked the right joke at the right time, you would get that job.


Now, if you’re trying to become a standup comedian, you do need to have a few really good jokes to tell, but if you’re applying to be a financial manager, you may want to steer clear of the humor. It’s hard to tell these days what’s appropriate and what’s not.  After all, you see those stories on the news about people who sent something funny to a company, and then the company hired them immediately.

That sounds like a pretty good plan.  But it’s just not something that you can do in all settings, as it might just leave the hiring manager with the impression you’re not serious about the job. This doesn’t mean you can’t be lighthearted in an interview, but you will want to keep away from anything that someone else may not find funny.  Usually, within the first few minutes of any interview, you will be able to tell if you can relate to the interviewer in a casual manner.

So, let them set the tone of the interview.  If they don’t seem to have any problems with jokes, then you can tell a few too.  But if they stick to the facts, you should probably stick to the facts as well. Humor is something you can save for your friends at the bar when you’re done with the interview.  And you can also save the humor for when you’re sitting in the break room with other workers at your new job.  That’s a great time to tell appropriate jokes.

(And if you wait, you have plenty of time to practice them too.)

If you are looking for work or know someone who is, please check our job postings by clicking on the link below.