Why Credit Reports are Important for Finding Great Work

Finding great work is not easy in today’s environment, so it’s important to do everything you can to ensure that you’re the best candidate for every job you apply for. The first things that spring to mind are ensuring that your resume is in top shape, and that you interview well, but there’s a lot more to getting a job in the 21st century. One important detail that job-seekers tend to overlook is that their credit can have a serious affect on their ability to progress in their career.

 

Bad Credit Can Cost You a Job

47% of major businesses run credit checks on potential new hires. If you’re applying to one of these companies, you might be the top candidate up to that point, and still lose this opportunity just because of the credit screening process. Because of this it’s incredibly important to not only monitor, but actively manage your credit to ensure that it presents a positive message about you.

 

Your Credit Sends a Message To Your Potential Employer

Employers don’t know you as a person, so they collect as much information as they can, and try to build a picture out of what they find to determine if you’re an ideal candidate. The message that bad credit sends is that you may be lacking in organizational and planning skills. Moreover, poor financial health means you’re more likely to be stressed and less able to focus on your work.

These issues are only exacerbated by your lack of stable employment, but businesses don’t like to see themselves as the solution to their employees’ problems, but rather the other way around. To avoid getting stuck in this awful negative feedback cycle, it’s extremely important to avoid getting bad credit in the first place.

 

What Makes Bad Credit

Your credit rating goes down when you fail to make payments on outstanding debts, or if you miss another regular payment like rent or utilities. When you miss payments, the offended party will make an inquiry into your credit, which sends a message to the relevant credit agencies that you aren’t addressing your financial responsibilities. These indicators are used to determine your credit score, and the total score takes years worth of information into account. Unfortunately, a few years of perfect money management will not balance out a few months of total insolvency.

A growing threat that’s being largely ignored is the increasing amount of identity theft that’s being committed by fraudsters all over the world. These thieves can often steal personal information and take out loans in the names of their victims. Since the victims aren’t aware of these loans, they don’t make payments, and their credit score plummets. In 2016 this can have terrible consequences. Not only are victims saddled with debt that isn’t theirs, they also suffer from the consequences of bad credit.

 

How to Protect Your Credit

When it comes to credit monitoring services there are a lot of different options when it comes to protecting your credit, and what you should get depends on what your needs are. If you just want to periodically check to ensure that your credit is healthy, then one of the better free credit monitoring services like Credit Sesame will do that job reasonably well.

However, if you’re looking for ways to actually protect yourself from identity thieves, you’ll need something more comprehensive. Paid credit monitoring services offer a wide variety of services, including bank account monitoring, identity restoration, theft insurance, black market website monitoring, and more.

Not only do these services watch to ensure that your credit isn’t being obviously crushed, they also monitor for other signs of identity theft, like the sudden appearance of your personal information online or in public records. Additionally they offer theft insurance, and will help you get your credit amended if you become a victim.

A clever thief might sell less obvious personal information like your social security number, or they might steal small amounts of money from your credit card that don’t immediately jump out at you. Higher quality credit monitoring services will keep an eye out for these kinds of criminals, and help you put a stop to them before they can have a long-term impact on your future.

 

What To Do If You’re A Victim Looking for Work

If you’re someone in the situation where your credit is damaged because of criminal activity, you can work to have your credit rating amended. Since you often won’t have time to wait for this process to be completed while you look for work, it’s a good idea to bring it up proactively in your interview when the interviewer asks if you have any questions or comments.

Though you’re definitely NOT legally obligated to, you may want to include a copy (with sensitive information blacked out) of any documentation you have to prove that you’re working to resolve the issue.

Credit reports are an important part of every aspect of life in the 21st century, but you don’t have to just sit and hope for the best. Take control of your credit and use it to help mold your future!

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The Top 3 Questions You Should Stop Asking in Interviews

Interviews are often an exhausting experience both for the interviewer and the interviewee. Interviewers rarely know what to ask, and frequently end up asking generic, and relatively useless questions. Choosing generic questions makes things easier for hiring managers, but an interview can and should be so much more than that. Here are a few common questions that just need to go, so that you can transform you interview into an experience that helps you align your goals with those of your new hire.

 

Where do You See Yourself in 5 Years?

This question is a trap. If the interviewee answers that they see themselves working this job diligently they might look complacent to the interviewer. If, on the other hand, they reply that they see themselves in management, or running the place, they might make the interviewer feel threatened. There isn’t a good answer to this question.

Instead, ask: How Will This Job Help You Achieve Your Goals?

This question assumes that the interviewer wants the interviewee to succeed, and that their personal goals matter. It gives the interviewee the freedom to tell the truth, which is often as simple as achieving financial stability, or acquiring new skills. The information you can get here is hugely important, because helping to meet this need can be key to retaining your new hire in the long term.

 

Why Did You Apply At This Company?

While the economy is recovering, we are not at a point where a job searcher can have their pick of a job at any of a large number of businesses. They applied because they need a job, and because they think they’re qualified. Of course, this question is actually meant to check if the candidate has done their research on the interviewing business.

Interview questions should not be coded in a way that requires people to make an un-intuitive leap to answer the secret hidden question you didn’t bother to ask.

Instead, ask: How Can You Help Our Business Succeed?

This question is always answerable, while also checking to see if the candidate has done their research. The more specific their answer is, the clearer it is that they know what they’re talking about. If they didn’t do their research, they’ll still be able to answer based on their expertise and their limited knowledge of your business without awkwardly breaking down the conversation.

 

What’s Your Biggest Weakness?

You can get some useful answers from this question, but it’s worded in an awkward manner. It invites interviewees to think of reasons why they shouldn’t be hired. This question is a red flag that indicates that the interviewer could be a poor communicator. Usually the interviewer wants to hear a story of personal and professional growth, so why not just ask for it?

Instead, ask: Please Tell Me About Something That Made You Grow Professionally

Candidates that have made and dealt with major mistakes at work will understand this question and answer it appropriately. Less experienced candidates will still be able to answer it, by answering with something about their education or other background information. They way they answer, as well as the substance, can tell you a lot about your job candidate.

micha boettigerMicha Boettiger is a freelance writer and digital strategist. You can find out more about his work on his website, Writer Worldwide, or by following him on Twitter @writerworldwide.

5 Steps To Understanding Employees Better While Setting Reasonable Expectations

A lot of importance is given by companies to establishing good relationships with customers. Their focus is to attract new customers while retaining old ones. There is nothing wrong with this approach – I believe that a lot of new customers are required to ensure business longevity. I also believe that employee satisfaction is essential to ensure a business succeeds in its entirety.

But how many companies focus on employee satisfaction?

Unfortunately, I have seen a lot of companies relegating zero or minimal importance towards employee satisfaction. They mistakenly assume that giving out salaries on time is enough to keep employees satisfied! They fail to realize that there are a lot of opportunities for employees to become unhappy in the workplace.

The focus of this article is to help you understand employees better. And to use your new-found understanding to set reasonable expectations for each of them.

 

Step 1: Understand that no employee is the same

Many companies make the grave mistake of underestimating employees. They fail to understand that each employee has unique aspirations that set them apart from others. How do you know what an employee wants? The answer is simple – by having one-on-one conversations.

Have the first round of one-on-one conversations with each employee to understand their career goals and how they find this job.

The Human Resource team should ask each employee the following questions:

i. “Are you satisfied with this job? If not, why?”

ii. “What are your career goals?

iii. “Do you receive enough support from managers and colleagues?”

iv. “What’s the best memory you have working here?”

The answers to these questions will provide you with valuable insights on how to deal with each employee. You will also be able to identify employees who have lost interest working for your company. Work with them to ensure they exit the company honorably.

 

Step 2: Ensure that the Employee Knows you Care about him/her

The questions asked by you in Step 1 will increase employee expectations. They will expect you to eliminate any discomfort they have at the workplace. So you will have to work hard to match their expectations.

It’s time for the second round of one-on-one conversations with them. This is when you showcase your caring side and willingness to go the extra mile to ensure their needs are taken care of.

 

Step 3: Set Reasonable Work Expectations

It’s important to provide each employee with clear instructions on what kind of work is expected from him/her each day. These instructions can be shared in a document, allowing the employee to read and understand his role whenever he needs to.

It’s also important to understand the complexity of work that can be undertaken by each employee. To achieve this, you will have to set certain benchmarks that are to be achieved at work. These benchmarks should be neither difficult nor easy to achieve. They should be specific to an employee’s job profile and shouldn’t place any additional burden on him/her.

For example, a writer should be able to write an article of 500 words every day. Similarly, a programmer can be expected to write a certain amount of code every day. Creating benchmarks will help you understand how well the employee is faring. Benchmarks also encourage employees to challenge themselves to achieve more at the workplace.

 

Step 4: Launch Training Programs to Fill Skill Gaps

Some employees may be less talented than others. And you will notice them performing way below the benchmarks set by you. Conduct regular training programs that can equip them professionally as well as mentally to take on all kinds of challenges at work. It removes any sort of inferiority complex these employees may have, giving them a new dose of self-confidence.

 

Step 5: Find a Reason to Motivate Employees

Regularly appreciated employees can do wonders for your company. Device employee appreciation tactics such as team competitions or performance rewards to ensure employees feel great working for your company.

The level of appreciation and recognition you provide will determine how long the employee remains loyal to your company. Be generous with positive words and actions to reap immense benefits!

Did you find these steps useful? Deploy them in your working environment to witness the wonders employee satisfaction can do for your company. Share your thoughts on this topic by adding your comments below!

 

Neerav_PicNeerav Mehta is the Founder and CEO of Red Crackle, a San Francisco Bay Company that provides Drupal solutions for all kinds of technical requirements. Neerav enjoys writing technical and business articles in his free time.

Five Digital Marketing Mistakes That Are Draining Your Profits

 

In the last decade, millions of people have taken their business online. The field of digital marketing is still new though. Many small business owners are making costly marketing mistakes that are costing them money.

This article focuses on five common digital marketing mistakes that small business owners make. Axing these habits will help you attract more people to your website.

And of course that means more profit.

 

1) Not Providing Value to Your Email List

There is a famous saying in digital marketing,“the money is in the list.”Email marketing is probably the most underused tool in the small business owner’s toolkit.

Perhaps that is because email marketing is traditionally associated with annoying spam.

But good email marketing is as far from spam as it gets. Effective email marketing is about building a relationship with your customers. What does building a relationship mean in practical terms?

It means providing emails that your customers want to open. Exciting emails; that’s what the best email marketers have in common. You need to provide interesting content alongside your products or affiliate links.

That means different things to people. If you’re an expert in your field, then you can write an interesting article. Or you can become a great curator. That means you collect the best articles, infographics, and videos in your niche, and display them in a convenient list.

If you only sell to your email list (as opposed to providing value), you will lose goodwill. And when you lose goodwill, you lose future revenue.

 

2) Constructing Blog Posts That Aren’t Written for the Web

Inbound marketing brings customers to your website with engaging and original content. It works; and it’s become quite popular in recent years. Because of its effectiveness, many small business owners use it. But on the internet it takes more than a well-written article to succeed.

First off, you need to write for the web. On the internet, a lot of people skim information or speed read. That’s because they’re chasing down answers. You need to break up your text into small paragraphs. Web surfers devour helpful content written in this format.

It’s also critical to avoid using complex jargon, or too much high-level vocabulary. You should strike a balance here. It’s okay to use a word that your audience might have to look up. But, if they need to look up five words in one paragraph, then you need to use more graspable synonyms.

Adding images to your content is important as well. Study after study shows people like to consume blog posts with images. Many images require minimal effort, but even the simple ones elevate the quality of your post. Images are a convenient way to accelerate your content marketing strategy. Write for the web, and your blog posts will grow in popularity.

 

3) Not Using a Logo

Think of Coca-Cola and Pepsi. Think of Apple and Microsoft. If you visualize those companies in your head, you can project their logo. A logo is a great way to build your brand. It inspires confidence in the customer and it helps them remember what you stand for. If you have a logo you like, make sure it’s featured on your website.

If you don’t have a logo you like, then it’s time to get one. Some people make their own logo. If that’s not an option, consider Fiverr.com as an inexpensive way to get a logo. As the name implies, logos start at five dollars. Look for sellers that have high feedback, preferably above 4.8 stars.

 

4) Not Using Lead Magnets Correctly

Email marketing is the crux of making money online. Adding quality subscribers to your email list means adding money to your pocket. Of course, most people won’t just hand over their emails.

Signing up for an email list is dicey. There are a lot of glorified spammers out there. No one wants to spend a perfectly good evening unsubscribing from dozens of annoying email lists. People want to know your going to give them value. They also want a reward, since signing up for an email list is a risk. A lead magnet assuages both of those concerns.

Now, a lead magnet is something you give people in exchange for their email address. It’s something exclusive that people can’t find for free anywhere. It might be a free e-book, a video tutorial, or an interview with an influential person in your industry.

Many small business owners provide an inferior product as a lead magnet. They don’t want to spend too much effort on something that won’t pay immediate dividends.

However, that kind of thinking is antithetical to acute email marketing. Your profits are tied to your relationship with your list. If they don’t trust you, they won’t buy from you.

That’s why you need a good lead magnet.

 

5) Not Helping Google Understand Your Images

Search engines can do a lot of things. One thing they can’t do is read images. So how do they find out what an image is about? One way is the title of the image. If the title of your image is a random string of numbers and letters, Google will have no way to read it. When you insert an image into a blog post, you need to make sure it has a descriptive title. “Yellow-flower” is a better title than a random string of characters such as “654123ab”.

Proper labeling of images will help Google accurately index them. This will help the images on your website rank higher in organic search. Alternative text is useful here as well. Use it to add something meaningful not found in the title tag.

But, remember that keyword stuffing alt text is just like keyword stuffing in articles. It will bring a Google penalty to your website. The most effective alt text and titles are written for people, not search engines. They outline images, and they add value for web surfers.

 

Conclusion

There is a lot more to digital marketing than these five tips. Still, this is a great place to start. A lot of webmasters are still making these mistakes. By avoiding these errors, you will be one step ahead of the competition.

1c2479bZachary Moore is a freelance writer and digital marketer. He writes articles about digital marketing, entrepreneurship, finance and more. He enjoys sharing helpful marketing ideas with entrepreneurs who need support. You can find him at his website and on LinkedIn.

How to Get Startup Employees to Engage Fully

6893267337_512da6998dEntrepreneurs face a unique set of challenges, and the most extreme of those is tackling a large volume of work with only a very limited amount of resources, particularly labor. Startups need people who can work under high pressure for relatively low reward, and getting people to willingly put in the effort your business needs is every entrepreneurs biggest question.

To tackle this problem it’s important to really understand what does and does not motivate your workers. Of course, every individual person is different, but we can generalize based on common startup conflicts.

Understand Why Your Employees are There

Few people willingly take a job with no benefits, limited vacation time, high work load, and low pay over a comfortable job at a more established enterprise. If you’re a startup on a strained budget, your employees are often going to be people who are relatively inexperienced.

Young workers in particular are likely trying to develop the skills and get the experience they need to find more gainful employment. If you want to hold on to your talent, and get them to really apply themselves, you’re going to need to know what they’re looking for in the long term.

Learn How Employees Define Success

Everybody has their own goals, and you can’t motivate an employee if you don’t know what theirs are.

It’s a good idea to ask every employee what their long-term goals are for their work, and to flat out ask how you can help them. A few likely targets might be…

  • Higher Wages
  • Health Insurance
  • Flexible Schedules
  • PTO

If you know how an employee defines success, then you can make sure that your business’ success also translates into theirs.

Tie Their Success To Your Business’

The success of your company isn’t the success of your employees unless you make it. To that end it’s a good idea to develop a plan for how you’re going to translate your business’ growth into tangible benefits for your workers.

This way your workers won’t just be working for your business’ future, they’ll explicitly be working for their own. Set specific goals for production, sales, growth etc… and set down a transparent plan for how their work can directly facilitate their own success.

 

Breaking into a Market

15929429802_4d3f221c03The greatest challenge of a 21st century startup is getting anyone’s attention. twenty years ago it was enough to put a flashy neon sign on a street corner and local people would start lining up at your door. You don’t have a street corner on the internet, and no pedestrians, so where do you start?

It feels like you’re a ghost waving at imagined customers in an empty room. So what do you do? You can’t just sit on your hands and wait for something to happen. You need to develop a strategy, and here, I’ll share one of mine with you.

Start with Networking

Stop thinking of yourself as a 1950s factory boss, and try to think like a redditor. Internet denizens aren’t here to be fed slogans and lines, and attempting to do so will get them shoved right back down your throat. You need to be a human being, not a marketer.

You need to find the forums where your target audience is, and most important, where your market niche’s influencers are. You need to be available on those forums with your expertise. Add the forum regulars on your social media accounts. Show the world who you are, show them what you know, and that you have the answers to their problems. This is a significant investment of your time, and sometimes resources, but this is how you earn social capital. Don’t neglect it.

Find your competitors, find the owner’s social media accounts, and see who they are talking to. You need to be talking to those people too. If you did your prior footwork, those bloggers and social media influencers will have seen you on the forums. When you contact them, they will know who you are, and be ready to talk to you, re-tweet you, pin your stuff, and share your content.

Offer Value on your Website

Don’t ever let anyone regret going to your website. You need to have more than products and testimonials on your site. What this looks like varies enormously depending on your business, but in essence, the currency of the internet is easily accessible information. That means that you need skilled writers who can write in a manner that is easy to read, humorous, and concise.

I’ve been working in internet marketing for a while now, and this is the biggest mistake (short of trying to sell a valueless product), that business owners make. In a world where there are tens or hundreds of mostly identical stores offering mostly identical products, there isn’t a reason to pick your store out of many and buy from you. Geography has become an utterly meaningless abstraction with the advent of online shopping, and all of us now have to compete with every single store on Earth that has access to a drop shipper.

Be your Business

The age of formality is over. You can’t show up and just hide behind a store name, because nobody wants a relationship with a store. If you want to be successful on the internet, you need to be a minor celebrity. Not in the kind of way that strangers recognize you on the street, but in the way that the important people within your industry, all over the world, know who you are, and respect you.

To do this, “own it”, in a public way. Talk about it on your personal social media. Talk about it to people in meatspace interactions. You can’t be humble, or separate your public and private life when you’re an entrepreneur, because you need the support of the people in your private life to make it to the public.

Don’t Give Up

Finally, don’t expect instant results. First, you need to REALLY know what you’re talking about. Then you have to really earn the respect of other people who also really know what they are talking about. This stuff takes time. Often, entrepreneurs will give up on their passion because they think nobody is listening, but if you keep at it long enough (at least two years), and keep working on the quality of your communication and the value of the content that you are bringing to the table, people will start to listen. Don’t give up on your passion.

Oh yeah, if you’re starting a business about something you don’t care about, quit now, because you’re definitely going to fail.

Startup Marketing on a Budget

It’s a vicious catch-22. Marketing is expensive, but necessary to raise your business’ profile to the point where you can reliably get the leads you need to make enough revenue to afford marketing.

When you’re just starting out, you’ll usually be forced to focus your marketing efforts on one type of internet marketing, before you can afford to branch out.

Where to Start as a B2C Business

As a consumer oriented business, you’ll want to start building connections with your community and your customer base as quickly as possible.

This is perfect for social media. Twitter , Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook allow you to directly interact with your target market, and things like boosted Facebook posts can put your content directly in front of the market that you’re looking for.

Where to Start as a B2B Business

Not all startups are the same, and the rules of where to begin with your marketing campaign vary depending on what your business is about. If you’re a B2B business, social media is a bad place to start, because you’ll need to hunt down your leads individually, which is very time consuming and less efficient than a well-targeted PPC campaign.

Pay-Per-Click is a good place to start for a lot of B2B businesses, but some startups won’t have the budget to set up a robust campaign. So, what can we do?

Getting in contact with businesses isn’t as simple as making friends with them on Facebook. Instead, concentrate on gathering contact information, sending out high quality newsletters, and directly contacting relevant industry professionals.

Micha is a digital strategist and content writer. You can secure his social media and content writing services at his website.

 

 

Small Businesses Need Internet Marketers

In the last year plenty of people have asked us how marketing things on the internet could possibly be worth actual real-world money. Then, as we talked, they’d whip out their phone to google for a good lunch place.

The Internet Is The New Primary Marketing Medium 

When’s the last time that you used a phone book to find a local service like an electrician, a landscaper, a lawyer, or an internet service provider? When’s the last time you actually called a number from a billboard?

For me, and most millennials, the answer is somewhere between “I can’t remember” and “not ever”. For Gen X-ers an older it’s become fairly uncommon as well. If you need to buy something in this day and age you’ll pull out your phone and check on the internet before you consider other methods.

It’s silly for any business today not to do everything they can to elevate their presence on the web.

Just Existing Isn’t Enough to Get Noticed

Since most business owners are clever and hardworking people, they do read the tea leaves and get a website and a few social media accounts. Unfortunately, that’s usually not enough, Everyone has a website, and unless people aren’t already looking at yours, it won’t rank much better than your competitors’.

You have to update your site regularly and interact with your community on social media to drive traffic and keep people’s attention. Unfortunately for modern entrepreneurs, this type of marketing is a process and takes a lot more time than the buy-it-and-forget-it ads of the pre-internet era.

Entrepreneurs are Busy People

Most startup business owners put in something between 60 and 80-hour weeks just to make sure their business runs. They don’t have time to sit down every single day to talk to strangers on Twitter and Facebook, catch up on industry news, and write blog updates for their site.

Even for the people who understand the importance of marketing on the internet, and take the time to do so, they often fall into what I call the “sales trap”.

Entrepreneurs Usually Excel at Selling, not Marketing

Internet marketing isn’t really about converting, it’s more about generating leads, and making it easier to generate more leads that you can work on converting later.

The “sales trap” is falling for the overwhelming desire to sell something to everyone you interact with in your marketing efforts.

control1Internet marketing can generate sales directly, but primarily it exists to raise general awareness about you and to make you easier to find through internet searches. That means that most of the people you reach out to won’t become customers. Instead, you’re creating a base of popularity that will encourage potential customers to come to you.

Since this usually means that, in the early stages of your campaign, your marketing efforts won’t bring a significant return in terms of sales, this can feel very frustrating to someone who is used to making things happen rather than helping them grow.

Hire a Pro

Traditional marketing was often actually more expensive than hiring an internet marketer is today. We tend to shy away from paying for internet marketing because it’s in cyberspace, and, on some level, we still don’t think it’s real.

This article is syndicated from Writerworldwide.com, find the original post here.