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Reinvent Your Onboarding Process

Posted By Editor, Laurie, Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Contributed by Holly Burkett, Ph.D., SPHR, HR West 2018 Speaker*

At Cirrus Logic, ranked eighth on the 2015 Great Place to Work® Best Medium Workplaces list, new hires are immersed in a culture camp called the School of Cirrus Rocks. At the camp, participants first learn about company values through storytelling. They then break into groups and create a story in the form of a song about working at the company. Later, they meet at a local bar with local musicians to perform their songs and get cheered on by their teams and supervisors.

While many organizations prefer more structure to onboarding programs, others follow a sink-or-swim approach, where new employees must figure out on their own what the team and the organization expects from them. Whatever form onboarding takes in your workplace, it is one of the most important contributions a hiring manager or HR professional can make to talent retention, employee engagement and organizational performance.

What Is Onboarding and Why Does It Matter?  Continue reading on the HR West Blog.

Tags:  employee retention  hiring  HR Management  HR WEst 2018  onboarding 

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SSN Mistake Leads To Million Dollar Verdict

Posted By Laurie Pehar Borsh, Wednesday, September 14, 2016
Updated: Wednesday, September 14, 2016

By Robert Neale, Partner and Kim Thompson, Partner - Fisher & Phillips 

Neale will present, Hiring Foreign Workers: Visas, I-9s and Other Considerations, at the Global Workforce Conference tomorrow, September 15th in Santa Clara. If you are local to the Bay Area, and not planning to attend, it's not too late to register (at the door). Get more information here. Qualifies for 6 SHRM PDCs / 6 HRCI Recertification Credits - Global and General. Follow updates from the event on #NCHRAGlobalFisher & Phillips is a  Global Workforce Conference sponsor.

SSN Mistake Leads To Million Dollar Verdict

How Can You Avoid A Similar Fate?

A federal court in California recently ruled that a job applicant’s admission that he used a false Social Security Number (SSN) cannot be the basis for disqualifying him from employment on good moral character grounds. The court awarded the plaintiff over $1 million as a result of the employer’s misstep, which should serve as a wake-up call to all employers when it comes to handling SSN issues.

Employer: “Former False SSN = Lack Of Integrity”
Years ago, Victor Guerrero entered the United States as a child from Mexico. As a teenager, he used a false SSN to seek employment. Guerrero eventually became a lawful permanent resident and then a naturalized U.S. citizen. By legalizing his immigration status, he was able to obtain a valid SSN.

In 2011, Guerrero submitted an employment application to become a corrections officer with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR). He passed the written and physical exams and met all of the other job qualifications.

But during his interview and routine background check, Guerrero admitted to previously using a false SSN to seek employment. The CDCR denied his employment application and sent him a rejection letter stating that his past usage of a false SSN showed that he was “not suitable to assume the duties and responsibilities of a peace officer.” The letter also stated that using the SSN showed a “willful disregard of the law” and a “lack of honesty, integrity, and good judgment.”

Guerrero filed a lawsuit against the CDCR in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, seeking damages based on a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. He argued that as a Latino job applicant, he was subjected to national origin discrimination because the job application process required him to disclose that he had used a false SSN in the past. 

Court: “Policy As Applied Is Discriminatory”
The court held that while California law required the CDCR to conduct a background investigation to ensure good moral character, the “good moral character” hiring policy had a significant disparate impact on Latino applicants like Guerrero, even though it was facially neutral. In light of that, the CDCR had a duty to apply the relevant EEOC factors – which it failed to do – resulting in the court holding in favor of Guerrero on the Title VII disparate impact claim. The court ruled in his favor and awarded $1,186,307 in attorneys’ fees, $145,972 in expenses, and $140,362 in back pay.

Issue Has Become More Common
As an increasing number of formerly undocumented individuals obtain the legal authorization to work in the U.S, addressing false SSN issues has become a more frequent occurrence facing employers. In 2012, it was estimated that more than 600,000 undocumented individuals were issued temporary employment authorization cards under President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. 

Armed with valid authorization for employment, an individual is eligible to seek a valid SSN from the Social Security Administration. Once an individual has a valid SSN, a current employee, who may have presented a false SSN when originally hired, may now come forward with a new SSN and seek to update relevant employment records. 

Employers, especially those in California, need to tread very carefully when presented with evidence of a new SSN and information that the employee originally presented a fake SSN.  In addition to this recent ruling, the state has enacted laws that prohibit adverse treatment of an employee who comes forward with a new and valid SSN. 

Employers who consider past immigration status and associated illegal activity attributed to that status, such as using a false SSN to seek employment, may find that their actions are challenged as unlawful discrimination. As Guerrero’s attorney, Marsha Chien, said in a statement: “If discrimination like this is allowed to stand, millions of hard working people who are legally allowed to work in the U.S. will be left without the means to support themselves and contribute to our economy.”

What Should You Do?
You need to be aware of the interplay between employment discrimination laws and federal and state immigration laws, in particular when it comes to ensuring that employees are lawfully permitted to work in the United States. If you learn of a possible SSN discrepancy or mismatch, either through a letter from the Social Security Administration (SSA), a third party (such as an individual or a governmental agency), or from the employee directly, you should take certain steps to ensure accuracy in your own records and that correct information is communicated to the SSA. 

The first step should be to check internal records to ensure that the correct SSN is listed in the employee’s files. Taking prompt steps to correct errors or to address the situation will show good faith on your part and diminish any indication that you had constructive knowledge that an employee was working without legal authorization. You should never ignore information relating to discrepancies between an employee's name and SSN.

If you receive a mismatch or SSN verification letter from the SSA, you should check your internal records, communicate the information to the employee in question, correct your records (if there was an error), respond to the SSA as indicated on its letter, and insert any notes of explanation, as warranted, in the employee’s personnel file.

Depending on the credibility of the information received alerting you to the possibility of a false SSN, you may need to take additional steps, up to and including termination of the worker’s employment. However, you should seek legal guidance before making any decisions based on an allegation of using a false SSN.

You are encouraged to adopt a written immigration compliance policy and to train all relevant personnel on the importance of adhering to it. You should avoid “citizen only” or “permanent resident only” hiring policies, unless you are required to do so by federal law or based on a federal contract. In most cases, it is unlawful to require job applicants to have a particular immigration status.  

Finally, you should follow the fundamental rule of workplace law: be consistent with all employees and new hires. Following the appropriate I-9 practices will help you minimize the risk of discrimination charges and exposure for failing to comply with Form I-9 regulations.

Tags:  false SSN  Fisher & Phillips  global recruiting  global workforce  hiring  HR  immigrates  RecruitLoop 

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Hiring in 2016: The Surprising State of Compensation and Benefits in the U.S. [Infographic]

Posted By Laurie A. Pehar Borsh, Wednesday, June 8, 2016

There are a lot of things that go into making a job attractive to new hires.

But let’s not fool ourselves, compensation and benefits are, literally, the bottom line. As part of a comprehensive new hire checklist, Betterteam has created an infographic on the state of benefits and compensation in the U.S. for 2016. There are a few surprising numbers - did you know the U.S. ranks #1 in terms of salary? Worldwide, only 7 percent of workers are considered high income. In the U.S. we’re at 56 percent.

Other numbers are not so promising though. We’re number 1 in healthcare - when you look at cost. The small bright spot here is that growth in spending has gone down a modest 3.9 percent in recent years. We’re also bit behind, worldwide, when it comes to family leave. On the high end, Sweden offers 56 weeks of paid maternity leave, South Korea 52 weeks of paid paternity leave. The United States? We’re one of 4 countries offering 0 weeks of paid leave.

Finally, there’s the controversial gender gap. The good news? It’s closing all by itself. The bad news is that at this rate, it’ll be all fixed in 80 years. The U.S. ranks 65th for pay equality. Below, get additional stats, and a humorous view of it all with some of this year’s most prominent political figures.


Hope that infographic helped put U.S. compensation and benefits into perspective, and gave you a little chuckle too. Good luck on the quest for finding great hires!

Looking for more resources to help you with hiring? NCHRA’s got them.

And don't miss: Perfecting the Pay for Performance Model

Employee compensation poses problems, both for employees and employers. With 9 out of 10 companies following some sort of employee compensation policy but only 42 percent of employees understanding their employer’s philosophy, we must improve. This session outlines the trials and errors of the journey toward perfecting a holistic, sound employee compensation model, highlighting the […] View Details

Jay Caldwell, Vice President, Talent Solutions, ADP at HR West Seattle July 15, 2016

Tags:  compensation  Employee benefits  Employee Compensation  hiring  hiring costs  HR West Seattle  new hire checklist 

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Fair Hiring Practices: How To See The Human Behind The Record

Posted By Laurie A. Pehar Borsh, Wednesday, February 24, 2016


By Max Wesman, VP of GoodHire - HR West 2016 Power Station Sponsor

Nearly 70 million people in the United States have criminal records. That means you will almost certainly encounter job candidates with records at some point in your career.

How you (and the hiring managers you work with) react will likely depend on your understanding of the laws that govern hiring, the candidates’ openness, and something that can’t be overlooked: feelings.

A Charged Issue: Criminal Records In Hiring

For most people, discussing criminal history is, frankly, uncomfortable. Think about it: The incident probably represents a low point in the candidate’s life, and few people relish discussing their lowest moments in a job interview.

At the same time, even seasoned HR professionals and hiring managers tread carefully when discussing criminal history out of their own unease, concern about applicable laws – or both.

Twenty states, including California, and many cities have passed “ban-the-box” laws that govern how and at what point in the hiring process employers can ask about criminal records. In San Francisco, for example, employers can’t ask about convictions until after an initial live interview.

As a result, a background check often serves as the first mention of a criminal record.

Background Checks: A Useful But Limited Tool

Having run tens of thousands of background checks over the past three years, I’ve seen first hand how employment screening can help companies build great teams. But I’ve also seen that it’s far from a perfect solution.

That’s because, without context, records in a background check tell only part of the story – that a conviction occurred. The records say nothing about why or what has happened since.

Without that context, employers run the risk of excluding otherwise qualified candidates. Worse, excluding people with criminal records from consideration could attract unwanted attention from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which has strengthened its focus on the disparate impact of policies on protected classes.

Context Is Everything: EEOC Guidance And Hiring Best Practices

A survey of California employers found that most are more willing to consider hiring a candidate when they know the nature of the offense. For example, 84% said they’d be willing to hire someone with a misdemeanor offense.

That openness turns out to be a good thing, because considering individual circumstances and context around a criminal record is a best practice for avoiding EEOC scrutiny. Other best practices include considering the nature and gravity of the offense, the time that has passed since the offense or completion of the sentence, and the nature of the job sought.

Asking for context, which may show rehabilitation, good character, or successful performance of similar work after the conviction, gives you a more complete picture. And it helps you avoid dismissing an otherwise qualified candidate – a big consideration in a hot labor market.

Yet the question of how to get that context brings us right back to the original problem: people’s reluctance to discuss criminal records.

A Technology Assist: Comments For Context

Here in Northern California, we tend to look to technology for answers. And I believe technology can help smooth the way for these necessary, though difficult, conversations.

Giving hiring managers a tech-based way to request context around background check results makes the request simply part of the process. Think of it as similar to requesting e-consent to run the background check in the first place.

Technology can also help on the candidate side. A solution that lets candidates enter comments directly on their background check results helps them tell their circumstances outside of the stressful job interview environment. In an ideal solution, the context provided would stay with the candidates’ results, so anyone authorized to view those results would get the same information.

At GoodHire, we’re working on this challenge now as part of our commitment to fostering trust, safety, and fairness throughout the hiring process.

Soon, employers who use GoodHire services will be able to ask candidates to add comments for context through the GoodHire product. And, if candidates have already added comments as part of their own job search process, any authorized employer who runs a background check through GoodHire will see the context provided.

Rehumanizing Employment Screening

According to the National Employment Law Project, many companies that hire people with records find them to be model employees. The group quotes Brad Friedlander, CEO of Red Restaurant Group, as saying that people with criminal records “are frequently the most dedicated and conscientious. A lot of doors are shut to them, so when someone gives them an opportunity, they make the most of it.”

An innovative technology solution that promotes context on background check results can help employers get a more complete picture of their candidates. It doesn’t necessarily take the place of in-person discussions, but it can make those conversations easier to start.

In doing so, it promises to help employers see the human in their potential resources.

Want to learn more about comments for context?
Look for team GoodHire at HR West 2016

About the Author

Max Wesman has led GoodHire from its launch in 2012. Today, GoodHire serves more than 23,000 businesses, and Max oversees all aspects of its services, from strategy to product development and design, to legal compliance, to customer support. Before joining GoodHire, Max managed and launched enterprise solutions and small business software products for Hewlett-Packard and Microsoft. He received an MBA from the University of California Berkeley's Haas School of Business and undergraduate degrees from the Wharton School and the School of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania.


Tags:  background checks  EEOC  fair hiring  fair labor standards act  good hiring  goodhire  Hiring  HR  HR Blog  HR Management  HR West 2016  Human Resources  Max Wesman  NCHRA  Recruiting 

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5 Interview Mistakes Hiring Managers Commonly Make

Posted By Laurie A. Pehar Borsh, Wednesday, November 4, 2015


By Leen Sawalha

Interview mistakes are very common. After all, we’re all human! But when talking about interview mistakes, everyone always assumes it’s the candidates who are in the wrong. What about the recruiters? What about the immediate managers? Are they as flawless as they seem to be when it comes to interview mistakes? Nope!


Regardless of your education and experience, we are all susceptible to a few slip-ups, especially when it comes to hiring the best. So, what are we doing wrong? Let’s take a closer look at some common interview mistakes that recruiters and hiring managers tend to make.


1.     Falling victim to recruitment bias

Yes, we all know our basic gender, age, and stereotyping biases. But are there more that we are completely unaware they’re influencing our hiring decisions? You may have heard of these biases if you’ve been trained or had a formal education in HR, but it’s not just HR professionals who interview. And even if you have been exposed to the terms, you may still not be paying them enough attention.


Take a little time before an interview to refresh your memory on the various types of recruitment bias that commonly occur during interviews.


2.     Asking irrelevant questions

There is nothing worse than asking irrelevant questions during an interview. Not only does it waste your valuable time as the recruiter and/or immediate manager, but it is also one of the most frustrating things a candidate can experience.


Even though you are the one who is giving the candidate the opportunity to work for your organization, you won’t be able to attract the best employees if your selection process affects your reputation and employer brand.


Prepare for the interview beforehand and make sure you know what you’re looking for in terms of knowledge, experience, skills, and characteristics.


3.     Asking the wrong questions 

This common interview mistake is just as bad as asking irrelevant questions. Asking the wrong questions wastes the recruiter, manager, and candidate’s time. And yes, I know it’s a cliché, but time is money when it comes to recruitment and selection.


You have a position to fill, you need to screen and prepare for all the interviews, and you need to reserve time to actually conduct the interviews. Not only that, but after you’ve found your candidate, they still need to go through orientation and training, etc. So can you really afford to be asking the wrong questions during an interview?


Putting this much time and effort into hiring the best is completely valid, but only if you’re using your time wisely! Get to know the candidate before they come into the interview and make sure you examine their weaknesses and not their strengths!


Say, for example, you’re are looking to hire an employee who is expected to have sales as part of his tasks. They come into the interview and have a great energy and sociability about them that makes you realize he would be a good salesperson. In fact, if you gave them a psychometric test, you’d probably see that they are more on the extroverted side. But then again this same psychometric test told you that he is not much of an adaptable person. What questions would you ask during the interview in this situation?


Would you spend time examining how capable he is of initiating contact with strangers, approaching them, and creating new networks? Or would you rather spend time addressing his lack of adaptability? Wouldn’t you prefer to see if he has had experiences where he had to be adaptable? Has he learned anything from these experiences? Can he transfer that knowledge to this position?


Point is: get to know your candidates even before they come into the interview, prepare for their arrival, and have an interview guide handy that allows you to focus on the more important aspects of the interview.


4.     Lack of self-awareness

I know it sounds cheesy, but that doesn’t make it any less true. If you don’t know what your strengths are, how can you capitalize on them? If you don’t know what your weaknesses are, how can you make sure they don’t work against you?


You, as the interviewer, need to know yourself. Are you an inherently good listener, or should you work on developing your active listening? Are you too sensitive and empathetic, or are you not making your candidates feel comfortable because of your resilience? Are you organized and structured, or should you put more effort into planning and preparing for an interview?


Know who you are, what you’re good at, and what could use a little bit of work. If you want to be a good recruiter, getting to know yourself is the best start.


5.     Comparing Candidates 

Just because a candidate was better than the one before him or her, doesn’t mean they are the right candidate for you. Some candidates are just naturally better at interviewing, while it takes others more time and effort to really display their natural strengths, talents, and personality. And most of the time, an hour long interview is just not enough time for these individuals to really show you what they’re all about.


Don’t rely on appearances, and don’t compare candidates. What you are seeing during an interview is likely just the tip of the iceberg of what your candidates have to offer.  So, once again, prepare and get to know your candidates!


Whether you’re looking to hire an executive or fill an entry level position, the cost of a bad hire is just not worth the risk of making common, avoidable interview mistakes. Refresh your knowledge of recruitment biases, avoid irrelevant questions, use your time efficiently by asking the right ones, improve your self-awareness, and don’t compare candidates! Start with these tips and you will surely be on your way to improving your selection process.


This article originally appeared on AtmanCo’s Business Happiness blog.


About the Author

Leen Sawalha is an HR Consultant at AtmanCo, a company whose mission is to identify and develop talent based on their true potential for optimum organizational success. Her interest in the effects of motivation and behaviour on businesses has led her to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and a Bachelor of Commerce specializing in Human Resources Management. Leen’s expertise lies in the integration of both disciplines to enhance the effectiveness of an organization’s workforce. Follow Leen on Twitter @leen_sawalha and LinkedIn.

Tags:  AtmanCo  candidate  employee  hiring  HR  human resources  interviewing  interviews  Leen Sawalha  recuiting  tips  training 

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