Corra Daily Planet » 2009 » August

Background Checks and When the Courts Get it Wrong

Mon, August 31st, 2009 - 5:26 am - By Gordon Basichis

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The era of pre-employment background checks has done much to help prevent unqualified employment candidate from entering the workplace.   There are many reasons for such prevention.  It could be that the employment candidate has lied about his past, his education, his places of employment.  He may not have the skill sets he has claimed in the application and as part of his pre-employment interview.   There are any of these reasons.   But not the least of them being that the candidate has the type of egregious criminal records that would make it unwise or unwarranted to give that person the job over another, more qualified candidate.

Most often a reputable background checking service will turn up such criminal records.   Sometimes they make mistakes, miss a records, or are inaccurate with the final disposition of a criminal record.   What appears to be a felony is in reality as case that has been plea bargained down to a misdemeanor.   Criminal background records that have been reported in fact have been expunged.   And sometimes, despite all efforts at quality assurance an accuracy, the mistake in reporting is beyond the control of the background checking service.   Sometimes the mistake is on the part of the court system.    Either, in rare cases, the record is not entered into the system, or if the court is overseen by a county clerk, it is the country clerk who doesn’t enter the case into the record search.

Such was the case with the recent high profile news story involving Ryan Jenkins, purported murderer of  his ex-wife and model, Jasmine Fiore.    Jenkins was a contestant on the television reality show,  Meagan Wants a Millionaire.    Jenkins as the world knows now, allegedly murdered Fiore, cut off her fingers and pulled out her teeth to prevent identification, and then fled to Canada.     He hanged himself there, ending the manhunt.

As reported in the Los Angeles Times, the responsible background checking firm has stated they did in fact search Canadian Criminal Records on Jenkins.   The records were returned from the Canadian Court minus the single charge of domestic violence.    Jenkins had been sentenced to 15 months probation and counseling.   As to why the record was not returned could be any number of reasons.   Knowing the background checking firm involved, I certainly believe they performed all due diligence on its part.

This is not the first time criminal records have gone unreported, and I’m sure it won’t be the last.   Sometimes, as noted before, it is a matter of a county clerk missing a record.  And sometimes the reason for the missing record is more elaborate.    There have been a few occasions when conducting background searches I have found the missing records to be a bit suspicious.   Granted, it hasn’t happened often, but I have learned either from the employer or investigator that the subject in question was either an ex-cop, a relative of the chief of police or the relative of an influential person in a local or regional environment.    We can surmise or grow conspiracy theories out of our mindset, but none of that will do any good.  The simple fact is that the criminal record just isn’t being reported.   Interesting, huh?

So the veracity of the unreported records are, in my belief,  directly related to the credibility of the service conducting the background search.   A reputable firm can also make mistakes.  But a reputable firm will also admit its mistakes.   But if on the other hand the record was not reported by the county clerk,  it is beyond anyone’

New Hampshire MVR Driving Reports to Increase by Thirty-Three Percent

Fri, August 28th, 2009 - 5:26 am - By Gordon Basichis

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As most employers realize, MVR Motor Vehicle Driving Reports are a vital component to any package of background checks. Even if your employment candidate is neither driving for you or Department of Transportation (DOT) related,  MVR Reports are a strong addition to pre-employment screening program.  The MVR reports will help the employer or human resources manager determine behavior patterns in a job candidate.

The MVR Driving Record Report will help the discerning HR Manager review desultory behavior and any issues with substance abuse that can prove costly in injuries, retraining, rehiring, and possible danger to other employees.   Repeated accidents or repeated moving violations will create red flags.   For a small price, the MVR is a good indicator of certain character qualities in your employment candidate.

Most states are hurting financially.  This should be no news to anyone.   State Department of Motor Vehicle Services, the DMV, are raising prices.   As of Friday, August 28th, New Hampshire will be raising its MVR pricing from $8 per search to $12 per search.   We wanted you to be aware.

Check them out before you hire.

From Modest Beginnings Small Businesses Can Grow

Thu, August 27th, 2009 - 5:17 am - By Gordon Basichis

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Many great businesses started from modest beginnings.   If America is nothing else, it is the place where someone with an idea and a chocolate chip cookie can grow into a major franchise.   In the case of Tariq Farid, featured in Inc.Com,  he started out only wishing to sell fresh fruit artistically shaped like flower bouquets.    A good idea, a lot of work,  some cost cutting experiments, and  his Edible Arrangements was off to a running start.  By the second year his revenue doubled.

Eight months from the inception of Edible Arrangements, someone approached Tariq around franchising.   According to the article, which I urge everyone to read, Tariq said franchising your business is far different than expanding your own chain.   He attributes part of his success by the way to hiring a creative designer for just the right logo.   Very important.

We are happy for Tariq’s success.   Edible Arrangements is the perfect example as to what can be done with innovation, initiative, and even a modest amount of investment capital.   His story is especially inspiring at a time when the economic downturn has forced many employees to be laid off from their jobs.   Many start thinking about the different ways to make a living, and of course the most desirable is to start their own business.

I would encourage anyone with an entrepreneurial spirit, hidden or otherwise, to have a go at it.   But aside, from innovation, creativity, and all the rest, you have to be careful in today’s economic climate.    While most businesses are eager to partner with  a talented and competently run business, either as a vendor or a client, there are predators out there.  This rough economy brings them out of the woodwork or out from under the rock, wherever they lay in waiting.

Be sure your suppliers can continue to provide you with the necessary goods and services.  Make sure they are on solid ground, financially, and that their reputations are such that you would be at a disadvantage in doing business with them.   As for your prospective clients, if you don’t know them, check them out as well.   Often the good news is that you got a new client.   The bad news is you only got them because they had burned all their bridges and you were their last resort.

There are a variety of corporate background checks that constitute business research.   There are bankruptcies, liens, and judgments records, comprehensive background searches on the key individuals, and business credit reports.    There are corporate records searches you can run, as well as county criminal and county civil searches to check on pending criminal cases or pending lawsuits.   Federal Criminal and Civil Searches are important if you are dealing with a financial entity.

It’s a modest investment to help assure you are protected from the predators and scam artists who lurk among the honest business people.  So be bold, be creative, and be bold.   But look around for the minefields that can damage even the best of efforts, and the nasty little creatures who are determined to thrust sticks into your bicycle spokes just when you hit top speed.   Check them out before you do business.

Screening Employment Resumes

Wed, August 26th, 2009 - 5:46 am - By Gordon Basichis


Not long ago a friend and associate, Matt Charney wrote an article wrote an article that I though to be both truthful and hilarious.   The article was featured on and was entitled, A Bullet Point to the Head.    So far, Bullet Point has received myriad comments.   Weeks have passed and still missives are being delivered on a regular basis.

Most people loved the article, but some did take exception to it.   I found the comments especially interesting.  As the co-founder of a background checking service, I deal all the time with human resources managers, headhunters, and staffing people of every stripe.   Many now find their clients are asking that they perform the necessary background checks, and that is what we do.

Since I have a limited knowledge of the life and times of an executive recruiter, I found the article refreshing.   But some of the comments also drew my attention.  Recently, one such comment came from a woman who is writing a book.    The writer, Darrin Grella,  noted that as part of her research, 43% of the two thousand persons interviewed spend one minute or less reviewing a resume.   She added that 14% of those interview spent thirty seconds or less reviewing a resume.

This is pretty notable.    One minute or less, let alone 30 seconds or less, is a short time for that much labor and thought that goes into preparing a resume.  And as Matt Charney noted in his Bullet Point article, you can forget about the cover letter.   Maybe it’s there for a single purpose, to keep the coffee stains off the resume.

Anyway, if this is the statistic, then I most certainly look forward to reading Darrin Grella’s book, when it is published.

Check them out before you hire.

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