Corra Daily Planet » 2006 » December

Jobs Growth Makes For Fewer Candidates

Thu, December 28th, 2006 - 11:05 am - By Gordon Basichis

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We found this article on
Job Growth Rises

Nonfarm payrolls increased by 132,000 in November, a faster pace than the previous month, the Labor Department reported on Friday.

While job growth continued in the service sector, led by professional and business services, food, and health care, there were fewer jobs in construction and manufacturing, the report said.The unemployment rate remained steady at 4.5 percent, up slightly from 4.4 percent in October, the report said.

Corra thinks the good news is there is job growth, signs of productive economy. The bad news, of course, is as all hiring services clamor for the quality candidates, the pickings will be slimmer.

In any event, don’t ever be in such a rush to hire someone that you overlook a background check. Since Corra conducts preemployment screening we get to see all the bad news, and get to hear our clients tell us how grateful they are that they run the criminal check, the credit check and with with increasing frequency as a supplement to the county criminal check, they also run the nationwide criminal check that also includes felons on the sexual offenders registry.

So take your time, and be thorough. Make sure your candidate is who he says he is. As Corra reminds you: check them out before you hire.


Sun, December 24th, 2006 - 10:51 am - By Gordon Basichis

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If You Are a Single Parent, Especially, Be Careful Who You Let Into Your House This Holiday Season

Christmas is the time of year when we like to spend our time with our children, friends and family. At least, that is how the story goes, and for the most part it is pretty true. We forget last year’s tribulations, the traffic jams and crowded stores. We fill our cars with ever-precious gasoline and our spirits with holiday cheer, and then we head off to the mall. We do a little shopping, trying to avoid the crazies who in increasing frequency are ready to do physical battle over the fad gift of the moment.

We stand in line for what seems like forever, juggling shopping bags and restive children, waiting our chance for a few minute conference with none other than the Big Guy from the North Pole, Santa Claus. There he sits on his gilded throne, amid all the blinking lights and Christmas décor. He is assisted by his helpers, who less often these days are midgets or dwarves, posing as elves. Midgets and dwarves allegedly scare the kiddies. The scene is fully nostalgic, resplendent with your own childhood memories. Your children are so anxious to sit and tell Santa what they want for Christmas, they can barely stand it. And here, amid the fake snow and the holiday festivities, it never occurs to you that Santa Claus may be a pervert.

That’s right. Despite all good intentions, your favorite mall may have mistakenly hired a child molester, whose recent residential address may have been the state penitentiary and not the North Pole. And you think you should be concerned about your child’s fear of midgets and dwarves. The truth is, that very lap where you place your child to declare his holiday wishes may actually belong to a pedophile.

To support this claim, CBS News recently had one of its staff impersonate a convicted felon and child molester. The staff member applied in five Los Angeles malls, under the name of the actual felon. The felon was a man who was registered along with 63,000 sickos on what is commonly known as “Meagan’s List.” He was hardly a well-kept secret. And yet all five shopping malls hired the man to be their Santa Claus. Later, when confronted with the issue, one man claimed to have run a free pre-employment background check that is generally good for nothing. The others mumbled lame excuses that, when translated logically, meant they probably had not run any kind of pre-employment background check.

In other malls throughout the country, those responsible do conduct pre-employment background checks, along with drug testing. The good news is, employers like Santa Plus, of Fallon, Missouri, which screens the 500 Santas it places in 250 malls, in 46 states, do conduct background checks. However, by some accounts, 70 out of every 1000 applicants for the Santa or Santa’s helper jobs have a felony record of some sort. That is approximately seven percent of those screened. They may also be applying to the malls and services that don’t do any background checking. They may be like the staff member of CBS, who, while posing as a child molester, got hired anyway. At five different malls. In the case of CBS, their guy was an imposter, helping to work a feature story. In the other cases, they are the real thing.

I know this is terrible. But if it ended there, we could almost be grateful. . Perhaps the larger question is, who are what are you having over for the holidays? Are you not doing the same thing as the shopping malls when you are thinking of dating someone without first checking him out? I know, your new Mr. Possible seems perfectly lovely on the Internet, and he is charming on the telephone. It is the holiday season. You feel lonely. It would be nice to share the holidays with someone who shows the potential for romance. But a confidence man, a criminal, or a pedophile, has had lots of practice at disarming his pray. Winning you over is what his life is all about. Getting to your wallet; getting to your children. They are good at it.

This is not to suggest you investigate old Uncle Fred, although it’s not always a bad idea. It is to suggest, however, that if you are a single woman, especially a single parent, and you are using the singles and online dating sites, you had best run an online dating background check on your potential paramours. Not only does an online singles background check help protect you from theft of goods, confidence scams, identity theft and your own risk of physical harm, but most importantly, it helps protect your children from the kind of strangers they should never meet.

At Corra Group, where we specialize in servicing professional women with their online dating background checks, we have a special saying—Check Him Out Before You Date Him. If you have children, we can’t urge it enough.

Corra ran this article last year. We thought it is important enough to run it again this holiday season. n fact, it may become a tradition to remind families and especially single parents what may be lurking out there. As the world changes, we hear horror stories about child abductions and molestations with alarming frequency. What was once terribly shocking, unfortunately has become a knowing routine.

We urge you to run background checks on any stranger who has proximity to your children. Be it your new nanny, a housekeeper, your new romantic prospect, it is always important to run a criminal background check and to review his or her name on the sexual offenders’ registry. There are a variety of criminal background checks, but the Nationwide Criminal Check not only reports back crimes in most states, but reports back those listed on the sexual registry in all fifty states.

There are no guarantees for the safety of you or your children. But there are ways to help prevent you from becoming a victim of one of the many predators lurking our society. So please listen to Corra and check them out. It will give you peace of mind.

Securing Your Business Network From Within and Without

Wed, December 20th, 2006 - 12:13 pm - By Gordon Basichis

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We found this alarming article on Information Week.

Hackers Will Join Forces With The Mob In 2007, Security Firm Warns

Cybercriminals are expected to become much more organized and connected in the new year, driving zero-day attacks and upping the ante for online crime, according to a new report.

The mob is expected to band together more closely with hackers in 2007 to form a more organized cybercrime community, according to a new report.The beefed-up online crime cooperative will buy, sell, and trade ready-made cyberattack toolkits and exploits using zero-day vulnerabilities, predict analysts at Websense, a Web security company. They also expect Web 2.0 security issues to escalate in the coming year.

“Organized criminals are realizing that the Internet has been a largely untapped resource in terms of generating real profit, until now,” said Dan Hubbard, VP of security research at Websense, in a written statement. “With financial gain on the table, attack methods are improving, and the number of people involved is escalating. Tools and exploits to steal personal, business, and financial information are the hottest commodities for cyber criminals.”

In 2006, cybercrime and the evolution of new cybercriminals were on the rise. Websense predicts that this trend will only increase in the new year, as hackers and organized crime increasingly work together, become more organized, and target their attacks. Because of this, the market for zero-day attack code will become more competitive, and it will drive the number of zero-day attacks and heighten attacks on both clients and servers.

Web 2.0 sites such as MySpace and Wikipedia, which make up an estimated 80% of the top 20 most visited Web sites, are a growing phenomenon and increasingly attractive to cybercriminals. Websense analysts report that Web 2.0 sites, which include social networking sites, are particularly vulnerable to attack because of the constantly changing nature of their content, which is difficult to monitor and secure.

The large population of users and the ability to link users through profiles and networks will lead to more security issues within these communities, the security company reported in its written statement. Social networks aren’t the only targets. According to Websense, business networks are just as vulnerable.

In the face of this most important threat to your business network, Corra realizes you must take whatever measures necessary to secure your company’s Internet operations, databases and proprietary information. But are you also securing your business form within?

While many companies put up surveillance cameras and monitor employee activity on their computers, there are still some who overlook the most obvious and cost effective measure against employee theft of intellectual property. That is the preemployment screening check. The background check.

For just a few bucks you can review a candidate’s past history to best determine if you really want that person as an additional to your work force. In terms of concerns over theft of intellectual property, etc., it is usually best to not just run the criminal background check, but also the credit check and MVR Report. These three searches will often show a behavior pattern that will reveal if someone is either prone to theft of susceptible to outside influences that would either bribe or coerce him into committing crimes against your company.

Running background checks on your job candidates and in some cases your present employees is simply too important to ignore. So remember to take Corra’s advice and check them out before you hire.

Human Resource Managers Should Approach Resumes With Some Skepticism

Tue, December 19th, 2006 - 10:02 am - By Gordon Basichis

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Survey: Job Seekers are Stretching the Truth

By Rosemary Haefner, Vice President of Human Resources,

There’s marketing yourself on your résumé, and then there’s flat-out lying. Many job seekers are crossing the line.Although just 5 percent of workers actually admit to fibbing on their résumés, 57 percent of hiring managers say they have caught a lie on a candidate’s application, according to a survey. Of the hiring managers who caught a lie, 93 percent didn’t hire the candidate.

When résumé inconsistencies do surface during background checks, they raise concerns about the candidates’ overall ethics. Forty-three percent of hiring managers say they would automatically dismiss a candidate who fibbed on their résumé. The rest say it depends on the candidate and situation.

Stretched dates to cover up employment gaps is the most commonly-caught résumé lie, with nearly one-in-five hiring managers saying they have noticed this on a candidate’s application. Other top résumé lies include:

Reasons for lying range from the innocuous (not being sure of the exact employment dates) to the more sinister (intentionally being deceitful to get the job). To ensure your résumé is accurate but still portrays you in the best light, heed these tips:

If you don’t have much formal experience… Highlight any activities or coursework that could be relevant to the position. Volunteer activities, part-time jobs and class projects can all provide transferable skills and training.

If you didn’t quite finish your degree… Do not indicate on your résumé that you graduated. Instead, name the university and list the years in which you attended.

If you were out of work… Don’t stretch the employment dates to cover the gap. Instead, keep the dates accurate and address the gap in your cover letter. Be sure to mention any classes you took or volunteer work you performed during this time to keep your skills up-to-date.

  • Past employers (18 percent)
  • Academic degrees and institutions (16 percent)
  • Technical skills and certifications (15 percent)
  • Accomplishments (8 percent)
  • Rosemary Haefner is the Vice President of Human Resources for She is an expert in recruitment trends and tactics, job seeker behavior, workplace issues, employee attitudes and HR initiatives.

    Corra as a background checking service is aware of many “embellishments,” from the decidedly mundane to the remarkably original. Sometimes we even have to give credit for creativity and imagination in making routine work like extra special.

    But for the most part, in today’s world, anyone who messes with the facts probably will get caught. And most employers, quite wisely, have a policy where they figure if you are lying on your resume, at the beginning of your relationship, then you are probably going to lie further up the road.

    As for you HR Managers, you already know the best way to sniff out a bogus or exaggerated resume is by crunching the facts. We always recommend a criminal background check. But for management, executive and the more responsible jobs, especially, Corra recommends education verification, employment verification and even DMV/MVR records searches, since they tend to reveal much about a character.

    Many Human Resources personnel will be interviewing, if not now, then at the beginning of the year. Don’t be afraid to take the extra time to do the research. As Corra always says, “Check them out before you hire.”

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