Corra Daily Planet » 2009 » February

Lighthouse Consulting Publishes New Book…Cracking the Personality Code

Mon, February 23rd, 2009 - 5:06 am - By Gordon Basichis

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Friends of ours at Lighthouse Consulting have published their new book.   The book is entitled,  Cracking the Personality Code.   Lighthouse Consulting is one of the leading personality assessment groups for preemployment screening.  Aside from psychological test, Lighthouse offers aptitude testing that will assess your employee’s potential.  Well worth the effort.

Here is what they write about their new book.

“Our book,“Cracking The Personality Code” This book will give Lighthouse the opportunity to share our tried and true processes with a greater audience and to further our goal to help as many businesses as possible gain the insight into their number one asset: their employees.

- The Personics Matrix, a new hiring tool to explore deeper into the work style of a new hire or staff member.

- We have helped numerous companies this past year to increase efficiency, productivity and profitability by showing them how to implement and use LCS Assessments in their organization. The result of our relationship with our

customers: more cohesive teams and more successful companies. We do this by working with organizations to:

- Hire right the first time.

- Be more effective managers that get the most out of their staff.

- Improve communication within the organization.”

A good read and a good process to be integrated with your normal background checking process.   Check them out before you hire.



When Criminal Database Background Checks Return Outdated Records

Fri, February 20th, 2009 - 5:13 am - By Gordon Basichis

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There are employers who will rely solely on a Criminal Database Search to check out their employment candidates.  While these criminal database searches have their advantages, they cover a lot of territory and can return quickly, they also have their pitfalls.   Criminal database searches, for the most part,  are accurate.  But there are times when they do offer to the employer a double edged sword.

When you are hiring labor people and wish to run a quick check, criminal database background searches are very handy.   The Nationwide Criminal Database Search can search background checks in most states and warn you of any criminal records.   The Nationwide Criminal Search is cost effective, a big plus in this economy, and you can hire or reject a candidate, before the job candidate decides to move on to another prospective employer.

However, when you do get a hit, meaning records show on a prospective job candidate, we always advise you to then run the County Criminal Check to follow up and verify that the record is that of the same person and that the information found in the database search is accurate and current.   Because sometimes the case has been pleaded down to lesser charges, or it had been deferred and now that the candidate fulfilled his obligations to the courts, the record was removed.  Or sometimes it is a case of the candidate following and the court permitting his record to be expunged.

So, for the double edged sword aspect, on one hand you want to be sure no one has a criminal record that as an employer you wouldn’t believe is fitting in your workplace.  On the other, you don’t want to reject a job candidate who actually does not have a criminal record, because the report proved inaccurate or the record had been expunged.

While we see these kind of cases, from time to time, one recent email caught my attention.  It is from a gentleman who had found his job searches disrupted because the criminal databases erroneous reported records on him.   It wasn’t the case as you will see.  Since this is the perfect example, I thought it prudent to post the letter.   The person’s name has been changed for obvious reasons.  Anyway, from Bob R.–

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Good Afternoon.  Some way for me to spend a Sunday!

Before anything else, I sincerely DO appreciate your help.  I really do.

I saw your website and thought you might be able to lead me in the right direction.

Quick Background- had criminal charges against me…no conviction…entered ARD program in 2006…completed in 2008…record totally expunged in 2008/2009- have all of the documents.

Having never been in trouble before (and never again), I then learned that there are databases and re-sellers of criminal information and unfortunately they are not always up-to-date.  If I should encounter a situation where a background check is done and something pops up, I know I am given the opportunity to fix it.  Unfortunately, by that time, it is often too late- especially with a job.

I have started to contact the databases that I have been told are out there, but it is impossible to discern on-line which are companies that are the database companies from other companies that simply use the database (re-sellers).  Naturally, I want to get ahead of the process and clear my name everywhere.

Do you have any suggestions (all are welcome) on how I can find out who the database companies are? I honestly don’t know if there are 15 of them or 500 of them.

As you can imagine, this entire episode in my life has been very traumatic.  Right when I think it is behind me, I learn there are other obstacles which can affect the rest of my life.”


Find below my response–

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“Bob,

Your problem is fairly common and one of the bugaboos of the databases.  Unfortunately, there are dozens of them with new ones coming on all the time.  In certain states the non-database statewide criminal searches are not necessarily as up to date or as accurate as they should be.

Whether contacting databases and asking that your name and record be deleted is a productive time expenditure can be easily debated.   And then when you no sooner believe you have addressed all the databases out there, you either discover you missed a few or new ones have popped up with the same damning records information.   It can be an enervating and sometimes thankless experience.   I would not discourage it, but I would not rely entirely on this action either.

Fortunately, since you have documents declaring your records have been expunged, you should be proactive when seeking a job and use them to your best advantage.  Ask the HR Manager if the background check includes a database criminal search.  If so, tell the HR manager up front that records may possibly be listed in the criminal database but they are inaccurate and you have the documents to prove so.   One such document I would highly recommend you obtain, if you do not have it already, is certification of the court records.   This certification is issued from the county where the charges were filed and recorded.   The county clerk in that court certifies via county seal that as of whatever date your request it, court records show there are no records, convictions, whatever, on file.   That is really the last word in background searches.

We at Corra Group will request county certification, occasionally.   We do it for either purpose, to indicate there or no records, or that records are clear in the parlance of our business.   And we also request certification to confirm that a party contesting records does in fact have criminal records on file.

Bob, that is my best advice, the same I provide to our clients.   I hope this is helpful.

If you don’t mind, Corra has a blog, the Corra Daily Planet.  I would like to post your question and my answer on the blog, if that is okay with you.  Needless to say, I would remove your name or put in a fictitious one in its place.

Good luck to you.”

I hope you all find this helpful



Are You Hiring to Take Advantage of the Lipstick Effect?

Thu, February 19th, 2009 - 5:31 am - By Gordon Basichis

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Years ago, my grandfather, who did pretty well in the Great Depression, advised me that in tough times you need to find either one of two types of customers.   You find the guy with the million dollars or a million guys with the dollar.   What did he mean by this?  Quite simply, you find either the large scale customer and service him, or the multitudes who need an inexpensive something for, largely, entertainment or diversion.

In a recent newsletter from Media Post I read about the “Lipstick Effect” and thought about my grandfather and his perception.   The Lipstick Effect is about consumers, in a bad economy, inexpensive products or services to lift their spirits.   The title comes from the Great Depression when women bought cheap lipstick in bright colors to cheer themselves up.  Outgrowths of the lipstick effect are comparison shopping, same item for same item, and measuring the value of one product against another.

So in this insanely poor economy as a business it is time to wonder how to avail yourself of the Lipstick Effect.  My grandfather, a furrier by trade, among other things, sold cheaper bags and hats to customers who needed them for the cold.   Since he was selling them fur, politically correct back then, his customers felt good about themselves, as if they were stepping out, for very little money.

To redirect toward the Lipstick Effect, you will need the kind of forward thinking people who can take advantage of modern sourcing and cutting edge technology.   But you also need in the mix serious managers who have experienced economic downturns before and are aware of how to roll out products and services that have entertainment and psychological value.   Your team must be comprised of both elements.

A thorough preemployment screening program is a necessity.  You should be conducting education verification checks as well as professional reference checks, besides the usual criminal background checks and Social Security Traces.   Professional Reference checks will better help you evaluate your employment candidate’s skill sets and how he will fit in to your plans.

I guess another way to approach this situation is to think big about the small stuff.  And check them out before you hire.

Some Companies Will Prosper During Recession

Wed, February 18th, 2009 - 5:08 am - By Gordon Basichis

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Some companies will hold their own during the recession.   Some will withstand the downturn and possibly emerge even stronger for the experience.   Some will even prosper.   Case in point is French-owned advertising giant, Publicis Groupe.   According to an article in Advertising Age, Publicis CEO, Maurice Levy,  retains an upbeat attitude about the current economic conditions.   Publicis surprised everyone with better earnings and stock pricing increases.

Publicis is moving forward in digital advertising, which is expanding rapidly as new technology and strategies come online.   Levy maintains that making the correct strategic decisions through acquisitions and corporate development, Publicis has been able to anticipate the current environment.   As with most sound companies who have good strategic prowess and who realize the needs of their clients in this harsh economy, Publicis is moving forward.

There is a lesson here.   While most of your competitors are cutting back and, often, turning to desperate acts, this is the time to move forward.   You have to be careful in developing the right strategy and in making sure you are servicing your clients in ways that will help them maintain.   Product and service messages will most certainly change during such a harsh economic climate.   What worked as a marketing strategy a year ago, will probably be ineffective today.   Clients will ignore certain messages and find others unattractive.   On a simple level, snob appeal won’t make it, where function and durability will.

You need the right staff for this environment.   As one client told us, after a series of major employment cutbacks and layoffs, you would think employees would buckle down and show how valuable they are.  You would  think they would be more productive.  Not less.

While some are more focused at their jobs, others show little or no increased efforts.  Others actually back off the throttle and revert from mediocrity to something less.   Our client was amazed, and opined that the news and times may prove debilitating for some, and they tend to freeze like the proverbial deer int he headlights.

You don’t need those people working for you, during such critical times.   There are plenty of skilled employees who have been laid off and are looking for work.   Some of your newly recruited employees will lhelp you move forward and advance, despite the economy.   Some employees. will develop strategies that will leave you stronger when the economy turns around.  And some  that you are considering as job candidates may merely be castoffs, dead wood from another company.  The last thing you need right now are you competitors’ deficient workers.

Recruit carefully.   Perhaps you need  new employees who can develop strategies that will sustain you now and help you prosper in the future.  Make sure your preemployment screening program is up to date and includes the right amount of background checks that will reflect skill sets and behavior patters.   Conducting psychological testing and apptitude testing shouldn’t be out of the question, despite the expense.   It is a battle zone out there, and the strongest, quickest, and smartest are the ones who will survive.

Check them out before you hire.

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