Checking Social Sites for Information on Candidates
firms become busier, many seem to be searching for easier ways to gain
information about prospective employees. Many have found that accessing online
social networking sites can provide a background check that otherwise would be
communities such as MySpace or Facebook are tremendous sources of information.
Often, that information provides a highly personal self-assessment or even
evidence of criminal behavior. Such sites with profiles, and others with blogs
or visible chat sessions, can provide background information on prospective
employees that most employees would probably otherwise conceal.
Online Information Is
posted on social networking sites or in blogs is considered public, and some of
the information placed on these public sites can be extremely revealing.
Students and others who are using online community sites seem to have an
unreasonable expectation of privacy. Many seem to misunderstand that if they
are exhibitionists on the internet, document their own bad behavior, or provide
comments that reveal too much, they will damage their reputations and their
online as part of background checks can provide important perspective on
candidates, many of whom may be more honest online than on their resumes.
According to Rosemary Haefner, vice president of CareerBuilder.com, a company
that surveyed hiring managers, firms have reported that artificial credentials are
the most common online discovery that leads to disqualification of a prospect.
Unlawful behavior discussed by the candidate seems to run a close second.
Searches May Lead to
Employment Discrimination Actions
a comment by an interviewer or an inappropriate question provides a rejected
candidate with the basis for a discrimination complaint. Most firms are very
careful to ask only those questions relevant to the job and avoid personal
questions that could be used as evidence of discriminatory conduct. Employment
screening that first looks at personal Web posts on social Web sites may
encourage inappropriate questioning. Interviewers should avoid inadvertently
including questions about comments prospects have made online.
may want to spell out policies about their use of online tools for employment
screening to avoid the risk of being accused of discrimination, but there are
no reported cases yet in which a rejected candidate has filed a discrimination
suit based on information found online. A blog or posting on a social site may
lose a person a job, but proving that it was because of their race, gender, or
age is a difficult requirement.
Services Exist to Purge
the realities of online background checks grow, some candidates are deciding
that they need to purge inappropriate behavior from their digital record, and
entrepreneurs are offering such services. In most cases these new “sanitizers”
conduct extensive online searches before a candidate applies for a job. The services
often are able to eradicate evidence of undignified behavior, immature
indiscretions, or indecorous comments from all but public records. Firms using
online background checks, however, may respond by considering an “absolutely
clean” online record of a prospective employee as suspect.
online searches part of a firm’s background check for a prospective employee is
likely to become a standard practice. Firms should look at such screening
carefully to avoid exposure to discrimination claims, allegations of
defamation, or injudicious rejection of candidates who otherwise may have
become productive and creative employees.
© 2010, Victor O. Schinnerer & Co. Inc. Statements concerning legal
matters should be understood to be general observations based solely on our
experience as risk consultants and may not be relied upon as legal advice,
which we are not authorized to provide. All such matters should be reviewed
with a qualified advisor. Victor O.
Schinnerer & Co. Inc. is managing underwriter for the Schinnerer and CNA
Professional Liability Insurance Program, commended by NSPE/PEPP since 1957.
COFPAES Holds QBS Workshop and Federal A&E Forum
The Council on the Federal
Procurement of Architectural and Engineering Services sponsored a QBS
Contracting for A/E Services workshop, where U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Chief
of Architect-Engineer Management Bruce Ware, P.E., taught a sold-out crowd of
agency and private-sector professionals. “USACE believes in quality selection,”
also held its semi-annual Federal Architecture and Engineering Forum. Speakers
included agency and congressional staff members who encouraged dialog among the
agency and private-sector audience by discussing procurement issues and asking
for feedback. Molly Wilkinson, Republican Deputy General Counsel for the Senate
Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, discussed the outlook
for acquisition policy in the 112th Congress. Geoff Bowman, staff member for
the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee's Water Resources and
Environment Subcommittee, warned of the potential difficulties stemming from
the end of earmarks.
NSPE is a
founding member of COFPAES, an organization dedicated to protecting and
promoting the use of qualifications-based selection.
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Federal Engineer of the Year Award Sponsorship Opportunities
Engineers play a vital role in national security, infrastructure
improvement, disaster recovery, new technologies, and other important areas. The
National Society of Professional Engineers will recognize the top federal
engineers at its 2011 Federal Engineer of the Year Award ceremony. This award
is the only one of its kind to solely recognize outstanding engineers employed
in the federal government.
Each year, federal
engineers from across the country are recognized. They are nominated by their
employing agency, such as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Naval
Facilities Command, U.S. Air Force, the Environmental Protection Agency, and
the Department of Energy, among others. These nominees are then judged and
ranked against each other. On February 24, 2011, leaders from both private and
public engineering sectors will recognize the agency winners, the top 10
finalists, and the individual selected to win the Federal Engineer of the Year
Award at a luncheon and ceremony at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.
This event provides a unique opportunity for organizations to interface with
hundreds of attendees, including senior engineers and agency administrators
from multiple government agencies.
Your company can
be a part of this prestigious event by becoming a sponsor. You can find more
information about the event and how to become a sponsor on the NSPE Web site athttp://www.nspe.org/InterestGroups/PEG/Resources.
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Integrated Project Delivery Sets New Team Objectives
of the more general misconceptions about integrated project delivery is the
assumption that IPD is just an expanded version of the design-build concept.
While design-build principles may be closely aligned with the fundamentals of
IPD, the latter actually pitches a larger tent; design-build simply shares
space under that tent.
industry sources point out that design-build procurement and management methods
can differentiate among projects and may or may not include the owner to
varying degrees. If design-build moves more toward a procurement process or a
project management that does not include the owner, it also begins to move away
from the fundamental principles of IPD. Conversely, when design-build is used
according to its best practices, it also aligns with the best practices of IPD.
This is where the two concepts are sometimes inadvertently considered
its 2007 report Integrated Project
Delivery—A Working Definition, the Integrated Project Delivery Task Force
released its now widely accepted statement: IPD is a project delivery approach
that integrates people, systems, business structures, and practices into a
process that collaboratively harnesses the talents and insights of all
participants to optimize project results; increase value to the owner; reduce
waste; and maximize efficiency through all phases of design, fabrication, and
IPD Task Force, an interdisciplinary group sponsored by McGraw-Hill
Construction and the American Institute of Architects/California Council, notes that within the
ideal IPD and design-build models, the owner, designers, and builders work
jointly from a project’s inception to
mutually establish the performance, budget, and schedule within the constraints
of the owner’s business model. Moreover, IPD principles can also be applied to
a variety of contractual arrangements, with project teams including members
beyond the basic triad of owner, engineer/architect, and contractor—all aimed
at a life-cycle approach toward constructed facilities.
part of its core definition, IPD is a “deeply collaborative process that uses
best available technologies, but it goes beyond merely the application of
digital tools, such as building information modeling (BIM),” the task force
report notes. Unless all parties are committed to a set of essential
principles, integrated practice will not succeed, the task force emphasizes.
These principles include mutual respect, mutual benefit, early goal definition,
enhanced communication, clearly defined standards, appropriate technology, and
some, those principles may sound reflective of the construction partnering
process. However, the AIA/California Council contends that partnering is purelyaspirational, with project
stakeholders signing a nonbinding agreement that supports joint and open
interaction. “Partnering does not, however, change the basic contract and
liability relationships, nor does it create incentives and consequences that flow
from achieving or ignoring the collaborative goals,” the council explains.
contrast, IPD is a value-driven process, where project goals are reinforced
through shared risk (appropriate liability allocation) and reward based on the
best interests of the project as a whole rather than individual performance.
too, the council says that acceptance of IPD’s essential principles does not
necessarily guarantee project success. “Although integrated projects can
proceed using various business models, some approaches are better suited to an
integrated project than others,” according to the IPD Task Force, which
represents the interests of architects, engineers, contractors, subcontractors,
owners, and attorneys.
instance, under the more traditional design-bid-build approach, key
participants cannot be identified until bids are received—too late to
meaningfully participate in developing the integrated design, resulting in a
likely failure to achieve the efficiency and performance benefits of an
integrated process, the task force points out. For this reason, progressive
design-build delivery methods have the potential to be more consistent with the
a business model is a good fit for IPD, there are eight primary sequential
phases that comprise the integrated approach, the task force reports:
(traditionally known as pre-design): the beginning of determining what is to be
(traditionally known as schematic design): where the project begins to take
(traditionally known as design development): concludes the
what-is-being-created phase of the project;
(traditionally known as construction documents): where the focus shifts from what is being created to documenting how it will be implemented;
Agency Review: use of
digital technologies such as BIM, early involvement, and validation by agencies
to shorten the final permitting process;
Buyout: complete buyout of
Construction: where the
benefits of the integrated model are realized; and
delivery of an intelligent 3-D model to the project owner.
For construction organizations
considering an IPD approach, proponents recommend business models that promote
early involvement of key participants; equitably balance risk and reward; have
compensation structures that reward best-for-project behavior or provide
incentives related to project success; clearly define responsibilities without
discouraging open communication and risk taking; and implement management and
control structures built around team decision-making.
What has been your experience
with the IPD approach? Please send any feedback or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Freese and Nichols Receives 2010 Baldrige Award
Tuesday, November 23, 2010 (Fort Worth, Texas)—U.
S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke announced today that Freese and Nichols is
a recipient of the 2010 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. Freese and
Nichols is the first engineering and architectural firm ever to receive this
award and one of seven businesses to be recognized this year. With 450
employees, the Texas
firm is one of three recognized in the small business category.
The Baldrige Award is a
prestigious national recognition that promotes excellence in organizational
performance, recognizes the achievements of U.S. organizations, and publicizes
successful performance strategies. There were 83 applications submitted for the
Baldrige Award in 2010. Applicants were evaluated in seven areas: leadership; strategic
planning; customer focus; measurement, analysis and knowledge management; workforce
focus; operations focus; and results. The evaluation process for each recipient
included about 1,000 hours of review and an onsite visit by a team of examiners
to clarify questions and verify information.
Freese and Nichols Inc. is a full-service
professional consulting firm serving municipal and county governments, river
authorities and water districts, transportation entities, the U.S.
government, higher education and the energy industry. With offices in the Austin, Corpus Christi, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, Lubbock, San Antonio, and Tyler
areas, Freese and Nichols' 450 employees provide engineering, architecture,
environmental science, planning, and program management services throughout Texas.
Named after Malcolm Baldrige, the
26th Secretary of Commerce, the Baldrige Award was established by Congress in
1987 to enhance the competitiveness and performance of U.S.
businesses. Since 1988, 87 organizations have received Baldrige Awards. The
Award is managed by the Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards
and Technology (NIST), in conjunction with the private sector.
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