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Month: September, 2012

September 14, 2012

 

Wisdom denotes the pursuing of the best ends by the best means

Francis Hutchison – Scottish Philosopher

This quote Is often corrupted into another saying that is not as philosophical ‘The ends justify the means’

And while it is true you need to do what you can to accomplish your goals and tasks you don’t need to take to the means where you are doing something wrong. Cutting red tape is one thing, being immoral, unethical, illegal, or blind siding is something else. Leave it to a good Scotsman!

Terrorism & America

September 11, 2012

 

                It’s been 11 years to the day since we were horrified and shocked that an airplane hit the World Trade Center. Then it got even worse. Another plane hit Tower #2. Then as we Watched in silent horror, both towers and another collapsed into nothing but a huge pile of hazardous rubble.

                Since that fateful morning in 2001, we have heard practically everything there is to hear about the tragedy. From more than a few crazies who think that the United States did it to ourselves, just so we could get more oil out of Iraq (that hasn’t worked out so well.

                To those such as Rosie O’Donnell who stated that steel beams can’t burn and melt. I think she missed the report just a few days before where the steel girders of a bridge in San Francisco melted because of a gas tanker that rolled and caught fire. To the experts who said that the towers came down too ‘cleanly’.

                And these are just 3 of the myriad of stories that have been floated in the world today. Hell, even Osama bin Laden said we did it to ourselves, just to blame him. As did Saddam Hussein.

                But thru 11 years and trillions of dollars spent trying to defend us and prevent another tragedy. Despite the Patriot Act. Despite the invasion to our privacy that the Department of Homeland Security has obtained. Have we really become any safer?

                In some respects yes. In other respects no. In the physical sense, we have become safer. Thanks in large part to several Federal agencies, who have worked tirelessly to do their best.

                Many in the FBI, DHS, ICE, & others, not to mention our military are dedicated professionals. They worked their butts off and some die trying to protect us.

                Others, such as the political appointees in these agencies would rather play politics and have everyone like them instead of worrying about the next attack. And this wasn’t just under President Obama it was under President Bush as well.

                The FBI, DHS, TSA and I’m sure others have been tasked with spying on ALL Americans to thwart terrorism. They monitor our cell phones, computers, faxes, and anything else electronic we utilize in our daily lives.

                And also according to the Patriot Act, most of which I agree with, they can go into anywhere they want and search. And if we say anything against them or the search they can ‘make us disappear’. Sometimes I wonder if we’re in Communist Russia or China, except the people don’t act or sound like they do!

                Terrorism is a real issue in our world. It came home in 1993 with the first World Trade Center bombing. Then again in 1995 in Oklahoma City at the Alfred Murrah Federal Building, albeit domestic. Then the entire world changed in the blink of an eye that bright sunny morning in Manhattan when a plane hit the WTC and caused its collapse.

                We lost a great many people there. And a great number of military people at the Pentagon when another plane hit it. And then we saw the difference that American heroes can make at Shanksville when the passengers took over Flight 93 and crashed into a corn field and prevented it from reaching the White House or Capitol Building in Washington D.C.

                The loss of life was great, no matter what. But despite the outcry from the liberal media, let’s look at Vietnam, Korea, & WWII. We have lost nearly 15,000 people in the 11 years since the buildings went down. In Vietnam and Korea, we lost that many in one year.

                We need to be thankful that we have men and women who are willing to lay their lives on the line for us who stay behind. Some of us are too old, disabled, or not eligible for service, but what’s the difference. They lay their lives on the line, so we sit and pitch a bitch about the weather or our jobs (or lack thereof).

                We learned a lot that day. But since we’re Americans we forget about them very quickly and devolved into partisan bickering about one thing or another. We forgot what was best for the country and only for those in Washington. If we don’t start remembering what we learned and felt in the seconds, minutes, days, & weeks after that disaster we will repeat it.

                Maybe not today, tomorrow, or even next year. But we will repeat it and then who will mourn the dead, dying, & innocent then. As usual the media and everyone else will do nothing but wring their hands and say woe is me.

                I say thank God for the millions of police, fire-fighters, medical personnel, & our military (past and present) for doing what they do. And GOD BLESS AMERICA!

                What were you doing on September 11th when you heard the news? Let me know?

I was on the phone and talking to my still single girlfriend at the time. She was in Spokane, WA. and I was in St. Joseph, MO.I called her and asked her if she had heard the news. She had and I tried my best to calm her fears about what was going to happen. It all worked out well, we met a week later and the rest is history.

                Tell me your stories.

Pre-Employment Screening

September 7, 2012

There is a lot of controversy and confusion over conducting background checks on potential employees. ‘What do I check on this one and not on that one?’ To a lot of non-human resources people, it can get a tad confusing. Well I’m hoping this will help you out, at least a bit.

                I can’t tell you exactly what to check, unless I know your specific industry and what position you’re hiring for. What I can do is give you some broad parameters of what to check and why. So, with that away we go!

                Criminal Checks – This is probably the most important of all of the checks you’ll do. Does that potential employee have a violence problem? Possibly a drug issue? How about a DWI? In some cases these can stop you from hiring someone. In others maybe not. Huh? (I leave you saying that a lot, don’t I)?

                If you are hiring someone to work with customers, then you may want to re-think someone who has a violent history. Likewise, if they are being hired for a close confines job (call center), then you may want to re-think it. On the other hand, if you discover they have a DWI and they’re not going to be driving for you on the job, then it probably doesn’t matter.

                Credit Checks – With new laws concerning the use of credit checks in hiring employees, you have to be careful with them. You can no longer deny someone a job with a bad credit history, unless they are applying for specific jobs. You can use it, however, as an additional tool in making your decision.

                If you are hiring for a job that is in security, and the post that you’re assigning them to is a high value facility, then you’d probably not hire them for that post. And if you do hire them for an assignment and then items become missing, including high value materials, then you may want to check again.

                Educational – If the job you’re hiring for requires a Master’s degree and you’re paying (just an amount) $50,000 for it and someone with only a Bachelor’s lies and gets the job what does that cost you? Probably at least $10,000 plus benefits, and then there is the recruiting costs which can be in excess of $20,000.

                In this case you need to start checking the status of anyone that says they have a degree and you are hiring for a job with only those qualifications. In addition, the embarrassment of having someone else find out this info rather than you/company is not good.

                If all you require is a high school diploma then you should be okay in accepting their word in that. However, if you are looking for specific certifications and/or training, then it is advisable to ask for their certificates or check for yourself thru the institution. And that brings up the next point.

                Professional Certifications – Whether you require it or not, you may want to check on the applicants professional certifications, if they have used it for the application or in the interview.

                Many times, you may not even need these certifications for the job you’re hiring for. However, if they claim to have a nursing, real estate, teaching, or other certification it goes to their credibility if they actually have it. If they tout it and it has been suspended or revoked, you may want to think twice about hiring them.

                There are many different certifications around in the world. Some of them hold real meaning, and some don’t. It is up to your HR department to determine whether or not you need a certain/specific certification. And I can’t emphasize this enough – check with the certifying authority to see if they have issued one to that person.

 

                Motor Vehicle – This is an area that should also be checked, but only for a few employees. And then only if necessary. If you have an employee who will be utilizing a company vehicle, or even their own, on the job, then it does need to be checked.

                The reasoning for this should be apparent, however if you don’t understand let me explain it this way; If you hire a security patrol officer and they’ll be driving your patrol truck, what would happen if they get into an accident? Then what happens if it comes to light they didn’t have a license (legitimately) or had had several accidents in the past because of recklessness, speeding, DWI, or whatever? Who may lose their business over this? Certainly not the ‘guard’.

                Social Security Number – In this day and age it is imperative that you verify that the person is using their social security number and not a stolen one. And there are several ways to do this as well, which it makes it all the better.

                #1 is to use a private service like you would for criminal checks. They can verify who holds the card and if the number is valid. #2 is the social security office themselves thru the ‘e-verify’ system. Ostensibly this will also help you ferret out miscreants.

                Before the day of e-verify, the social security office was horrible in actually answering those requests for this information. And despite the amount of ID theft that was occurring before 9-11, they were still weeks or months behind. They’ve gotten marginally better from what I’m told.

                Workers Compensation – Depending on your state, you may want to check this as well. While it doesn’t happen as often as it used to there is still the potential for fraud within the system.

                In many cases, an individual could get onto workers compensation in Kansas and then cross the border into Missouri or Nebraska and start working, at duties that were against their claim. In other words, they could claim a back injury and then be working at a construction site lifting heavy items. This could also leave you in for a lawsuit by the other state, the worker, or someone else.

                Other Checks to Make – These type of checks should be mainly for verification purposes. Thru an agency or your checking you can verify their phone, address, name, and so on.

                With the huge impact that social media has on us today, it may be an idea to check on their Facebook, Linked-In, My Space, Pintrest, and other places they may have a profile. I’m not saying to be a spy and covertly find out information. But you may want to check and see what they’ve said about past employers, co-workers, duties, & etc.

                A great friend of mine wrote a blog post on cell phones a few weeks ago and would be a great place to go to find any open source intelligence on an applicant. Michelle Stewart of JAG Investigations in Gilbert, AZ would be great. Her number, if you missed the blog, is480-988-2580.

          Lastly you’ll want to check on their psychological and drug profiles. I would always use a test to check their psychological profile and then obviously test them for illicit drugs as well.

          These tests will never be 100% effective, but you can help to weed out some undesirables in your applicant process. The drug tests can indicate health issues that they didn’t know they had.

          I had an applicant way back in the Stone Age (1996) who drug tested for the national security company I worked. We conducted our own initial testing and then if necessary sent them out for additional testing. This poor kid had a bad Urinary Tract Infection and didn’t know it. We saved him a trip to the ER by telling him something was wrong. He also tested positive for mary jane so we didn’t hire him.

          As for the psychological testing you can do it in several ways. You can have an actual psychologist talk to them for a while or you can do it the cheap way. Have them take a pen and paper test. Something along the lines of the MMPI. These are not fail safe, but will provide you with good info. But a word of caution. Years ago, I was going to work for Pinkerton. I had to take one of these tests. I scored so high on the test they wouldn’t hire me because they thought somehow I had cheated on it. After you’ve taken so many of these things, you learn how to manipulate the results and score high. The HR person said no one had ever scored higher than 97%. I scored 98%.

          No matter what job you’re hiring for, no matter the industry, no matter the skill level required you have to conduct background checks on the people you want to hire. Of this there can be NO debate! With the problems in our society of illegal immigration/ID theft, terrorism, fraud, violence, and other myriad of ills we have to know, as best as we can, who we hire and work with.

          Questions, comments, suggestions, consulting?  

What is Good Grooming

September 4, 2012

What is Good Grooming

By: Mindy Mitzner

 

                What is good grooming? One might think it means that the clothes you wear should be clean; others might think it means taking a daily shower and keeping your personal appearance at its best. Both would be right, partially.

Being well groomed is an important part of people’s first impressions of you.  When you work in a position that puts you in the public eye, in the business world, the client’s eye it is imperative that you get this grooming thing down.

Let’s just start at the beginning and we can end with a fully dressed and presentable employee or in my industry a fully dressed and ready to work security officer.  The first and most basic of all grooming habits is a daily shower with soap. Yes, I know I shouldn’t have to mention the soap but, I can assure you, after 25 plus years, I do. It is also important to make sure you brush your teeth.  Let’s be very clear here, YOU MUST BRUSH YOUR TEETH! When you speak to people or smile at people they will notice your teeth. I know that not everyone has great teeth but, they can have clean teeth. There is nothing more disgusting than speaking with someone who has green and brown fur growing from their teeth. This immediately gives people the impression you don’t care about yourself, therefore how could you possibly care about them? After you have showered, shampooed, and brushed your teeth you will need to apply deodorant with an antiperspirant. This will aide in keeping your arm pits dry and smelling good and could also cut down on those unsightly “pit stains” people see when you lift your arms. Let’s not forget that we need to comb or brush the hair we just finished washing.  It should be kept neat.  For men in the security industry I recommend a short above the ears and shoulders style and for the women of the security industry, if your hair is long pull it up or if you are rocking a fashionable short style, make sure it’s brushed and styled accordingly. This isn’t a fashion contest; it’s a professional industry that needs professionals of both genders to represent it well. 

Now let’s talk about how your clothing or uniform should look.  Men and women in uniform should wear clean clothing free from food stains, wrinkles, and unknown stains.  The buttons should line up with the button on your trousers and you should be wearing a belt. Your shirt should be tucked in and your pants should fit properly.  This means that loose fitting trousers that sag below your belt line are too big and you should look for a smaller size.  If you are required to wear a belt, you should be able to see it between your shirt and trousers. This creates a nice looking line. Most security personal should wear black shoes that are comfortable for walking and running when necessary.  A good majority of your duties will consist of ample time on your feet and you don’t want to end each day with your feet hurting.

We have covered the basics but you may wonder why grooming is so important. I can tell you that as a security officer you are going to be dealing with many people of many different backgrounds throughout your day. You want each one of them to feel safe and confident in coming to you when an issue arises.  If you look like the transient on the street you may cause people concern. They may wonder if you will be able to help them or they may just be afraid to approach you.  I know that it isn’t politically correct to stereo type the people we come across, but the sad fact is we do, everyone does.  Dirty, unshaven, and poorly dressed people are often typed as dumb, poor, and potentially criminal.  Now as a security officer under these stereo types, would you feel comfortable approaching yourself? NO, you wouldn’t.  Your employer and the client’s they do business with are counting on you to make a Great first impression of yourself, your company, and the company you are posted.  When you are able to do this you are contributing to the overall success of everyone involved.  I have to mention, as well, that when in security customer service is so important and a clean, shaven, well dressed officer looks smart and exudes confidence. People will feel safer in approaching you and they will assume you are going to have the answers/direction they are looking for.

One final and important note; while reading this blog or a policy in your company’s handbook hearing about personal hygiene and good grooming is easy.  What you will find isn’t easy is when you have to be called in for this talk because your employer has had reports that you don’t smell good, or you come to work disheveled. This is when the subject becomes personal and can feel like an assault on you as a person.  I will be the first to tell you this isn’t fun for the person that has to have this conversation with you either. No one wants to have to tell someone that they are failing in the most basic of personal care. So for your sake and that of those you represent, Please take the time to care for yourself. Always show up ready to shine. I hope everyone has a lovely and clean day.

 

Mindy Mitzner is the Scheduling Coordinator/Employee Relations Manager for a contract security provider in the Kansas City Metro area. She has worked in the

security field for 15 years. Her functions have included managing the office, scheduling, HR & Payroll, to training and development for operations. She

also has 10+ years in  management and marketing experience in the convenience store industry. This is her 2nd blog for me. She can still be reached at 913-927-6890