31 January 2018

Social Media Screening Is The Hottest Hiring Trend - But How Do You Screen Appropriately?

Upwards of 81 percent of the United States population owns and operates at least one social media account. Nearly three of every ten Americans report logging onto social media profiles multiple times per day. 
Even without considering these statistics, the widespread popularity of Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Youtube, and other social platforms is likely already apparent to you. 

While most social media users are individuals, many businesses also maintain social presences. Such accounts are most frequently used to market products, services, and other offerings. However, another utilization is rapidly becoming more popular here in the United States, and across planet Earth - social media screening.

The Benefits Of Social Media Screening For Employers

Traditional background checks have been relied upon by businesses for decades, as well as checking up with applicants' previous employers and other references. However, those references could be applicants' friends or family members, simply acting as other people to help their loved ones land positions in the workplace.

Further, background checks are expensive, and rarely offer insights into the personalities or attitudes of applicants. 

Social media screening, on the other hand, is a go-to in modern applicant screening, as doing so is free, provides meaningful insights into applicants' personal and business lives, and helps employers discover who applicants associate with. It's cheap, readily available, and often provides more information than contacting references and soliciting background checks.

While the benefits of social media screening are well-established, not every employer knows the most effective, efficient, lawful, and appropriate means of conducting such background checks. 

Hiring Discrimination Risks Are Real

The United States government sets forth several protected characteristics that employers aren't allowed to base hiring decisions off of, including gender, race, and sexual orientation.

On traditional job applications, employers aren't provided with any information regarding these protected characteristics. When employers look to social media, however, it's possible to see their race, sexual orientation, gender, religion, and other characteristics that hiring decisions legally can't be made off of. 

As such, it's important for your business to segregate executive decisions regarding who gets hired from browsing through applicants' pages on social media. You can either do this by delegating the latter responsibilities to employees other than yourself, or hire an outside organization like Fama, a social media screening servicer, to browse through applicants' pages for you.

Don't Look At Applicants' Social Profiles Until As Late As Possible

After interviews have been conducted, it's time to look at applicants' social media profiles. Never look to these accounts before extending interviews, as applicants that don't get hired could argue that interviews weren't extended because of protected characteristics on their pages, like race or religion.

As such, it's considered most safe to look at social media pages as late as possible in the hiring process. Although social platforms can provide valuable insights into applicants' behaviors and attitudes, virtually every employer would rather be safe than sorry, as the saying goes.

Document Everything 

If you find negative marks on applicants' pages, make sure to take note of them. It's always best to screenshot them, as applicants could make their pages private, remove posts, or edit them. 

Make sure that whoever is responsible for such screening duties knows to thoroughly document everything about information they uncover on applicants' pages.

*Collaborative post 

The Most Important Parts Of Interior Design Aren't What You Think!

Home Sweet Home, At Home, Doorstop, Home, Fabric, Red

When it comes to interior design, everyone has their own priorities, and that's great! After all, if we all looked at interior design in the exact same way then all of our homes would look identical, and it would be pretty boring. (Not to mention kind of creepy!) However, a lot of people make the mistake of focusing on the surface elements of the design of their homes rather than thinking about the fundamentals. The reality is that the most important aspects of interior design might not be what you think. With that in mind, here are some fundamental aspects of interior design that you might not be thinking about.


Light may well be the single most fundamental and important aspect of all interior design. If you're not aware of how you're using light in every room, then everything beyond that is going to suffer. You need to think not only about how much light is getting into a room but what kind of light as well. Most rooms benefit from natural light and companies like Visual can help you achieve that through large glass doors and windows, and even entire conservatories. But you also need to think about spaces like your bedroom where you might want the light to be a little more intimate and cosy.


Flow is one of those things that's incredibly important in all interior design, but it's not something that you hear talked about that often. The truth is that without flow, your home just isn't ever going to feel right. Do you ever walk into someone's home and you just can't quite feel comfortable no matter what you do? There's a good chance that that comes down to a lack of flow from room to room. Think about the way people are going to move around your home and try to make sure that you're not blocking walkways or creating spaces that feel cramped or closed in.


If your entire home looks the same, then it's never going to be interesting. There's a strange trend going around of people decorating their homes with purely white walls everywhere. Now, this is fine if you plan on then adding detail on top of it, but why not think about using colour as a way to create contrast between rooms. With something bright for the kitchen, something soft and soothing for the bathroom, and something rich to create a luxurious atmosphere in your bedroom. There's nothing wrong experimenting with how things work but brushing up on some colour theory might not go amiss.

Of course, these are mostly just the starting points for any interior design project. The details of how these things are going to fit together and what kind of stuff you use on top of them should always be entirely up to you. Don't spend too much time worrying about getting things right or wrong. If you've got the fundamentals down, then the most important thing is that you're able to put as much of yourself and your personality int the design of your home as possible!

*Collaborative post

25 January 2018

How do our eating habits differ by region?*

It is safe to say that Britain is a nation of foodies.  66% of UK adults describe themselves as passionate about food and drink with  50% saying that they are passionate about home cooking.
Us Brits spend a small fortune on food – a combination of takeaways and restaurants or luxury food from the supermarkets. On restaurant bills alone, the average Brit spends about £44 per week. But what does our money get spent on? Designers of bespoke kitchens in Sussex, Harvey Jones, have taken  a look at the UK’s eating habits by region.

Takeaway lovers

According to a survey by Payment Sense, the average Brit spends around £9.75 on eating out or takeaways for themselves at least once a month. Annually, this works out at £117 per person.  Only once a month isn't that bad though is it?
Although Bristol is named as the Takeaway Capital of the UK with approximately 279 takeaway restaurants, it is Leeds that appears to be the greatest lover of the takeaways. with 77% of Leeds folk admitting to having at least one takeaway a month.
This love of ordering-in isn’t reflected across the whole Yorkshire region however. Just 25 miles away, only 25% of people in York regularly dine on takeaways.
The Chinese cuisine is a favourite across the whole country. Only 3 out of the 30 cities questioned didn’t crown Chinese as their favourite takeaway – and of all individual respondents asked, 35% voted Chinese as their favourite.
Indian comes a close second with 24% of the votes – and Indian stole the crown as the number one favourite in Aberystwyth, Coventry and Wolverhampton.

Eating out

Although I suspect this figure comes more from the larger cities, apparently the average Brit can spend around £288,000 in their lifetime eating out at restaurants.   I find this figure hard to believe.
Whilst Millennials are expected to eat out more than any other demographic, the average Brit now eats out twice a week with pub grub stealing the title as their favourite option. 18-29 year olds spend double the amount of other demographics on eating out – with an average spend of £88 per week; possible perhaps if you include drinks!
London is the city of eating out according to The Chronicle, with the capital consuming the most Indian, Chinese, Thai, fish and chips and pizza meals at restaurants than any other city. 
Birmingham is also known as the Curry Capital with 43% of residents claiming curry restaurants are their favourite, and 34% of Londoners seem to agree. Glasgow prefers authentic Spanish tapas (14%), while 14% of Edinburgh folk love Sushi.
Pub grub is one of the most popular choices in the UK – and Liverpudlians couldn’t agree more; 49% would choose traditional pub food.

Home cooking

With busy work schedules and family life, dinner time at home has become far less formal and structured than in previous decades. Sitting down around the table for dinner every night has become an impracticable practice. In 2017, just over 20% of British families said they sat down to dinner together once or twice a week, and one in five have their ‘family meals’ whilst sitting in front of the television. 
According to Statista, 64% of people enjoy cooking, whilst 55% describe cooking as something they have to do but don’t. There has also been a 10% increase in the number of people preparing meals from scratch at least once a week from 2005. But which regions are most likely to cook homecooked meals?
Judging by how much London, the South West and Northern Ireland eat out, we can assume that they are the regions that are least likely to stay home and cook meals. However, Scotland, Wales, the North West and North East were the regions that appeared to eat out the least, leading us to the assumption that they are more likely to stay home and prepare home-cooked meals more often.
The kitchen, for many, has become the heart of the home meaning we now tend to spend more time there. Now that open-plan living is on the rise, cooking a meal doesn’t have to be a lonely task; you can prepare a family meal in your kitchen whilst spending time with the family. Or entertaining friends.

*Collaborative piece

17 January 2018

How To Do The Grand Prix In Style

I absolutely love Formula One.  I am fairly new to the sport, only starting to watch at the beginning of Jenson Button's winning year.  I was hooked (and totally gutted when he retired last year).

I have yet to get to a track to see a race myself, but have always fancied going to see a race abroad as you can combine a holiday with seeing the Grand Prix.

Next year I turn 40.  I want to do something special to celebrate my birthday and not being the birthday party type, what I have decided to do is combine my love of F1 and a holiday to a far flung destination.  

As I am turning 40, my holiday will be luxury all inclusive all the way, combined with going to one of my favourite tracks; but which one?


Singapore is an island city state off the shores of southern Malaysia.  But don't think that a city state island make you think that there is nothing to do.  Apart from the Grand Prix weekend, there is lots to do.

Think an island city can't be green?  Try going to Gardens by the Bay which covers nearly 250 acres.  Check out the amazing picture above.

Want the city break experience?  Check out Marina Bay which has everything from science museums to bars, restaurants and casinos.

Abu Dhabi

If you want to really make Abu Dhabi a Formula One experience, you can visit Ferrari World which boasts the world's fastest rollercoaster.   You can't visit Abu Dhabi however without seeing the breathtaking Emirates Palace.

For something a little different, why not visit the Abu Dhabi Falcon hospital where people from all over the country send their beloved animals.  There is a museum and a free flight aviary whilst at the same time providing essential care to the falcons.


One word.  Tequila.  Only kidding, there is so much that you can do in Mexico which is still near the track.  The nightlife in Mexico City is amazing but for some cultural visits, you can visit the Chapultepec Castle which has fantastic views of Mexico City and also houses the National Museum of History.

For an essential day trip out of the city, 2 hours drive away you can visit the Pyramid of the Sun which is estimated to have been built in approximately 200 CE.

So what do you think of my options?  I really cannot decide.

11 January 2018

Improving Fitness

Hi everyone!  Happy New Years, holidays and all that.  I hope that everyone enjoyed their holiday break, caught up with loved ones and didn't have too bad a hangover on New Years day!!

This is the time of year where everyone talks about the New Years resolutions that they made.  Dry January.  Quitting smoking.  Joining a gym.  Be a new, better, you (what even is that??).  For me, I don't do New Years resolutions.  There is nothing less of an incentive than creating one in my opinion and you just feel guilty when you inevitably break them.

Everything comes at its correct time and you will do things when you are meant to, when you are ready, not when some silly tradition tells you too.

What I tend to do is assess any goals that I want to achieve and put them into action in my own time.  For example, I want to quit smoking (again) but post Christmas is not the right time.  I need to be in the right mode and mind frame.  So I have ordered the book that worked for me last time (Allen Carr's How To Quit Smoking) and post birthday in March will be the time.

One thing that I have improved upon in the last year and want to continue with this year is upping my fitness levels.  This little teddy bear who we got last year has definately improved that.  Walking him up and down the hill where we live, going up and down the hallway playing with his toys over the past year has resulted in a 2 stone loss so far.

I want to continue this and expand my levels of fitness as I can really feel a difference.  Going back up that hill at home is definately much easier than it used to be.  With that in mind, I tried to think of something else that I could do to raise my fitness that would also be something I would enjoy.

The answer I came to was swimming.  Swimming is a great all round exercise for your body and I love to be in the pool.  I have already bought myself some speedo swimwear.  The only issue I have is that unlike the pool in my monthly day spa, the swimming pool has chlorine in it which my eyes really don't like.  So what is the answer to my dilemma?  Some swimming goggles.

Turns out after some investigation that, as you can see, goggles are no longer the huge, ugly looking monstrosities that your school used to make you wear when you went to the local pool.  

If I am going to start something I always ensure that I have the right equipment so that I cannot later say "Oh I didn't do it because I didn't have x, y and z".  I have always loved swimming and after my research, I have found several local places where I can go, with times specifically allocated to those who wants to swim lengths and more importantly, sectioned for those wanting a fast lane and for fitness beginners (me!).

So what about you?  What fitness activities do you enjoy?  Tell me!

*Collaborative post