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Viewing entries tagged
Social Media Screening

The Millions You're Spending on Marketing Could Be for Nothing. Here's Why

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The Millions You're Spending on Marketing Could Be for Nothing. Here's Why

Socially responsible marketing is on the rise. If the recent consumer controversy over Gillette’s ad on masculinity wasn’t enough, everyone in the business world is also talking about the new marketing trend. In the last 12 months alone, Deloitte, McKinsey, and the World Economic Forum in Davos have all noted that more and more consumers are looking to businesses to take stances on important social issues. The numbers are talking as well: 66% of consumers will pay more for products from companies committed to positive social impact. With millennials, this number is even higher. 73% will pay more for sustainable products, and 81% expect companies to take a public stance on social issues.

That means that there is an enormous opportunity at hand. Brands that can properly connect their brand with relevant social causes have grown their audience and revenue by as much as 200%. However, you can spend millions on marketing in hopes of winning favor with the public without realizing that it takes as little as one person to erode the goodwill you’ve built. While socially conscious marketing is helpful and even necessary today, a single revelation of toxic employee behavior can render all of those marketing efforts fruitless. Yes, the numbers say that socially conscious marketing pays dividends—but take a closer look and you’ll see the costs of toxic behavior are even greater.

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Online Screening: The Next Frontier of Insider Threat Detection

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Online Screening: The Next Frontier of Insider Threat Detection

As more and more of our lives move onto the public web, businesses are becoming aware of the degree to which publicly available online information can help them stay ahead of potential risks. Previously, we discussed how online screening can help organizations manage their mergers and acquisitions. However, as the landscape of risk continues to grow, we’re also seeing companies leverage online screening to prevent insider threats—malicious threats to an organization’s security, data, and computer systems that comes from the people within.

Traditionally, businesses have mitigated insider threats by identifying and troubleshooting technical vulnerabilities in the enterprise or responding after the fact. But as more and more employees collaborate with criminal and activist groups, and the cost of the average insider threats reaches $8.7 million per incident, the success of your business can also hinge upon your ability to catch more emotional and qualitative vulnerabilities. How do these “emotional warning signs” indicate a potential attack, and how do you find them before it’s too late?

In this blog, we’ll discuss how employees’ interactions with social media and the public web can lead to costly breaches to information security. From there, we’ll break down the difference between negligent and malicious insiders, and why companies need a sophisticated online screening solutions to safeguard themselves from the full set of potential vulnerabilities.

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Why Mergers & Acquisitions Have Become HR's Worst Nightmare

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Why Mergers & Acquisitions Have Become HR's Worst Nightmare

Mergers and acquisitions are at an all-time high. In the last five years, the total financial value of mergers has increased by 250 percent and there are no signs that things will slow down in the coming year. While this is good news for dealmakers, it puts HR teams in a precarious situation. As an HR leader, you are more likely to deal with an acquisition than ever before. Additionally, you’re also up against the fact that 20 percent of dealmakers cite cultural alignment as the root cause of failed mergers. This means that even though mergers and acquisitions (M&As) are decided largely on financial projections, your department carries a disproportionate amount of responsibility for its ultimate success or failure.

The good news is that a collective 34 percent of dealmakers now consider effective integration and sound due diligence as the most important factors in achieving a successful M&A. But even though study after study shows that success in mergers and acquisitions hinges on people, culture too often gets lost in the shuffle. As an HR leader, what can you do to make a case for an effective cultural audit and steer your company towards success?

In this blog, we’ll break down why culture has historically been an afterthought in M&As, why that can no longer be the case, and how online screening can help ensure cultural fit with the speed and specificity executives rely on at each stage of a merger or acquisition.

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2018 Midterm Elections: The Social Media of U.S. Politicians

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2018 Midterm Elections: The Social Media of U.S. Politicians

When it comes to American politics, there is no shortage of commentary about the role of social media. Given the pivotal role that social media played in the 2016 presidential elections, voters today are more aware of the role of social media than ever before, and more engaged when it comes to casting their ballots. Early voting in the 2018 midterms is record-high, and voters are using all tools available to learn about who they are electing.

To bring clarity and transparency to what these candidates are saying online, Fama has analyzed the public social media profiles of candidates in 16 of closest races for governor and senator. Our analysis, totaling 32 political candidates, covers over 236 public social media accounts and nearly 153,000 posts spanning a time period of over 10 years. In particular, we sought to answer a few questions around their online behavior:

‣ Which hashtags, mentions, and words do Democratic & Republican candidates use most?
‣ How many posts do Republican and Democratic candidates have? Governors and senators?
‣ What kinds of positive and questionable behaviors do candidates exhibit on social media?
‣ How often do these candidates post each month, especially as Election Day gets closer?

Here are the candidates we analyzed, and the behaviors we found…

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Screening Your Candidates' Online Content? Don't Miss This Detail

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Screening Your Candidates' Online Content? Don't Miss This Detail

Online content is powerful. From social media to personal blogs, the internet has become one of the largest platforms for people to express themselves. With more and more information being created each day, our online profiles often show more about who we are than we ever share in person.

Companies have recognized the value of this information when determining how well a current or prospective employee will further their mission and values, but there are often more questions than answers around online screening.

When you discover questionable content, what should you do? What are the steps to take when you see something that might be problematic for a particular role?

While every business has unique policies to follow based on state and local regulations, nearly all companies can adopt a few common principles to help ensure compliance within a complex legal landscape. The key to enacting any adverse decision when screening is to focus on the requirements of the job—and to base decisions on the candidate’s overall profile, not individual pieces of content…

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Stop Googling Your Candidates: Why Manual Screening Costs Companies Millions

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Stop Googling Your Candidates: Why Manual Screening Costs Companies Millions

Looking to figure out who’s who in your sea of applicants? If you’re using search engines or social media, you are in good company.

Today, over 70% of employers are manually screening applicants. In other words, over 13,000 large U.S. businesses and 4.2 million small and medium enterprises are searching candidates online, but few have considered the costs. How much will it cost to screen all these candidates by hand? How do you make sure each profile matches the individual in question, and how do you make sure you don’t miss the critical detail that makes all the difference? Manual screening can lead employers to spending thousands of dollars on research, only to misidentify a critical profile or make a costly oversight.

Beyond being a financial and logistical burden, manual screening can also land your business in legal hot water. To ensure full compliance, companies need to adopt a set of best practices for online screening that includes involving the candidate in the hiring process, avoiding protected classes of information, and making principled hiring decisions. If not, they risk getting caught in a storm of mass employment lawsuits. Manual online screening has grown by over 500 percent over the last 12 years. Along with it, FCRA litigations have quadrupled, growing over 400 percent without a decrease in over eight years.

As both toxic employee behavior and employment lawsuits continue to trend upward, applicants are not only wreaking havoc once they get into a company—they are now so highly attuned to non-compliance practices that some will submit defective applications for the sole purpose of litigation before they ever walk into an interview. When it comes to pre-employment screening, companies must find a way to screen at high volumes with rigid compliance or face the consequences…

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Screening Candidates on Social Media? Be Careful!

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Screening Candidates on Social Media? Be Careful!

A recent article in Recruiter warns employers to “tread carefully” when vetting potential candidates on social media, as they can run the risk of having discrimination lawsuits brought against them. A poll by Monster of UK companies showed 56% of employers admit online profiles are influencing their hiring decisions; numbers that high give plenty of chances for best practices to get muddled.

In the United States, companies must remain EEOC and FCRA compliant, both for legal safety and out of fairness to potential hires. Vetting candidates’ social media can lead to inconsistency in the screening process and plenty of discriminatory red flags, like seeing if someone is pregnant, their race, or if they have a disability. Race, gender, health, and political views should “not be taken into consideration when deciding on…suitability for a role.”

The same goes for consultants and recruiting firms, according to Recruiter. It doesn’t make any difference if you are a third party. Discriminating based on a public social media profile is a lawsuit waiting to happen. Screening social media is not illegal or unethical if done correctly, but every company must apply standards of best practice when looking for and researching candidates, online or off. According to the same Monster survey, 33% of British companies turned down applicants based on social media. That is a large—and growing—number. Companies must set a consistent focus on job-related screening to protect themselves and their potential hires.

Interested in learning more about best practices for online screening? Check out our video with employment attorney James Wu:

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Social Media and Treating Candidates As A Brand

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Social Media and Treating Candidates As A Brand

We recently came across an article by Janet Labberte, a Managing Partner at Executive Headlines that caught our attention. Treating a candidate as a brand offers an entirely new way to think about the people we bring into our business. We wanted to share a snippet of this article with our audience, and hope you find it as informative and interesting as we did!

Treating candidates as brands

In the age of social media and having a constantly accessible public face, individuals are required to uphold a personal brand. One is no longer assessed solely based on how one appears on paper but reputation, presentation and previous successes play an important role in assessment. Individuals with universal skills will not only have a higher chance of fitting into the organizational culture, but will more likely be able to externally represent the company in a positive way, form strong connections with potential partners and in so doing, help move the company forward. Successful company brands lead to increased profits – the same applies for personal brands. In executive search it is crucial to ensure that the experience of a candidate meets the role requirements, but the task of ensuring an appropriate culture fit is equally important.  As our private lives become increasingly more public, personal brands will continue to grow in importance for executive appointments.

Social media is now a gold-mine for executive hiring (not sourcing) 

Previously, social media was considered risky as it divulged too much or the wrong type of information about a person. Stakeholders and job seekers were discouraged from building an online presence for the fear that damaging information could be leaked to a potential employer. More recently, individuals are constructing detailed, appropriate images of themselves for all to see. As our personal and professional lives merge, it becomes less about secrecy and more about full (appropriate) transparency in a way that can aid job search.LinkedIn, as one’s online CV, does more to create a thorough representation of oneself than a “print” CV ever could, from networks to opinions, referee comments and thought leadership.

In addition to primary research, social media helps executive search consultants find, analyze and vet candidates before they are even contacted, saving time and financial resources.On this note, it is important to recognize that a lot of potentially successful candidates’ resumes do not accurately represent their skills and knowledge, and we naturally need to look beyond the paper to peer referrals, online papers and presentations and company successes. A poor LinkedIn profile is conversely often damaging.

This is a repost of material appearing here: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/executive-search-trends-2016-beyond-janet-labberte

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The Inaccuracy of Criminal Background Checks

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The Inaccuracy of Criminal Background Checks

The most recent episode of HBO's Last Week Tonight with John Oliver included a segment on credit reports and background checks, highlighting some of the most pressing challenges facing those industries today. The central thesis of the segment revolves around a single phrase that Oliver mentions about nine minutes in:

"If you are going to use a criminal background check to make decisions, at the very least, they should be accurate. And frequently, they are not."

Oliver goes on to offer a number of anecdotes around mistaken identities - including background checks that falsely returned show-stopping red flags such as "sex offender" or "terrorist." He even shares a story about a person whose background screen mentioned that she was deceased. Clearly, these sorts of misidentifications dismantle public trust in background checks, and require that employers re-think their approach to candidate screening.

We agree: background checks can be inaccurate, and if an employer is not strictly following the guidelines of the FCRA, the inaccuracy of these checks could forever damage the course of an otherwise outstanding job candidate's career.

One second, John Oliver.

Oliver missed one key point in an otherwise entertaining nineteen minutes of dialog. The problem with background checks today is foundational, emanating from the largely manual and non-electronic method in which criminal records are accessed and stored.

When we started working in this space, most of our team thought that every American citizen's criminal record was accessible from a master database. We imagined a database buried deep under the Pentagon that could be immediately accessed by any background check company, offering results with a high degree of accuracy and clarity.

We were wrong.

While there is a National Crime Information Center (NCIC) hosted by the FBI, it only contains 50-55% of all criminal records available in the US. So how do background check companies access criminal records that sit outside the database? The process looks something like this:

  1. The background check company receives information on a candidate from an employer (their client) that the candidate herself has contributed. This is an important distinction - all of the information provided comes from the candidate.

  2. While some clients pay to access the NCIC alone, most want to make sure that their candidate isn't going to post a risk to the business. So the client asks the background check company to ensure that the candidate has not committed a crime in the counties in which that candidate has lived, moving beyond the NCIC. So they employ the background check company to visit the county courthouse or federal district court where a crime may have been originally prosecuted.

  3. Background check companies don't have satellite offices in every county in America. So, on behalf of the background check company, a 'courthouse runner' will visit courthouses in some or all of the counties in which this person has lived (depending on the commercial package the employer selects), armed with the information that the candidate provided in the screening process.

  4. Many courthouses don't have electronic record systems, requiring these runners to access a dewey-decimal style database, looking up records with inconsistent data points. For example, some courthouses don't attach DOB or SSN to a person's criminal record, leaving this 'courthouse runner' trying to make an informed guess about whether or not a criminal record belongs to a person in question.

  5. Once the 'courthouse runner' thinks that they have found something, they mail a paper copy (ever seen a fuzzy Xerox?) to a background check processing center which is then digitized and placed into a candidate's file for an employer to review.

These foundational issues make maintaining accuracy tremendously difficult.

This inaccuracy is well known amongst risk management professionals and HR leads across the country. This inaccuracy, this buildup of scar tissue around background checks, is what leads people to look for other methods of assessment, including social media screening.

In our next post, we'll discuss how the FCRA tries to alleviate some of these inaccuracies, and why following its guidelines are so important.

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