Corra Daily Planet » 2009 » February

Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office Returns to Earlier Hiring Practices

Fri, February 27th, 2009 - 5:36 am - By Gordon Basichis

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Okay, maybe there is something wrong with this picture.  But according the Los Angeles Times, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department relaxed its hiring practices and started hiring Sheriff’s with drug and alcohol and financial problems, and criminal records.   This was during a push to bolster its ranks, during a ramping up phase.   During that period the LA County Sheriff’s Department nearly doubled its ranks.

Apparently, in 2006, the LA County Sheriff”s Office relaxed  its recruiting policies and started hiring people it had previously disqualified, under the old standards.    So then we had the new,  relaxed standards.  Perhaps it is in keeping with the theory that good help is  hard to find.  Or perhaps it is in keeping in the theory that everyone deserves a second chance.   Perhaps, it is more accurate to say that in the rush to hire people the Department overlooked the most common standards for hiring law enforcement personnel.

I’m sure more than a few souls in the City of the Angels found it odd that the County thought it wise to take drug and alcohol abusers and convicted criminals and give them weapons.   After all, it worked in the Old West when outlaws decided to hang up their evil ways and became lawmen.   And LA is nothing if not the Old West.  In a modern City.   In one of the most influential cities in the world.   Okay.

Even LA County Sheriff, Lee Baca, acknowledged there was “human error” in the hiring practices.     I guess it is one way of putting it when at least one hire had gang affiliations.   there are also claims that the Department was too overloaded and understaffed to follow up on information delivered through background checks.

The Sheriff’s Department under pressure from the Count Supervisors has decided to rescind this hiring practice and return to the previous standards.   A good idea, and common sense.  considering the liability factors and the potential for major calamity.    Perhaps now the preemployment screening policy will be somewhat more strident.    Otherwise, we may end up with corrupt Deputy Sheriffs with gang affiliations and allegiance to cartels and other members of organized crime.   And then we would have the same conditions we criticize so boldly in Mexico.  Now if the crime labs could only find all the evidence that has been corrupted or misplaced, we would really be on a roll.

Fingerprint Background Checks Can Be a Lengthy Process

Thu, February 26th, 2009 - 5:31 am - By Gordon Basichis

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There is a recent article posted on MSNBC.com that in 30 school districts across New York State the School Boards hired employees with criminal backgrounds.   Believe me, this is not the only state or municipality that has mistakenly hired job candidates with criminal records.

Because fingerprinted background checks take up to eight months to process,  the administrators often lose track of the status of these background checks over time.   the background checks get lost int he shuffle and, it would seem people forget to review the qualifications of recently hired employees.   In plain talk, they hire them on contingency their background checks return without blemishes, but then they forget about them.   The criminal records go undiscovered.

Some districts hire people and, frankly, take their time getting around to ordering the background searches.   Instead of ordering them promptly and waiting to hire the employment candidate, the person is hired and then when they get around to it,  the powers that be order the background search.

This is some kind of preemployment screening process.  If the accent is on preemployment screening, you would think the municipalities would employ other methods in conducting background searches.   State and county criminal records can return in as little as 24 to 72 business hours.  Database criminal searches can return in seconds.   The Nationwide Criminal Database Search, as a preliminary search, would be ideal in first vetting candidates.   If any record would show up their, the employer could then suspend the hiring process.

We realize why the fingerprinting background checking process can take so long.   fingerprints are ultimately submitted to the Department of Justice, where they are reviewed.  The results are then sent back to the employer.   However, the Department of Justice is a little busy at the moment with terrorist activities and a plethora of white collar crime, thanks to the economic downturn.   This is but to name but a few things occupying the Department of Justice at the moment, so it is understandable that there are delays.

Well it ain’t no way to run a school, and it sure is not the way to run a business.  If you want your background searches returned in a timely fashion, use qulaity background checking services like Corra Group.   And remember, check them out before you hire.

Laid Off Copywriter Starts His Own Industry Business

Wed, February 25th, 2009 - 5:02 am - By Gordon Basichis

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If nothing else, Erik Proulx is proactive.   We like that.    Erik is a former senior copywriter at Arnold, Boston, who was laid off as courtesy of the economic downturn.

According to an article in AdAge, Erik started his own business.   He first set up a blog and now is converting that blog into a destination site where advertising industry job seekers and advertising industries can hook up.   Excellent idea.     It is a match making site, or, if you will, online dating, sort of, that actually makes sense.

So far, more than a thousand readers are regulars on Proulx’s blog, Please Feed the Animals.   We can’t imagine how many readers will visit when he activates the job matching mechanism.  It should be pretty exciting, and I am sure all the media pundits will pick up on the site so that its popularity will grow.   It is one of those accidents in life, the proverbial lemons into lemonade, that may prove a remarkable success.   American business lore is fileld with stories about quirks for fate that were turned into major successes.

We certanly hope Proulx either offers background checks online or encourages employers to conduct preemployment screening of the potential candidates.  Let’s face it, not all laid off workers are created equal.   Some are very talented souls who merely fell victim to the economic melthdown.  Others were agency deadwood, and the downturn was the perfect excuse to get rid of them.   So, with that in mind, there are treasures out there, waiting to be hired, true finds, and then there are…the others.

The American ability to innovate is one of the more optimistic signals in these dire times.   More than bailouts and sell offs, it is our inherent talent for deivising new ideas and building buisnesses around them that demonstrates our true endurance and our ability to prevail.     Good luck, Erik, and may all the unemployed advertising people find on your website some gainful employment.

Check them out before you hire.

Staying Positive in the Face of Bad Business News

Tue, February 24th, 2009 - 5:04 am - By Gordon Basichis

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No matter where you go, what you watch, or what you read, it all seems to be bad news.   If you open the newspaper, go online, or turn on CNN, you are assaulted with dire assessments about the current and future state of the economy.  Tough times, and it may be getting tougher still.   Stores are closing, banks are folding, and businesses are struggling to keep their heads above water.     But Geoff Ramsey, CEO and Co-Founder of the vaunted E-Marketer has in a recent column declared that staying positive is good for business.

It may sound simple.  In fact, it may even sound simplistic, but the fact is Ramsey is correct in his assessment.   Without a positive outlook, you are weighing the odds against your survival.   With odds being tight as it is, there is no reason to tilt your advantages so that they work against you.   I was especially taken with Ramsey’s opinion that you should focus on the conditions where you actually have control.   Good point.  We can’t control the banks, the government, or the economic collapse of Iceland.   but we can control our own business, review our own strengths and opportunities, and, most importantly, invest in the future.

Investing in the future means cutting costs on one hand, while developing technology and practices that pay will pay off over time.  It means recruiting the right talent and developing your staff through your preemployment screening program so that you have the right balance and the right depth of skill sets among your employees.    It is no easy task, I realize, and I also realize that from a psychological standpoint it is difficult to gear up when everyone else seems to be cutting back.   And of course there are consequences and the chance of failure.   But if you do success, you do survive, then you will probably emerge from this economic mess as a stronger company with a greater market share.   You will appear like a genius.   The media will want to interview you and ask the the secret of your success.

And what will you tell them?  “I thought positive and took bold steps when everyone else seemed afraid.”  Maybe something like that.

check them out before you hire.

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