The Importance of Background Checks

It is estimated that around 80 percent of employers perform a criminal background check, while 30 percent conduct some kind of credit check. An entire background check can cover just about any aspect of an applicant’s life including driving record, bankruptcy, credit score and drug test records, as well as their criminal record. Larger companies are more likely to perform this check, but just about any size company considers the average $50 fee to be well worth it.

One reason why employee background checks are important is that not all job applicants are truthful, either at their interview, on their resume or on their application form. An estimated 40% of the information on resumes is untrue, misrepresented or exaggerated and of course, if you are an employer looking for a particular skill or experience, you want the successful applicant to have that skill. Valuable time and money may then be wasted through training or rehiring. Most applicants want their resume to be as impressive as possible, and there is perhaps a fine line between having it accurate and having it embellished or fabricated.

There are other reasons to conduct a check into an applicant’s background. If your company routinely deals with large sums of money or confidential or personal information, you want to be sure that the employee you hire is both honest and discreet. Many employers understandably do not want to employ somebody with a criminal record – hence that often dreaded question on job application forms. Of course, if one of the job duties involves working with children, you do not want to hire somebody with a criminal record or a child abuse record. In addition, whether it is fair or not, statistically a person who has financial problems or a poor credit score is more likely to let their personal situation adversely affect their performance. No company likes high employee turnover and most employers consider a background check essential in determining whether an employee is more or less likely to quit.

The importance of employee background checks cannot be overestimated. Whereas not all applicants like the idea of a background check, to an employer needs to know the right hiring decision has been made and that the person chosen is truthful, reliable and experienced. Ultimately, the success of any company, large or small, largely depends on the people working for it and for this reason; background checks are probably here to stay.

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5 Tips to Help You Restore Harmony in Your Life

Maintaining work-life balance is not a simple task in today’s working environments. If you feel like your life is just “eat, sleep and work”, then chances are your work-life balance is off kilter. There are specific strategies you can implement to help you decrease the stress of work overload.

  1. Explore your options with your employer. Perhaps the option for flex hours is available to you. Being able to control the work hours can make you more available to participate in non-work related activities in your life. Another option may be a compressed work week. You could work four 10 hour days instead of five 8 hour days. That will give you one more day off per week to fit in social activities or downtime to help restore balance and de-stress.
  2. Just say no. Learning to tactfully say no when someone wants you to make a time commitment, whether it is job related or socially, is important. You do not need to feel guilty about making it known you are at your max when it comes to taking on new projects.
  3. Learn to leave your job at work. Although the technology is in place for most of us to carry on our work day at home, it is important that you leave work at work and concentrate on your home life when you are at home. Keeping a separation and distinction between the two is a very big step in restoring your work-life balance.
  4. Eat your veggies and get your sleep. One key factor in being able to manage a healthy balance between work and home life is making sure you are taking care of yourself. Eat a proper diet, get enough exercise and make sure you get enough sleep. You can’t expect to perform at your peak levels if you are neglecting your body. Make time every day for physical activities such as walking, yoga or cycling. If you have a friend who will also participate with you that is even better.
  5. Make a date with yourself. Scheduling in free time to your calendar is a must. In order to be more productive at your job, you need to have a proportionate amount of downtime to just relax, have fun and socialize.

Get help with restoring your work-life balance if you do not seem to be able to get control yourself. Everyone needs a little help now and again. Consulting a life or career coach or a mental health professional will help you turn your chaotic life back into a more fulfilling life where you are able to pause, take a breath and enjoy being you.

Sandra S. Sea is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Singles Career Coaching, LLC. Ms. Sea specializes in personal career and life coaching, motivational speaking, workshops, seminars, and training programs. She is a Certified Professional Coach and is committed to the Singles lifestyle.

She earned her Master of Science degree in Adult and Technical Education, Regent Bachelor of Arts degree in Interdisciplinary Studies, and Applied Associates degree in Paralegal Studies from Marshall University, Huntington, West Virginia. Ms. Sea also earned a Certificate in Grant Writing from Garnet Career Center, Charleston, West Virginia. She received her coaching certification through the Professional Woman Network (PWN). Ms. Sea is an international author.


What is Your Working DNA

It seems to me that everyone has a natural attraction to certain types of work, jobs, and careers. Even if people do change jobs regularly these days, it is possible to find a common thread through most job progressions if you look for it. What struck me is that perhaps we are all programmed within our cells to want to have a certain type of profession. I discussed this with Sergio, my partner in business, life, and my best sounding board. We started to see the similarities as we brainstormed the traits that we identified. We came up with three main profiles of a working DNA.

The first is the Entrepreneur. The personality traits seem to be pretty obvious. They tend to be risk takers, fast moving, very determined, and visionaries. To an entrepreneur, work is play. They are often service minded individuals who see new opportunities in old problems and are always looking for solutions and ways to make improvements. A true entrepreneur sets up a business and owns a system that doesn’t require his or her physical presence in order to function. They play a critical role in our society because they are creating new jobs and services that improve our lives. Education is really not a concern and a high percentage of entrepreneurs don’t even finish high school or college. Look at Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, John Assaraf, and Bob Proctor-all of whom have made a huge impact on the world without completing their education. They will often define success as building a business where they have a clear exit strategy, being financially free, and having the ability to serve many. These natural leaders have mastered leveraging time and resources and they enjoy income from dividends, equity, passive income from their investments, and perhaps a self determined salary. They are paid from the efforts of others.

The second profile is the Consultant/Specialist. These people tend to be independent, self motivated, task oriented, and flexible. They are quality minded and have a curious diagnostic approach. They have special skills or talents that they can capitalize on and earn a living. They own their job. They can work on multiple projects and often wear many hats. They love to work independently and have the freedom to determine their schedule. They are project or service oriented and they get paid for the results of the direct efforts. They generally have a foundational education and continue with specialty courses and certifications. They operate their business or consulting from their passion and make enough money to enjoy the lifestyle they desire. They provide important services or functions for companies and individuals that help improve and make things run more smoothly. These can be any sort of consultants, musicians and actors would fall into this category, and we also put Soloprenuers here-people who have a business but it is a one person business. They are dependent on their own efforts to receive their income.

The third profile we came up with was the Corporate Talent/Employee. These people are often more structured, team oriented, and security minded. They enjoy an organization, whether it is small or large, that gives them benefits such as insurance, retirement, vacation, etc. These people enjoy the daily interaction with co-workers, working in a team and being a part of a larger mission. Their educational background is very important and here you will see the highest percentage of Masters and MBA’s within the corporate world. These people are employees, managing other employees, and tend to have only one job at a company (although some may feel forced financially to have second job to make ends meet). They earn a salary or an hourly wage, and are paid for their daily input or contribution. A new trend for employees is telecommuting as companies are becoming more flexible but the vast majority work where their job requires them too. These people are the backbone to our society, providing value and structure, whether it is with a business, a government, a non-profit organization, or a service organization such as a restaurant or hotel. You know when you receive good service from someone who has a passion for their work because they make you feel good being there for that moment. They often define success with achieving a higher salary, promotions, better office, or status.

Our world needs individuals from all three categories and each is important in its own way. I do want to say that it is possible to grow and change into different profiles depending on your life circumstances and your desire to make that change-we are after all, reprogrammable. An Employee can certainly invest in him- or herself, get the training they need to make a change into the Consultant or Entrepreneur profile. Or a Consultant may decide that it’s too lonely and make the change to the corporate world. But I believe that a person will often revert back to their original programming over time if they do not permanently change their innate behaviors and complement their environment to support that change. For example, a corporate executive may decide to start their own company but they need to make sure they have the right team to enhance their chances of success. Without it, they may become discouraged and go back to what they know they can do naturally.

If you recognize yourself in one category and your dream is to be in another category, just be aware that you must change your behaviors and find the right support to make that change successful. It’s great to dream big so don’t let anyone stop you from believing in yourself and your capabilities!

By looking at all the jobs you’ve have had, it’s possible to see the trend and recognize your profile. This is just one step to helping you identify the best working environment and culture for your dream job. Which is your working DNA?

Karin Volo is known as your Dream Job Mentor. She has worked in executive search for over 15 years on two continents and has placed hundreds of people in their dream jobs. She has worked internationally and has a good understanding of cultural differences and understands how important the right job or career is for a person’s well being.

Local Area Unemployment Statistics: 01/00-09/10

Year Period labor force employment unemployment unemployment rate
2000 Jan 267488 258085 9403 3.5
2000 Feb 266807 257584 9223 3.5
2000 Mar 267397 259905 7492 2.8
2000 Apr 267378 260546 6832 2.6
2000 May 270190 261789 8401 3.1
2000 Jun 275468 265523 9945 3.6
2000 Jul 272329 262833 9496 3.5
2000 Aug 268209 258565 9644 3.6
2000 Sep 263780 255444 8336 3.2
2000 Oct 266605 259393 7212 2.7
2000 Nov 266653 259674 6979 2.6
2000 Dec 266047 258159 7888 3.0
2000 Annual 268196 259792 8404 3.1
2001 Jan 262074 252555 9519 3.6
2001 Feb 261014 251135 9879 3.8
2001 Mar 261971 252709 9262 3.5
2001 Apr 257912 248394 9518 3.7
2001 May 258114 248444 9670 3.7
2001 Jun 261796 249161 12635 4.8
2001 Jul 265882 253613 12269 4.6
2001 Aug 258487 246010 12477 4.8
2001 Sep 257278 245555 11723 4.6
2001 Oct 258558 246909 11649 4.5
2001 Nov 256411 245576 10835 4.2
2001 Dec 256980 245607 11373 4.4
2001 Annual 259707 248806 10901 4.2
2002 Jan 257561 245595 11966 4.6
2002 Feb 261873 249293 12580 4.8
2002 Mar 262712 251311 11401 4.3
2002 Apr 262806 251589 11217 4.3
2002 May 266115 254766 11349 4.3
2002 Jun 268678 255076 13602 5.1
2002 Jul 274832 261971 12861 4.7
2002 Aug 270556 258099 12457 4.6
2002 Sep 268656 257277 11379 4.2
2002 Oct 268651 256989 11662 4.3
2002 Nov 266617 254181 12436 4.7
2002 Dec 266693 254118 12575 4.7
2002 Annual 266313 254189 12124 4.6
2003 Jan 269193 255108 14085 5.2
2003 Feb 272076 257623 14453 5.3
2003 Mar 272512 259604 12908 4.7
2003 Apr 276018 263356 12662 4.6
2003 May 277980 264228 13752 4.9
2003 Jun 282162 264854 17308 6.1
2003 Jul 283890 267498 16392 5.8
2003 Aug 279987 264587 15400 5.5
2003 Sep 276517 261685 14832 5.4
2003 Oct 278281 263044 15237 5.5
2003 Nov 277819 263419 14400 5.2
2003 Dec 278221 264496 13725 4.9
2003 Annual 277055 262459 14596 5.3
2004 Jan 279156 263931 15225 5.5
2004 Feb 281801 266811 14990 5.3
2004 Mar 283804 268774 15030 5.3
2004 Apr 284652 270940 13712 4.8
2004 May 287803 273462 14341 5.0
2004 Jun 291433 274078 17355 6.0
2004 Jul 294052 277346 16706 5.7
2004 Aug 290020 273749 16271 5.6
2004 Sep 286586 271195 15391 5.4
2004 Oct 288931 273285 15646 5.4
2004 Nov 289166 273728 15438 5.3
2004 Dec 286858 271942 14916 5.2
2004 Annual 287021 271603 15418 5.4
2005 Jan 285902 269719 16183 5.7
2005 Feb 288131 271102 17029 5.9
2005 Mar 289164 273896 15268 5.3
2005 Apr 292568 278455 14113 4.8
2005 May 295233 281216 14017 4.7
2005 Jun 298259 281458 16801 5.6
2005 Jul 302280 285899 16381 5.4
2005 Aug 299216 282262 16954 5.7
2005 Sep 296335 279288 17047 5.8
2005 Oct 298559 281662 16897 5.7
2005 Nov 296949 280836 16113 5.4
2005 Dec 294421 279732 14689 5.0
2005 Annual 294752 278794 15958 5.4
2006 Jan 293087 278017 15070 5.1
2006 Feb 296158 280001 16157 5.5
2006 Mar 297164 282206 14958 5.0
2006 Apr 301181 286625 14556 4.8
2006 May 302470 288400 14070 4.7
2006 Jun 305254 288254 17000 5.6
2006 Jul 308671 292191 16480 5.3
2006 Aug 305890 288740 17150 5.6
2006 Sep 303468 287514 15954 5.3
2006 Oct 306979 291444 15535 5.1
2006 Nov 306402 291526 14876 4.9
2006 Dec 305830 292233 13597 4.4
2006 Annual 302713 287263 15450 5.1
2007 Jan 307113 292105 15008 4.9
2007 Feb 307368 292601 14767 4.8
2007 Mar 309156 296031 13125 4.2
2007 Apr 310268 298249 12019 3.9
2007 May 311865 300194 11671 3.7
2007 Jun 317035 302532 14503 4.6
2007 Jul 320289 305388 14901 4.7
2007 Aug 313689 299003 14686 4.7
2007 Sep 311742 297407 14335 4.6
2007 Oct 313448 299363 14085 4.5
2007 Nov 311347 297999 13348 4.3
2007 Dec 310140 296232 13908 4.5
2007 Annual 311955 298092 13863 4.4
2008 Jan 310762 296495 14267 4.6
2008 Feb 309616 295481 14135 4.6
2008 Mar 312026 298186 13840 4.4
2008 Apr 316121 303089 13032 4.1
2008 May 318833 303725 15108 4.7
2008 Jun 323912 305872 18040 5.6
2008 Jul 327616 307974 19642 6.0
2008 Aug 321607 300819 20788 6.5
2008 Sep 317553 297807 19746 6.2
2008 Oct 319553 298539 21014 6.6
2008 Nov 318260 296732 21528 6.8
2008 Dec 317981 294187 23794 7.5
2008 Annual 317820 299909 17911 5.6
2009 Jan 317803 290278 27525 8.7
2009 Feb 317959 288896 29063 9.1
2009 Mar 319274 290465 28809 9.0
2009 Apr 322424 294399 28025 8.7
2009 May 325370 294834 30536 9.4
2009 Jun 329380 295602 33778 10.3
2009 Jul 332740 298996 33744 10.1
2009 Aug 324910 291458 33452 10.3
2009 Sep 319139 286613 32526 10.2
2009 Oct 319845 286498 33347 10.4
2009 Nov 320953 288246 32707 10.2
2009 Dec 317898 285284 32614 10.3
2009 Annual 322308 290964 31344 9.7
2010 Jan 319513 285247 34266 10.7
2010 Feb 319506 286164 33342 10.4
2010 Mar 319653 288862 30791 9.6
2010 Apr 321206 294304 26902 8.4
2010 May 323988 295686 28302 8.7
2010 Jun 329006 298309 30697 9.3
2010 Jul 329103 298272 30831 9.4
2010 Aug 327237 294478 32759 10.0
2010 Sep 322179(P) 293221(P) 28958(P) 9.0(P)
P : Preliminary.

Star Candidates This Week

Marketing and Business Development Professional

Our candidate has in-depth experience developing total marketing strategy for start-up international high-end, luxury yacht company. Particular strengths in branding, product placement, event planning, promotional packages, development of international media database and sales database. Creative director and administrator for two international web sites. Background in diverse software, proactive solutions, identify and develop potential market.

Skills:  Proficient with Mac and PC; Knowledge of Microsoft Word, Excel, Adobe Illustrator, In Design, & Photoshop; experience in pre-press production, project management, content writing and editing, design and desktop publishing; creative, multi-media marketing strategies; managing budgets; organize and host events nationally & internationally; strong and persuasive interpersonal skills; small business experience; ability to multi-task and work outside job description; able to set priorities and implement decisions to achieve goals; adaptable to new concepts and responsibilities; pro-active solutions; sense of humor.

Bilingual Customer Service Representative

Professional candidate fluent in English & Spanish, with over 8 years experience in translation and interpretative services in telecommunications, medical and customer service/retail industries.  Candidate is flexible to travel to multiple sites and is comfortable with both face-to-face and telephone translations.  Excellent communication, interpersonal and organizational skills. Enjoys working with public and diverse populations.

Call us today to see full resumes, at no obligation!


Charleston Things to Do This Weekend (Nov 12-14)

Looks as though fall has arrived.  Here’s some of what’s happening the weekend  of Nov 12th.  Get out and enjoy the lowcountry. Mild weather is still with us.  Great time to hit the beaches for a morning walk and play the local golf courses.  How about take a stroll along the Battery or thru the market.  Be a tourist in your own home town. College and pro football are on tap at your favorite neighborhood sports bar.  Plenty of fall festivals in your local community or church. Get out and be social.

Start the weekend off with a relaxed wine tasting. Join Des at Crushed Fine Wine in the Shelmore Village Mt. Pleasant for a TGIF Friday night wine tasting from 5-7pm.  One of the best ways to kick off the weekend. 

The 5th annual Improv-a-Thon presented by the Have Nots takes place this Friday from 7-11:30pm at Theatre 99, 280 Meeting Street. More than 40 Theatre 99 regulars will perform in this non-stop laughfest.  For tickets or more details call 853-6687.

The Village Playhouse 730 Coleman Blvd. Mt. Pleasant present the classic stage production, ‘Oliver Twist’. Charles Dickens’ masterpiece like you’ve never seen it before. A dark and brilliant adaptation of a classic for new audiences. This is not your momma’s Oliver! Fagin, Bill Sikes, Nancy, the Artful Dodger. Join us for a theatrical event like none other as we experience the sinister and frightening world of Victorian England through the eyes of Dickens’ most beloved heroes- Oliver Twist. Showtimes Friday & Saturday nights at 8pm with Sunday matinee beginning at 3pm. For info call 856-1579.

Charleston’s newest underground dining experience: L.I.M.E. (Local.Impromptu.Moveable.Evening), will be hosting a dinner to benefit Lowcountry Orphan Relief on November 13, 2010. L.I.M.E.’s emphasizes the concepts of Slow Foods, Local, Sustainability, Community and Family. The chefs are either graduating students or alumni of The Culinary Institute of Charleston. Each month’s featured chefs chose the charity of their choice. Chef Laura Vein has chosen LOR as her benefiting charity for her November LIME. Each chef is usually paired with either a mixologist or a sommelier. Chef Vein will be featuring a 7 course French Inspired menu. The November LIME is an all-inclusive dinner, meaning your ticket price covers food, beverage, gratuity and tax (with the optional tax write off). Tickets are $125 per person and can be purchased online.

The Music Farm presents the Sequoyah on Friday night featuring All Get Out and Rocket Boys. Doors open at 8pm.  Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 day of show. Drop in the Farm on Saturday from 10am until 3pm for Lowcountry Artist Market featuring local artists selling their wares, including handmade jewelry, vintage clothing, and more.  Admission is free to the event. Call the Farm at 577-6989 for more info. Come out to the Pour House 1977 Maybank Hwy on Friday night for the CD release party of Deepwater Soul Society, with special guest Fireworks Show. Doors open at 9pm for a 10pm show time. Visit on Saturday for the CD release party and show from Joel T. Hamilton.  Special guests include Cary Ann Hearst and Michael Trent.  Tickets are $8 in advance and $10 at the door.  Call the  House at 571-4343 for details.

This weekend at Morgan Creek Grill on the IOP, enjoy the live music of Angela Easterling Duo on Friday night 6:30 – 10:30pm.  On Satuday come out for an oyster roast on the grounds and enjoy the music of the John Satterfield Band from 6:30 -10:30pm.  Plenty of good food & drink while relaxing on the intracoastal waterway.  For more info call 886-8133.  Every Tuesday sail the Sunset Cruise from our dock -6:30-8:30pm with live music from Rene Russell.  Call Aqua-Safari for reservations at 886-8133.

Celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain appears athe performing arts center 8pm on Friday. Chef and author of Kitchen Confidential, Bourdain is best known for traveling the globe on his stomach, daringly consuming some of the world’s most exotic dishes on his hit Travel Channel TV show, Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations. Tickets are $45 and $35.  To purchase visit the coliseum box office or call 800-745-3000.

Comedian, television, and film actor Mike Epps will perform Saturday evening at 8pm at the peforming arts center in North Charleston.  Tickets are $40.50 and $48.50.  Visit the box office or call 800-745-3000 for details.

The Charleston Ballet Company present the beloved holiday story, ‘The Grinch Who Stole Christmas’.  The production opens Saturday with two shows at 11am and 1pm.  Additional shows are Sunday at 3pm and the following times next weekend. Tickets are $22 for adults and $12 for children.  For details call 723-7334.

Legendary rock n’ roll group the Doobie Brothers perform in concert on Sunday night at the North Charleston Performing Arts Center. The Doobies have been entertaining audiences since the mid 1970’s with classic rock hits such as ‘China Grove’ and ‘Jesus Is Just Alright’.  Concert is scheduled for 7pm start.  Tickets are $39.50.  To purchase visit the box office or call 800-745-3000.

Stop by Winestyles (next to Belks) in Mount Pleasant Towne Center on Friday night for a themed wine tasting event. The party happens between 5:30 – 7:30pm.  On Saturday’s make an afternoon of it and stop by for special wine tastings from 2 – 7:30pm. Call the shop at 388-8233 for more details.

East Cooper Habitat for Humanity, Inc. is hosting their Hard Hat Event which will include entertainment, martini bar, hors d’oeuvres, and live and silent auctions. The event will be held at 6 p.m. on Saturday, November 13, 2010, in the Atrium at Blackbaud Headquarters on Daniel Island. Tickets are $100 per person and can be purchased by contacting Christine at (843) 881-2600, ext. 201. Proceeds will be used to purchase land and building materials. East Cooper Habitat has built over 60 homes for working low-income families in the past 20 years. “Building Homes, Changing Lives”.

The Charleston’s Children Museum will host a ‘Mad Science’ get together on Saturday from 10am until noon.  Those attending will witness experiments and demonstrations having to do with sound.  Admission is free to museum members or with paid admission. For details call 722-2996.

SpongeBob Squarepants will make an appearance at the South Carolina Aquarium on Saturday from 10am – 4pm. Children can have their photo taken with SpongeBob. The first 1000 kids will receive a Starfish Silly Band. The aquarium is located at 360 Concord St. downtown Charleston.  For more details call 720-1990.

The Buccanneers of Charleston Southern University play host the Blue Hose of Presbyterian College in CSU’s annual Senior Day football game.  Kick off is 1:30pm at Buccanneer Field.

Remember favorite highschool football teams are back in action this weekend.  Get out and support your local schools.

The Rural Mission Organization will sponsor an oyster roast at Bowen’s Island Restaurant 1870 Bowen’s Island Rd. on Sunday from 3-6pm. Come out and enjoy oysters, food, beer, and live music.  Cost is $25 for adults in advance, $30 at the door. Children 12 and under are $5. Proceeds benefit the mission.  For info call 768-1720.

New to the box office this weekend include, ‘Morining Glory’. When hard-working TV producer Becky Fuller (Rachel McAdams) is fired from a local news program, her career begins to look as bleak as her hapless love life. Stumbling into a job at “Daybreak” (the last-place national morning news show), Becky decides to revitalize the show by bringing on legendary TV anchor Mike Pomeroy (Harrison Ford). Unfortunately, Pomeroy refuses to cover morning show staples like celebrity gossip, weather, fashion and crafts — let alone work with his new co-host, Colleen Peck (Diane Keaton), a former beauty queen and longtime morning show personality who is more than happy covering morning news! Rated PG-13. Also new, the action thriller ‘Unstoppable’. Denzel Washington and Star Trek’s Chris Pine star in this action thriller from director Tony Scott. The plot surrounds two locomotive operators who team up to stop a runaway train filled with explosives. Live Free or Die Hard’s Mark Bomback provides the script for the 20th Century Fox production, co-starring Rosario Dawson. Rated PG-13. Sci-fi fans might enjoy ‘Skyline’.  Strange lights descend on the city of Los Angeles, drawing people outside like moths to a flame where an extraterrestrial force threatens to swallow the entire human population off the face of the  Rated PG-13.

Whether it’s a movie, a play, a concert, or just a day in the park, get out and enjoy the great weather and all that the lowcountry has to offer

By Jeff Walker, Entertainment Writer for Lowcountry Today

Pros and Cons of Hiring Independent Contractors

Benefits of Using Independent Contractors

There are several major advantages to using ICs rather than employees, with financial savings topping the list.

–You will probably save money. Even though most employers pay ICs more per hour than they would pay employees to do the same work, it usually ends up costing employers more to hire employees. When you hire an employee, you will have to pay a number of expenses that you don’t have to pay with ICs, including the cost of employer-provided benefits, office space and equipment. You will also have to make required payments and contributions on behalf of your employees, including: your share of the employees’ Social Security and Medicare taxes, which comes to 7.65% of employees’ total compensation; state unemployment compensation insurance; and workers’ compensation insurance.

All together, these payments can easily increase your payroll costs by 20% to 30%–or more.

–You have more flexibility in staffing projects. Working with ICs allows employers greater leeway in hiring and letting go of workers, which can be especially advantageous for employers with fluctuating workloads. You can hire an IC for a specific task or project, knowing that the worker will be gone when the job is finished. You won’t have to face the trauma, expense and potential legal trouble that often accompany firings and layoffs.

You may also enjoy greater efficiency when you use ICs. Because most ICs bring specialized expertise to the job, they can usually be productive immediately, which eliminates the time and cost of training. By using ICs, you can expand and contract your workforce as needed, without taking on unnecessary expenses.

–You reduce your exposure to lawsuits. Employees have a wide array of rights under state and federal law–and therefore a variety of legal claims they can potentially bring against their employers for violating those rights. Because ICs are considered independent businesspeople, they are not protected by many of these laws. Among the rights that are available to employees but not to ICs are:

–the right to receive at least the minimum wage and, for employees who qualify, overtime compensation at the rate of one-and-a-half times their regular hourly wage

–protection from discrimination on the basis of race, national origin, color, religion, gender and so on

–the right to form a union, and

–the right to take time off to care for a sick family member or bond with a new child.

Employees may also be able to sue their employers for wrongful termination, in circumstances that vary from state to state. ICs cannot bring this type of lawsuit (although there may be restrictions on your right to terminate an IC relationship, depending on what the written IC agreement says).

Disadvantages of Using Independent Contractors

After reading about the possible benefits of hiring ICs, you may be thinking that you’ll never hire an employee again. But there are also some important drawbacks to using ICs and the significant risk that your classification decision may be questioned by government agencies.

–You have less control over your workers. Unlike employees, whom you can closely supervise and micromanage to your heart’s content, independent contractors enjoy a certain autonomy to decide how best to do the job for which you hired them. If you interfere too much in an IC’s work, you risk making the IC look like an employee–for whom you should be paying payroll taxes, workers’ compensation insurance premiums and more. If you want to exercise ultimate control over your workers, classify them as employees.

–Your workers will come and go. Many employers use ICs only as needed for relatively short-term projects. This means that workers will be constantly coming and going, which can be inconvenient and disruptive. And the quality of work you get from various ICs may be uneven. Employers who want to be able to depend on having the same workers available day after day would be better off hiring employees rather than ICs.

–Your right to fire an IC depends on your written agreement. You do not have an unrestricted right to fire an IC, as you might with your employees. Your right to terminate an IC’s services is limited by the terms of your written IC agreement. If you fire an IC in violation of the agreement, you could be liable for damages.

–You may be liable for injuries an IC suffers on the job. Employees who are injured on the job are generally covered by workers’ compensation insurance. In exchange for the benefits they receive for their injuries, these employees give up the right to sue their employer for damages. ICs are not covered by workers’ compensation, which means that they can sue you for damages if they are injured on the job because of your carelessness.

–You may not own copyright in works created by an IC. If you hire an IC to create a work that can be copyrighted–such as an article, book, or photograph–you might not be considered the owner of the work unless you use a written agreement transferring copyright ownership from the IC to you. In contrast, if an employee creates such a work, you will automatically own copyright of the work in most circumstances.

–You face a risk of government audits. State and federal agencies–particularly the IRS–want to see as many workers as possible classified as employees, not ICs. The reason for this preference is financial: The more workers classified as employees, the more tax and insurance money flows into government coffers and the harder it is for workers to underreport or hide their income from the tax man.

Any number of state and federal agencies might audit your business if it believes you have misclassified employees as ICs. At the federal level, you might face an audit from the IRS; the Department of Labor, which enforces federal minimum wage and hour laws; the National Labor Relations Board, which enforces employees’ rights to form a union; or the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which enforces workplace safety laws.

At the state level, you could attract the attention of your state’s unemployment compensation or workers’ compensation agency if a worker you classified as an IC applies for benefits. You could also face an audit from your state’s tax agency.


Nearly One-Third of Employers Are Concerned About Top Talent Leaving Their Organizations, Finds New CareerBuilder Survey

Career Builders – As the recession eases and companies begin to add to strained staffs, employers are also taking action to retain existing top talent at their organizations. According to a new CareerBuilder survey, nearly one-third (32 percent) of employers are concerned about losing their high performing workers in the second quarter, while one-third (33 percent) of workers said it is likely they will start looking for a new job when the economy picks up. As a result, employers are turning to a variety of different retention strategies to hold onto those workers and their valuable intellectual capital. The survey was conducted between February 10 and March 2, 2010 among more than 2,700 employers and 4,800 workers.  Increased workloads, longer hours and fewer resources related to the recession may be contributing to higher job dissatisfaction. Looking at key factors that influence job satisfaction and company loyalty, workers reported the following:

Pay – Nearly one-third (32 percent) of workers said they are dissatisfied with their pay, up from 29 percent during the same period last year.
Work/life balance – Nearly one-quarter (22 percent) of workers said they are dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with their work/life balance, up from 20 percent last year.

Career progress – Twenty-seven percent of workers are dissatisfied with the career advancement opportunities provided by their current employers, up from 24 percent last year.
Of workers who have their sights set on making a career move, they shared the attributes they will be primarily looking for in a new employer in addition to competitive pay and benefits. Good career advancement opportunities (60 percent) and good work culture (57 percent) topped the list. These were followed by:

Company’s financial stability and growth potential – 52%
Training and learning opportunities – 47%
Less stressful work environment – 45%
Flexible work arrangements – 43%
Sense of ownership in their position, that they can make a difference – 42%
Camaraderie, more family-like work environment – 34%

“Many employers were forced to make unpopular, though necessary decisions during the recession in terms of adjustments in headcount, pay and overall strategy,” said Jason Ferrara, vice president of corporate marketing for CareerBuilder. “As the economy improves and resources are reinstated, companies are employing different ways to repair and enhance the employee experience and strengthen morale.”

Employers are implementing different measures to help hold onto top talent and reduce turnover. Offering more flexible work arrangements, investing more in training and promising future raises or promotions topped the list. More performance-based incentives such as trips and bonuses and providing a higher title without a higher salary also ranked in the top five.

Why Getting A Linked-In Profile and Using Twitter Will Help Your Job Search

Now, you may be tempted to dismiss this out of hand…after all, you may think this new-fangled social media gadgets are too difficult and very professional. But there are many ways to be promoting your talents and abilities while contributing and/or learning from the plentiful groups that exist in this social media outlet.  Anyway you look at it, separately or in combination, social media can be incalculably valuable in terms of its contribution to your personal branding and job seeking efforts.

We’re talking about:

Joining FREE social media outlets that GIVE you exposure in PROFESSIONAL forums where you can both LEARN and PROVIDE content to the greater community at large which in the end lends great credibility to your position as an expert in your field.

Furthermore, when you start building a following or begin dialogue with individuals who actually like the content you are producing, it’s really about building up YOU and it’s an acceptable venue….it’s a veritable coup! The power of these venues lies in the reciprocal dialogue you have when you pipe in on a topic or start a discussion on your own that is related to a professional topic you have expertise in.  It lends credibility which is absolutely priceless!

And, let’s face it—being seen as an expert sets you apart from other JOB SEEKERS and distinguishes you as a leader in your industry. Not only does it boost your status above that of your peers in the eyes of the public, it also makes them aware of what YOU are specifically interested in and helps them form a positive opinion about you.

If you decide to seek future employment, you are searchable for your contributions in these forums and guess what?  Potential employers will read your carefully crafted responses and based upon the findings, may deem you worth seeking out to interview over the droves of other applicants who have yet to delve into this avenue of Personal Brand Management.

The bottom line is that getting yourself into the habit of logging into Linked-In and Twitter can have a very positive impact on the success of your job search.  A note of warning, be aware that you are judged – however unfairly, on your careful selection of words (or lack thereof) so select your words carefully, but do engage! You can invest much or little of your personal time to these social media options—it’s your choice. But there are great benefits if used wisely whichever you choose to embrace.

Great Networking Tips

  1. Keep in mind that networking is about being genuine and authentic, building trust and relationships, and seeing how you can help others.
  2. Ask yourself what your goals are in participating in networking meetings so that you will pick groups that will help you get what you are looking for. Some meetings are based more on learning, making contacts, and/or volunteering rather than on strictly making business connections.
  3. Visit as many groups as possible that spark your interest. Notice the tone and attitude of the group. Do the people sound supportive of one another? Does the leadership appear competent? Many groups will allow you to visit two times before joining.
  4. Hold volunteer positions in organizations. This is a great way to stay visible and give back to groups that have helped you.
  5. Ask open-ended questions in networking conversations. This means questions that ask who, what, where, when, and how as opposed to those that can be answered with a simple yes or no. This form of questioning opens up the discussion and shows listeners that you are interested in them.
  6. Become known as a powerful resource for others. When you are known as a strong resource, people remember to turn to you for suggestions, ideas, names of other people, etc. This keeps you visible to them.
  7. Have a clear understanding of what you do and why, for whom, and what makes your doing it special or different from others doing the same thing. In order to get referrals, you must first have a clear understanding of what you do that you can easily articulate to others.
  8. Be able to articulate what you are looking for and how others may help you. Too often people in conversations ask, “How may I help you?” and no immediate answer comes to mind.
  9. Follow through quickly and efficiently on referrals you are given. When people give you referrals, your actions are a reflection on them. Respect and honor that and your referrals will grow.
  10. Call those you meet who may benefit from what you do and vice versa. Express that you enjoyed meeting them, and ask if you could get together and share ideas.
  11. Stephanie Speisman is a Success Coach who coaches groups and individuals in business networking skills based on her booklet “99 Tips for Successful Business Networking.”