Conducting Pre-Employment Reference Inquiries and Background Investigations

Reference and background inquiries allow an employer to verify information provided by the applicant. Companies who make proper and judicious use of the information gathered as a result of a thorough background investigation typically reduce exposure to employee fraud, theft, embezzlement, turnover, unqualified employees, negligent hiring claims and violence in the workplace.The following are the most important aspects that makeup a background investigation. Additionally, how the information can be used to significantly reduce employee difficulties and employment litigation is also discussed:EMPLOYER REFERENCES-Checking past employers is used primarily to verify information provided by the applicant on resumes and applications such as dates of employment, job title, compensation, reasons for separation, and re-hire status. With even a small amount of information provided by a past or current employer, you may be able to gauge an applicant’s skill, ability and honesty or perhaps areas such as attendance problems, violent behavior, and manageability.· Required element in the defense of negligent hiring claims (regardless of whether or not the reference shares information).EDUCATION VERIFICATION-An important integrity check. Surveys suggest that as many as 1 in 3 resumes and applications contain inaccurate education assertions and that more than 500,000 Americans have bought their academic degrees. This area contains the second highest rate of inaccuracy, behind salary. This check verifies education commiserate with position requirements.· This is one of the easiest checks to pursue.· This may include industry specific certifications and other non-degree-oriented training.PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL REFERENCES-Similar to screening employer references and great for gaining an insight into some personality traits of the applicant.· Addresses of friends and family that are in other states, or are otherwise a great distance away, may also indicate that the candidate had lived in that area. This is important regarding criminal record checks.DEPARTMENT OF MOTOR VEHICLE REPORTS-May verify the type, status, validity, and restrictions of the applicant’s driver’s license. Can also be used to verify information provided by the candidate such as current address, date of birth and license endorsements.· Essential if the applicant will drive on company time or use company vehicles.· May indicate a history of substance abuse.· Required element in the defense of negligent hiring claims.SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER TRACE-A specialized report that may indicate a social security number’s validity or uncover aliases and other people using the same number. Generally includes a candidate’s current and previously reported addresses for comparison to an application.· Previous addresses should be used in the criminal history check.· Required element in defense of negligent hiring claims.CRIMINAL BACKGROUND CHECKS-Make a thorough criminal background check. It is not uncommon for employers to be sued for an employee’s illegal acts. Do not check arrest histories, only records of criminal convictions. Compare to application to determine a candidate’s honesty. You should not immediately disqualify a candidate for convictions, unless they are not included on the application. Convictions must recent and job related (i.e. driver applicant with a DWI conviction or a retail candidate convicted of shoplifting or theft).The criminal background check is essential in considering a candidate’s character, integrity, history of violent behavior, and suitability for the job. It is best to visit the appropriate county’s Clerk of Court criminal records office in person but you can also reach them by phone, fax, computer or mail.· Past performance is indicative of future results.· Required element in the defense of negligent hiring claims.· If you should find information that causes you not to hire an individual, keep a copy for your records.PRE-EMPLOYMENT CREDIT CHECK-Also called a PEER report by credit reporting bureaus. This report is similar to a standard consumer credit report. It may contain secured and unsecured loan, revolving credit (credit card) and other debt information, as well as payment history. It may include information from public record sources such as judgments, liens, and bankruptcies.· Used to gauge a candidate’s fiscal responsibility and financial pressures.· May also include information from the less expensive Social Security Trace.FEDERAL AND STATE LICENSE VERIFICATION-Used when an applicant must have a license for the job. Verifies the validity, type and status of required licensing.· Complaints and administrative actions regarding licensed individuals may also be available.· Required element in the defense of negligent hiring claims.HONESTY, ATTITUDE AND PERSONALITY TESTING-Although not a background or reference investigation, these tests have a definite place in the pre-hire process. These surveys measure a candidate’s attitude regarding honesty, ethics, substance abuse, reliability, work and supervisors.· These test typically cost between $6-$10 per candidate.· Over 45% of Fortune 100 Companies use profile testing at some level in their organization.DRUG SCREENING-Again, tests for the use of illicit drug use also have a definite place in the pre-hire process. Many studies have linked drug use in the workplace to higher than average losses. According to one such study, the average theft incident per employee with a substance addiction is 6.3 times higher than to the average theft incident committed by a non-addicted employee. OSHA has recently re-released information indicating that employees in companies with drug screening programs are 4 times less likely to have job related accidents, equating to greater productivity and profits.· Required element in the defense of negligent hiring claims (especially when employees operate machinery, drive on company time or use company vehicles).Keep in mind, the results from these reports must be compared against provided information in order to measure an applicant’s honesty. Hiring a dishonest candidate is never a good decision.There are many more sources for background and reference investigations than have been included here; a licensed private investigation agency specializing in pre-employment investigations may be able to help you identify and obtain any additional needs.As in all aspects of the hiring process, federal and state laws may govern how you use or share information obtained while conducting these and other checks; always maintain documentation generated as a result of these reports.Furthermore, all positions do not require every check or screening process included; for example, a waiter’s position in a restaurant may not warrant the expense of a credit check, motor vehicle report or psychological profile testing.Some Important Considerations:· All employers should seriously consider a comprehensive drug-screening program.· Any time a state or federal license is required for the position, a license verification check must be completed.· Background investigations for jobs requiring access to cash, financial records, and valuable merchandise (jewelry, weapons, electronics, etc.) should include a pre-employment credit check, with check-ups performed semi-annually.· Department of Motor Vehicle Records should be checked semi-annually.· Criminal Background checks should be completed once a year.· Additional investigation components should be verified when an employee is promoted.There are many other checks and resources available to the public that can be used to uncover possible sources of fraud, theft, and dishonesty. The components listed above are the most common elements of a background investigation and are not meant to be an exhaustive study. The services of a competent investigations company should be sought to discuss additional options.

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Managing Your Student Loans

According to a March 2012 study by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the average outstanding student loan balance per borrower is $23,300; a quarter of borrowers owe more than $28,000, and 0.45 percent of borrowers owe more than $200,000. If you continued on to medical, business, or law school, you are probably in the latter debt category with a six-figure student loan balance wondering how to tackle that monkey on your back. Students have a variety of options to choose from when deciding how to fund college expenses, but it is critical to understand the details and requirements of the loan taken out to pay for higher education. This article will describe the different types of student loans, explain the difference between subsidized and unsubsidized loans, and when to consolidate.Subsidized versus Unsubsidized
First, let’s compare subsidized versus unsubsidized loans. Whenever you borrow money, you owe interest on the outstanding balance of your loan; when interest on a student loan begins to accrue depends on whether it is subsidized or unsubsidized. If you have a subsidized loan, the interest does not begin to accrue until after you have graduated and begin to repay the loan; whereas if you have an unsubsidized loan, the interest begins to accrue the moment the loan funds are disbursed. This important difference explains why someone students graduate and notice that their student loan balance is much higher than they had anticipated. Assume you only borrowed $20,000 at 5 percent to fund the first year of your 4-year undergraduate degree; if that loan was subsidized, the loan balance would still be $20,000 when you graduate, and the interest will begin to accrue at 5 percent once your grace period ends and repayment begins. However, if your loan was unsubsidized, your loan would have accrued interest of $1,000 at the end of your first year of college. If you did not pay that $1,000, it would get added to your initial $20,000 balance (known as capitalized interest or negative amortization) and this process would continue until you began making payments on the loan. Below are the two loans compared side by side:Loan Balance (Subsidized versus Unsubsidized)
Year-End Subsidized Unsubsidized
Freshman $20,000 $20,000 x 1.05% = $21,000
Sophomore $20,000 $21,000 x 1.05% = $22,050
Junior $20,000 $22,050 x 1.05% = $23,152
Senior $20,000 $23,152 x 1.05% = $24,310 Balance Upon Graduation $20,000 $24,310Perkins
Perkins loans are subsidized and are for those students with exceptional financial need and can be used for both undergraduate and graduate degrees. Perkins loans are fixed at 5%, have a repayment period of up to 10 years, and amount is limited based on your undergraduate or graduate status.Direct Stafford
Stafford loans are also for undergraduate, graduate, and professional students, but they can be either subsidized or unsubsidized. Direct Subsidized Loans are for students with financial need, and as long as you are in school at least part-time, within your grace period, or on deferment, you are not charged interest. Direct Unsubsidized Loans do not require demonstration of financial need and are available to all students.PLUS Loans for Graduate and Professional Degree Students:
PLUS loans are for graduate and professional degree students and have a fixed interest rate of 7.9 percent. You must have a good credit history to be granted a PLUS loan, and you must have exhausted your eligibility for Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Stafford loans. PLUS Loans have a 4 percent fee charged on the loan amount, which is deducted from the loan proceeds. There are repayment plans that will allow you to amortize your loan between 10-25 years.How to Consolidate
Do you have several types of loans from various lenders from your undergraduate and graduate years? Are you paying multiple loans and at different interest rates? The Department of Education’s Direct Consolidation Loan may be just what you have been looking for. The Direct Consolidation Loan pays off all of your loans and gives you one loan with a single payment and a fixed interest rate. The interest rate is determined by taking the weighted average interest rate of all your loans capped at 8.25 percent. Additionally, if some of your loans are variable (can increase if interest rates rise), the Direct Consolidation loan will convert those to a fixed rate as well. Unfortunately, not all loans qualify for the Direct Consolidation Loan. For example, private loans and loans not guaranteed by the federal government are not eligible. You can learn more at

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A Business Flyer’s Guide to Aircraft Financing

It’s nice to know that you have options with regards to flying a plane especially if you travel extensively. What is the best route for you to go financially? There are a great many aircraft financing options for you to choose from as well as criteria to consider with regards to obtaining the best aircraft financing rates. But first, let’s look at the various ways an aircraft finance loan can be helpful to you as a business person who flies, in general, a good deal of the time.Keeping Grounded
Even though you may fly quite a bit, you still want to feel grounded as far as meeting your deadlines and obligations. Many times commercial air travel can play havoc on the life of the business person who wants to keep to a schedule. Not only is there the factor of security to deal with, you are also challenged by traffic and crowds. In addition, flight plans can be delayed and canceled making it almost impractical to do business at times.
Therefore, considering an aircraft finance loan is a viable solution in contributing to your overall well-being when it comes to business and personal travel.Commercial Aircraft Financing versus Fractional Ownership
Dependent on your current financial circumstances, owning a commercial jet can be a boon with regards to how seamlessly and smooth your day-to-day dealings go. Owning your own commercial plane can present a large initial outlay financially. In addition, you also have to anticipate continuing costs with regards to storage, maintenance, fuel and staffing requirements. Nevertheless, if you like the privacy afforded by choosing such an option, you will not mind to elect to finance commercially.On the other hand, if you can’t allocate the time or resources in owning your own commercial craft, then fractional ownership can offer many advantages. The initial cost is less than owning your own jet because you own a share of the plane you choose to finance. Fractional ownership is a commercial aircraft financing option that affords the contributor the benefits of full ownership without the requirements imposed by trying to procure total financing.Experimental Aircraft Financing
For those flyers who want to delve into the experimental side of flying, experimental aircraft financing is available for anyone who need funds for this type of purpose. You do need to be FAA certified and if your loan is a kit-built experimental plane, you generally will generally need to meet the requirement of a more sizable down payment. An appraisal is a needed in certain instances depending on the type of craft you’re interested in buying and the size of the loan.Loan Packages
Several types of loan packages are available offering good aircraft financing rates depending of course on the type of plane you’re financing and its overall cost. Fixed aircraft finance loans are generally for 15 or 20 years. Nonetheless, you can obtain such loans for a shorter duration if you wish.Fixed and adjustable rate loans are normally offered for 3 or 5 year terms. Adjustments to the aircraft financing rates are therefore adjusted every 3 or 5 years. These types of loans are ideal for anyone who is purchasing a plane that is sound mechanically and the prevailing market rates are low at the time of financing.Index based loans work in much the same way as fixed and adjustable rate loan packages in that they are best secured when the market rate indices are low. This allows the borrower an opportunity to pay off the balance earlier and build equity in his aircraft.If your plane is in need of a major overhaul, then you stand to gain by opting for a fixed-rate loan. Typically, these types of loans can be obtained for terms of 15 or 20 years.Conclusively, you have a great opportunity afforded to you when you own an airplane. Take the above information in consideration. Use it to keep you on a steady course toward financial solvency.

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