Self Organizing Networks drives down Mobile HetNet cost

Self Organizing Networks drives down Mobile HetNet cost

Self Organizing Networks drive down Mobile HetNet Cost

As technology continues to advance, Self organizing networks drive down mobile Hetnets cost.  Known as SON, it has promise for the large cellular carriers that run LTE but additionally for smaller networks running on Wi-Fi and femtocells.  The goal of all carriers is to lower their overall operating costs and increase cost effectiveness.  Should SON use HetNet (heterogeneous networks), there are some advantages and disadvantages.  This article will look at each side.

Self Organizing Networks Advantages

The innate autonomous SON can function without users.  This means base stations and access points are configured and optimized automatically.  Macrocells still require technical interface, but the advent of self organizing networks within combination of small-cell technology meant a powerful shift in resource management – there was no reason to send a technician to each new small cell in a selected market area.

Ultimately, and the technology is still in its infancy if not even created, is to have the Self organizing networks implemented in the RAN.  The autonomous nature of SON means no human intervention for organizing and optimizing.  All a carrier would need is to create the cell site.

The SON would handle all the RF frequencies and their channels, determine power levels, lists of neighboring elements and the other necessary configurations which historically required input.

In a sample case: a cell site within a SON-capable network goes down in an act of nature or accident.  The sites around the downed cell immediately and automatically organize themselves to provide coverage for the affected area.

This gives carriers time to make logistical decisions or wait until normal working hours to dispatch technician for repairs.

Clearly, the self-operating and repairing functions of the self organizing network have clear profitability for carriers.  This includes the larger service carriers and smaller ones who depend on communication besides LTE.

Self organizing Network Disadvantages

While the innate abilities of the self organizing networks to make the necessary reconfigurations to neighboring cells, the surrounding network within the down cell’s immediate area may prove difficult because of the SON’s sensing abilities.  There are two potential scenarios: a SON-capable base station passively finds and configures, or the information can come from queries around neighboring stations.

self organizing networks for HetNet

Here is the fundamental issue.  Base stations are uplink only; they receive transmissions from the carriers to the network, but stations additionally must be able to receive downlink signals for levels and neighboring parameters.  This means SON-capable stations must be frequency-agile for both links.  Receivers, set only for dedicated downlink and time-division-duplexed, TDD, systems, mean a SON-capable station will require time when it can receive downlink transmissions, a situation that can lead to unintended additional downtime during the process.

The disadvantages are not as harsh as they may seem.  So long as the SON is a part of a HETNET, the cost can be kept to a minimal amount.  Here is how.

The HETNET is a web of base stations and wireless, up to and including macro stations, small cells, the preferred element of SON, and Wi-Fi.  The largest cellular carriers use HETNET in large, metropolitan areas (think New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, etc.) because of the user saturation macro base stations are grossly ineffective.

However, the needs of the many mean all markets, even smaller, rural ones, will eventually have a need for HETNET.  This means all the intricacies become of critical need for carriers in all markets and networks.

This is where self organizing networks is so important.  It is one technology that will meld the small and macrocells while providing a superior user experience for the carriers and their customers.  Expect the SON to evolve dramatically in the coming years.

Some major U.S. carriers have plans to expand from 100,000 active sites to over 500,000.  This massive growth will require SON with the HETNET.

Initial upfront costs are a concern for some smaller carriers, but the long-term savings on technicians more than offsets the initial investment.  It should go without saying the profit margins will take a dip on the front end but will rapidly recover as self organizing networks saturation increases.  Success will depend on all the previous factors and full implementation with proper logistical planning.

Based on this, what is your opinion?  Is the potential upfront cost and dip in profits advantageous in the overall scope of the business or is the on-call skilled technician a safer and more dependable alternative?  Certain factors certainly must be considered on both, but exactly what are those factors outside of forces of nature?  Feel free to provide your personal thoughts on this.

Need an experienced executive search consultant?

Call Charles Moore of nextGen – the original wireless recruiter.  with almost 30 years of experience in cellular technology beginning with analog phones through PCS auctions, 2G to 4G, IoT , 5G and beyond, Charles’ team has recruited hundreds of wireless professionals ranging from CEO to Principal in sales, business  development, RF engineering, RFIC, and cyber wireless for MNOs, infrastructure manufacturers, DAS and iBS developers, RFIC and embedded wireless   Click the image below and contact Charles today.

 

Customer Loyalty – Improving it with Engagement and Support

Customer Loyalty – Improving it with Engagement and Support

Customer Loyalty – Improving it with Engagement and Support

Customer Loyalty Statistics

  • For every customer complaint, there are 26 other customers who have remained silent. 9 out of 10 unsatisfied customers would not willingly do business with your organization again.

~ Source: Lee Resource Inc.

  • 19 out of 20 satisfied customers who get their issue resolved will return and tell on average 5 people about their experience.

~ Source: White House Office of Consumer Affairs, Washington, DC

Whether you are a CEO, an Account Exec, or an independent consultant and whether your business is pizza, financial services, earthmovers, or volunteer services, you want to avoid the first two above. On the positive side, you hope your business falls into the category of the third bullet where you can grow & improve your customer loyalty.

What these three key business stats have in common is that they measure customer behavior, specifically the behavior of returning – whether it is to buy again or just give you feedback. Returning customers are loyal customers, people who have an emotional and relational investment in you because of how they have been treated, whether they are individual buyers or they represent their companies.

Think of your customer.

  • Do you serve an “external” customer, one who purchases your company’s products and services? Then, you might be in Sales, Account Management, Customer Service, or Field Service.
  • Or do you serve an “internal” customer, one who (by choice or not) receives your work product or service. In this scenario, you might never interact with an external customer, but you still have an impact on the eventual result.
  •  You might be in HR, Talent Acquisition, IT, Engineering, Logistics, Office Management or a similar internal function.

 

What Is Customer Loyalty and Why Is It So Important?

Whoever your customers are, are they delighted with you?

Are they so thrilled with your products and services, that they will do business with you when your prices are a little higher than the competition?

Will they forgive you one or two small mistakes and still return?

Have your customers become your best “sales” people because they rave about their experiences with your businesses?

Will internal customers always come back to you or will they outsource your service?

And if they cannot outsource, do they rate your services as a loyal, returning customer would?

Loyal internal customers will help you improve because they are relational and maybe fiscally invested in you and your operation. All business organizations hope their customers keep coming back, and loyal customers are the best foundation for a sustainable future. As a culture of customer loyalty takes hold throughout your organization:

  • Engagement improves,
  • Innovation flourishes,
  • Teamwork grows,
  • And, everyone becomes focused on how his or her results affect the eventual loyal customer.

Adopting customer loyalty as a management, company-wide objective to be continuously improved is critical to the success of business in our socially networked and increasingly competitive service environment.

Points of Connection

Your external or internal customers’ points of connection most directly impact customer loyalty. A point of connection is any interaction a customer has with one of your employees or one of your business processes. Points of connection define the customer loyalty from the inside out and determine how a customer rates the service received and ultimately how the business is referred or criticized. As the graphic explains, these 6 points of connection are applicable and important for serving both external and internal customers. Imagine for a minute you crafted a scorecard, which could be used by your team to measure customer loyalty in terms of these 6 criteria (you could customize as appropriate). On a performance scale of 1 (worst) to 5 (best), your customer can paint a picture of how he/she feels about doing business with you:

  • How are we at listening to you, discovering your plans, uncovering your needs, and staying current about your business?
  • Do you feel like you and your needs are important to me and my department or company?
  • If there are differences of opinion or misunderstandings, do we address them professionally, openly, and without delay?
  • Do you feel confident that we are being 100% honest and truthful about our proposals and solutions?
  • Do we do what we say we are going to do?
  • Do you feel everyone you deal with on our team is being authentic?

Evaluating these points of connection, and the opinions your customer expresses about them, are valid for both external and internal customers. But how many businesses evaluate the customer loyalty awareness and contributions of their internal departments?

From the Inside Out – Relational Sustainability

The business strategy of “sustainability” has been part of C-Level vocabulary for many years and it can mean different things to a CEO and his/her executive team depending on the business they are in. Manufacturing companies need to be mindful of environmental waste regulations. Companies in service industries such as insurance and finance focus on energy consumption of their buildings and the recycling efforts of their paper. Businesses of all types and size have Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives.

But how many of them have Relational Sustainability initiatives to ensure their key relationships remain strong and are long-lasting?

There may not be an official worldwide watchdog agency tracking your company’s carbon foot print and its relational sustainability in the same report, but any business which depends on loyal customers to sustain its growth, and strives to have engaged employees which treat each other as internal customers, will want to sustain its focus on the “five relational building blocks to amazing customer results” as shown below.

Consider a Customer Loyalty Relational Sustainability Workshop

This is designed to raise the level of customer loyalty focus and skills across all parts of your business:

  • Consists of 5 weekly workshop sessions, 4 hours each.
  • Is practical, interactive, and customized for your business.
  • Builds a world-class customer loyalty culture by improving internal relationships using the Points of Connection.
  • Focuses on 5 key building blocks, you, your customer(s), your relationship with your customer(s), how to best use your team to support your customer(s), and being goal and results-oriented.
  • Delivers to each attendee a detailed, individualized Customer Relationship Business Plan.

Customer Loyalty Summary

  • Returning customers are loyal customers and customer loyalty has replaced customer satisfaction as a more important key performance indicator because loyalty helps a business survive market challenges that mere satisfaction cannot do.
  • Not only do employees who serve external customers need to understand customer loyalty strategies; employees working in internal and support functions can make significant contributions to the company culture of customer loyalty.
  • An executive commitment to a company strategy of customer loyalty will improve employee engagement, innovation, and buy-in that the business is serious about investing in a sustainable future.
  • A company’s or department’s customer loyalty can be measured by its Points of Connection performance.
  • Training internal employees in the skills that improve customer relationships will improve performance in the Points of Connection. This is what is meant by improving customer loyalty from the inside out.

By the dame token any business, in our case staffing and recruitment, NextGen Executive Search believes in strengthening client relationships and customer loyalty with VC and PE firms, Board members, CXOs, senior hiring managers and candidates alike, as shown by case studies and client testimonials.

 

IoT Medical Devices Transforming Healthcare with Implants and Wearables

IoT Medical Devices Transforming Healthcare with Implants and Wearables

IoT Medical Devices Transforming  Healthcare

IoT medical devices transforming healthcare by changing every aspect of our social and professional lives as billions of pervasive devices enable the acquisition of timely and accurate information about our personal context, the data gathering transforms what doctors can do with actionable knowledge.

The healthcare sector provides an excellent example of the way in which the future billions of IoT devices will introduce disruptive transformation and new paradigms. In an era where population is aging and incidents of chronic diseases are proliferating, healthcare solution providers are increasingly looking into internet connected devices for remote monitoring of elderly and patients’ conditions.

This remote monitoring facilitates preemptive medical interventions, while at the same time increasing the patients’ independence, reducing hospitalization needs and alleviating pressures on the healthcare system.

One of the most prominent classes of IoT Medical Devices transforming healthcare today is wearable devices, which are personalized and provide rich and real-time information about an individual’s healthcare related context, such as heart rates, activity patterns, blood pressure or adherence to medication schedules.

Wearable devices play an instrumental role in monitoring patients’ diseases and recovery state, as well as adherence to prescribed practices and medication. A large number of relevant wearable devices are already available in the market such as activity trackers, smartwatches (e.g., Apple or Garmin Watches), pedometers, sleep apnea detector and smart pills (e.g., AdhereTech’s smart wireless pill bottle).

Implant IoT Medical Devices Transforming Healthcare

A less widely known class of wearable IoT medical devices transforming healthcare are implant devices, i.e. devices that are placed inside or on the surface of the human body. The concept of such devices has been around for several years prior to the rise of the IoT paradigm, as prosthetics that were destined to replace missing body parts or even to provide support to organs and tissues.

Therefore, implants were typically made from skin, bone and other body tissues, or from materials (e.g., metal, plastic or ceramic materials). While the distinguishing line between conventional IoT medical devices and wearable / implant devices can sometimes be blurred, we consider as implant medical devices those attached to the skin or placed inside the human body, instead of devices simply worn by the patient.

Impressive examples of implant devices are: (i) Brain implant devices (i.e. electrodes along with a battery empowered devices) used to manipulate the brain and alleviate chronic pain, depression or even schizophrenia; (ii) Electronic chips implanted at the back of the retina in the eye, in order to help sight restoration.

With the advent of IoT medical devices transforming healthcare, implant devices can also become connected and deliver information to cloud computing infrastructures and other applications. In this way, they can become part of the IoT infrastructure and enable the transmission of medical data from the patient to the practitioner on a regular basis. Moreover, with IoT implants patients no longer need to visit their doctor in order download data from their device or even in order to configure the operation of the implant device.

For example, by enhancing devices such as the electronic chip for vision restoration (outlined above) with a small handheld wireless power supply, one can adjust the sensitivity, contrast and frequency as needed in order to yield optimal performance of the device for different environmental settings (e.g., lighting conditions).

Risks and Challenges with IoT Medical Devices Transforming Healthcare

Despite their benefits, the adoption of implant IoT medical devices is still in its infancy. One of the main reasons is that the development and deployment of implants is associated with several challenges and risks.  In particular, implants are associated with surgical risks concerning their placement and removal processes. Although generally safe, these processes could lead to infections or even implant failures, which makes patients reluctant to adopt them. Moreover, several patients have reported allergies and reactions to the materials comprising the implant devices.

Beyond these adoption challenges, there are also IoT technological challenges associated with the need to understand and optimize the placement and operation of the device. For example, there is a need to optimize radio communications between the implanted device and the receiving devices where the information of the implant is destined.

In this respect, low power operation is very important as a result of the need to economize on power capacity, while at the same time complying with applicable laws and regulations, including security and safety regulations.

From a technology viewpoint, implant solutions have to resolve trade-offs associated with efficiency and accuracy against antenna size, power use, operating bandwidth and materials costs. Moreover, implant devices should be appropriate for various body and skin morphologies, while at the same time offering security and data protection features that render them immune to malicious parties that may attempt to compromise their operation.

The above-listed factors render the design of cost-effective implants that adhere to regulations and optimize their operation very challenging. In order to alleviate these challenges, vendors and integrators of IoT implants resort to simulation. Simulation is an ideal tool for modelling the operation of the device and understanding its communication with the body and other devices of the surrounding environment such as gateways or even other implant devices.

Furthermore, vendors are implementing services that aim at increasing the operational efficiency of the devices, such as preventive or predictive maintenance of the device, as well as remote diagnostics and software upgrades (e.g., remote patching).

The last batch of challenges concerns the important business issues with IoT medical devices transforming healthcare, especially implants, which are not confined to selling devices. Rather, it is about innovating digitally and offering a whole range of services as part of the device’s industry ecosystem. Specifically, vendors and integrators of IoT implants need to find novel ways and business models for sharing their data with healthcare services providers and other stakeholders, while at the same time creating new value chains in collaboration with other device vendors, health professionals, home care services providers and other business actors.

The evolution of IoT medical devices transforming healthcare with implants will gradually signal a shift from the offering of an optimal IoT device to the offering of a pool of optimized and personalized healthcare services that will be built by the device’s industry ecosystem. Implant IoT medical devices are here and expected to play a significant role in the on-going IoT-driven transformation of the healthcare landscape. Stay tuned!

Need help recruiting a functional leader in IoT data, devices, or networks for medical devices?  We recruit strictly “A players” in sales, business development, product marketing, software development, RF and hardware design.  Click on the link below to discover what NextGen can do and how to contact us today.

 

Network Function Virtualization – What NFV will do for Operators

Network Function Virtualization – What NFV will do for Operators

 

Network Function Virtualization is ready to take off

Network Function Virtualization blog

Network function virtualization, as Dylan would say, the times they are a changin’.  Network Function Virtualization has come to the mobile operator, and according to strategic business advisor Northstream.

It will be part of a “natural evolution of existing infrastructures” bringing greater efficiency and lower costs. But the key will be the creation of new services. “NFV in 2017 will be driven by services such as VoLTE, Carrier Cloud, Wi-Fi calling, service chaining, resource sharing and network slicing.”

Network Function Virtualization, aka NFV, was introduced to the world through a white paper that was delivered at the 2012 SDN and OpenFlow World Congress. Authors from thirteen different telecom providers contributed to the work. The paper highlighted several benefits of NFV, including reduced equipment costs, lower power consumption, faster time to market, scalability of services, and vendor interoperability.

The traditional approach to networking involved the dispatch of personnel, either to the data center or to the customer premises, to install the physical devices and cabling required to make the network services function. This sometimes involved a number of “truck rolls” until the network appliance was fully operational. But an implementation that might have taken weeks or even months through the traditional method might only take a few minutes with Network Function Virtualization.

Common appliances that can be replaced by virtualized network functions (VNFs) in the NFV architecture include routers, firewalls, switches, load balancers, and media servers. Instead of physical installs, Network Function Virtualization software can be used to simply “spin out” new services as needed. As traffic volume increases, the system may automatically create VNFs to meet the demand.

When things slow down, the infrastructure will automatically be reduced. Malfunctioning virtual devices will be detected and traffic will be rerouted through a new VNF created just for that purpose.

Replacing infrastructure is fine, but the real potential is in the expanding service portfolio of the NFV architecture. “By enabling service chaining and resource sharing,” says Northstream, “NFV allows operators to deliver network services to customers and enterprises through software instead of dedicated hardware devices. This represents a major step towards meeting the new demands of industry verticals that are just around the corner.”

Network Function Virtualization deployment is not without its challenges.

While the hardware part has become simpler – many implementations are using off-the-shelf blade servers – there are still plenty of obstacles to overcome. RCR Wireless News explores the key challenges facing ongoing SDN, NFV and cloud deployment models in an interview with Frank Yue, director of application delivery solutions at Radware.

Yue believes that the biggest issue telecom companies need to deal with is orchestration, the automatic deployment of resources in the cloud. Trying to bring things together is “still very targeted and piecemeal”. Providers seem to be in a rush to bring services to market. “Really to get orchestration and everything right,” says Yue, “you need to have all these tiny projects come together in one big cohesive unit, and I don’t think we’re there yet.”  Real time and automation are the key words, according to RCR Wireless editor Dan Meyer. For Frank Yue, the keys are agility and elasticity, terms associated with cloud computing.

Another major challenge is security. How do you maintain the privacy and integrity of your data across the cloud infrastructure? Industry standards have a bearing on security. Yue calls the situation a “big administrative mess”. Without proper standardization, particularly in multi-tenant environments, the potential for security breaches remains.

Network Function Virtualization Standards

One standards body, the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI), announced NVF Release 2 on September 27, 2016. The statement includes remarks from Telefonica’s Diego Lopez, the newly appointed Chairman of ETSI NFV ISG: “This represents another major step towards our objective of defining a comprehensive set of specifications that will facilitate the deployment of Network Function Virtualization throughout the telecommunication industry, with significant benefits being subsequently derived in many interrelated sectors.” Lopez says that the ETSI NFV Architectural Framework will form the basis for the security, reliability, and integration of NFV going forward.

How quickly will NFV revolutionize the networks of the world? That remains to be seen. It’s being looked at as a potential framework for 5G mobile deployments. Will service chaining fueled by NFV resources make large-scale network installations a simple point-and-click operation? How will Network Function Virtualization be used in the development of self-healing networks? What other innovations await us in the field of network virtualization? Get ready, because the virtualized future everyone dreamed about is well-nigh upon us.

Does your company plan to deploy NFV any time soon? What do you think about this new technology? How do you think it will affect telecom companies and their customers in the next few years? Please share your comments on Network Function Virtualization below.

Expanding NPV services for MNOs

Tier 1 and Tier 2 mobile network operators are expanding their 4G services as it is at least 5+ years before 5G networks are ready for early deployment.  ARPU, expanding data services, lowering power consumption – these are all needed to be competitive and maintain a healthy profit ratio.  If you require an expertise recruitment team to fill a key sales or engineering role or perhaps product management or a strategic leader, you can rely upon Nextgen Executive Search to not only meet, but exceed your expectations in delivering a candidate shortlist that is ideal for new hires.  Click the image below for more information on our mobile network, digital media, telecom services, and wireless connectivity recruitment and to contact us directly.

 

Comprehensive Pre-Employment Background Checks best practices

Comprehensive Pre-Employment Background Checks best practices

Comprehensive Pre-Employment Background Checks for Executive Hires

Comprehensive pre-employment background checks are an absolute necessity.  Your time is a valuable commodity. When you consider taking on a high-touch candidate destined for executive placement it is of even greater importance, as the time you spend performing comprehensive background checks may be considerable. Above all, you don’t want to lose on your investment.

Knowing what potential dangers lurk before you put a lot of effort into somebody makes good business sense. If it were a business acquisition, you would be performing the same sort of due diligence on the company you intend to purchase, so why not apply this to your human assets also?

Conducting comprehensive pre-employment background checks prior to in-person interviews is one of the surest ways to confirm that your candidate is representing themselves with verity — your brand reputation and the company’s future depends on it. When it is a leadership, management or customer-facing role, it is even more important to know exactly who is sitting on the other side of that desk. In this age of lawsuits and litigation, being armed with verified, up-to-the-minute information is your best protection.

Performing comprehensive pre-employment background checks before you hire is important. Performing a background check during the course of the recruiting process is just as crucial.

The more you know about a candidate, the better you will be able to predict their success or lack of it.

Making sure you are placing the right person in the right position is so much more than just job experience and having the appropriate demeanor: ensuring that your candidate will meet all expectations and does not present a danger to you, the on-boarding company, their brand or their staff assures a return on your investment. It also gives you a stronger platform to work from when negotiating the deal. If you are committed to presenting the best candidate for the job, having a thorough background check in place is not just an option – it is a necessity.

Most HR departments, hiring managers, and recruiters ask their candidate to supply several references.  Let’s be honest – these are peers, friends, and by and large 50% are therefore biased. Retained executive search firms like NextGen dig up and cold call references we find who are past internal customers the candidate interfaced with, vendors, external customers, and those who reported to him/her, as well as his/her former superiors.  These names we dig up are caught off guard, are honest, and really do help to provide an accurate balance of professional references in comprehensive background checks.

What should comprehensive pre-employment background checks include?

SSN trace, search and validation: This verifies your candidate’s identity. A social security number is specific to the state and city where it was obtained, and can tell you a great deal about an individual, such as their residential history. A verified SSN can also help to verify other information that the background check might reveal.

County criminal record searches: This will reveal if they have been in trouble locally.

Current and previous residences: Frequent moves can be a harbinger of trouble to come, revealing transiency or any kind of trouble in holding down a residence.

National criminal file: This is a validated result that is cross-referenced to known addresses. Care must be taken to verify this information against a known quantity, such as an individual’s SSN. There are likely thousands of William Smith’s in the world, for example.

Federal criminal record searches (last 7 years): Any federal criminal offence will appear here. Federal offences are far more serious, and include many ‘white-collar’ crimes such as fraud.

Federal civil records searches (current and previous residences): this will illuminate problems with money, handling money, securities and bad debt–very important in hiring for fiduciary positions. It will also reveal past marriages or any civil proceeding that the candidate has been involved with.

OFAC terror watch/sex offender check: It probably goes without saying, a history that includes terrorism, violent crime or a sex offence has the potential to cause a great deal of harm to your company, your customers and your workforce.

Education verification (2 highest degrees): Education verification to prove your candidate’s claims.

Employment verification (last 3 employers): Verifying past employment, positions held and more proof of claims.

Professional character references (past superiors, direct reports, internal/external customers as applicable): How your candidate interacts with others should be of great interest to you. This is the trickiest part as most HR departments lack the skills to conduct job references pertaining to those whom the candidate interfaces with. It’s not just the interactions, but the mentor and coaching capability, listening skills, ability of the candidate to sell their ideas,  examples of conflict resolution, and teamwork.

Social media reputation reports: Many people reveal their true character online in ways they never would to your face. It’s not about the kids, the cottage or the kittens, but if your candidate is a drunk or has a tendency to bad-mouth their employers or even worse – their customers – online, you’ll want to know.

PEER credit report: A PEER credit report takes an individual’s personal credit, residential and employment history into account and is a little more detailed than a standard background check. The PEER report is more a gauge of dependability than credit worthiness, and does not result in a credit inquiry for the candidate. Use for C-Suite level, VP and fiduciary roles.

‘Ban the Box’ laws might impact your comprehensive background checks process

In states or municipalities where a ‘ban-the-box’ law is in place, access to your candidate’s criminal history in comprehensive background checks could be limited until later on in the hiring process. You might think that this legislation has limited influence with regard to executive search and placement, but it still has the potential to lead you down a blind alley every once in a while. You might, for instance, spend a great deal of time on a candidate during the on-boarding process only to find that there were some legal or ethical issues that you just cannot afford to take a chance on.

The legislation itself applies to federal government job applications, some private contractors and companies operating in specific regions that have adopted the policy. While it is arguably a useful and constructive way to level the playing field, it could still impede your process when hiring mid-level to senior management.

Since the legislation can be enforced at the state, county or municipal level, it is important to find out what the laws are in your area, and understand what you can and can’t legally ask up front. Most ban-the-box laws do not prohibit an up-front comprehensive pre-employment background checks, but some do require the employer to wait until after the first interview or even later in the hiring process.

Always use a professional agency to run your comprehensive pre-employment background checks

Your HR department can check references and social media, but a verified background check ensures the information you obtain is bona-fide and that the person whose life you are looking into is actually the one you intended. Additionally, there is a lot of information that cannot be uncovered in a limited search.

Some data can only be accessed by a licensed firm that specializes in comprehensive pre-employment background checks. Such companies have the experience to get you what you need in an expedient manner, and will help to prevent you from looking at personal data that might put you in violation of state or federal law. If you are in doubt, consult your legal department first. Most states require that you obtain a written consent from the candidate prior to conducting a search. You should also expect to provide a copy of that search to the subject in addition to any related communications or recommendations.

Above all, look at a broad spectrum of information. Don’t just look at the negative, and don’t focus too closely on any one thing. The sum total of your candidate’s data should tell a story – hopefully a good one – that will help you decide how best to proceed.

How NextGen can help

If you are interested in finding out more about our executive recruitment process, or if you would like to know more about comprehensive pre-employment background checks for executive hires, call NextGen today. With more than three decades of experience, we are known for delivering top performers into our core markets and would love to talk about the kind of results we can help you achieve.