Federal polygraph programs are secret even to researchers

It’s one of the best-kept secrets in the federal government.

Information about polygraph screening is so guarded by the agencies that use it that job applicants who are tested are urged not to tell anyone. The news media are denied basic information, such as how many government employees are screened, because it’s “sensitive” and could jeopardize national security.

Researchers are told they can’t get studies about how it works. Even the National Academies, the organization set up to advise the federal government on scientific matters, faced stiff resistance when it reviewed polygraph testing. As a result, the academies compared the polygraph profession to the “priesthood keeping its secrets in order to keep its power.”

“It’s a siege mentality,” acknowledged Gordon Barland, a retired federal polygraph researcher who supports polygraph screening but also pushed for greater transparency on some of the data.

Many of the 15 agencies that rely on polygraph testing for job applicants and employees say they’re protecting screening methods from spies or terrorists who might figure out how to infiltrate the government. An unknown number of government polygraph studies remain classified because of this fear. But critics and even some supporters say the federal government should be more open about its programs given the growing use of polygraph screening and the continued scientific controversy over it.

Barland, one of the most prolific government polygraph researchers, asked government officials to publish several classified studies on polygraph screening that he participated in. They declined.

Other government researchers who’ve pushed for publishing such studies also have been turned down, Barland said. Some have left the government in frustration. Researchers and academics generally think it’s essential for studies to be published and peer reviewed. Barland said the government would have benefited from publicizing several of the studies because they demonstrated that polygraph screening worked, but he blames labor unions and civil libertarians for making polygraphers gun-shy.

“They don’t want to give critics any more ammunition,” he said.

Job applicants and employees also are denied the recordings of their polygraph screenings and the charts that polygraphers relied on to determine whether they’re lying. If they want any other records about sessions, they have to file open records requests. Nonetheless, documents often are withheld or redacted for national security reasons. The information is so guarded that people who are polygraphed are urged to “maintain confidentiality” and not to tell co-workers, relatives or friends, documents obtained by McClatchy show.

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Industries That Need to Conduct Background Checks When Hiring

You don’t need to be Mensa qualified to understand the importance of background checks for bringing on board new hires, especially in some industries. The Liars Index, a report compiled by Jude M. Wern & Associates, reported that nearly 21 percent of resumes had false education claims for the period of the first half of 2012. But that doesn’t mean that the need for this type of hiring strategy is widely needed across the board. These are some industries that may or may not be immediately obvious that definitely should have pre-employment background screening for all employees.

The Education Industry

In this day and age, anyone who is dealing with children is a prime candidate for a thorough background check. Most schools today don’t limit this to the people who have direct access and responsibility for the children, but also for every substitute teacher, parent volunteer, custodian, bus driver, and teacher’s aide.

Background checks for people in the education industry aren’t limited to criminal histories alone. Most states require certain certifications in order to teach or work in certain capacities within the schools. Background checks also serve to verify that the person in question is who he or she claims to be and that he or she also has the required certifications and endorsements.

The Financial Services Industry

Whether or not your employees handle money directly, it should go without saying that if you have employees working in a financial setting, it’s vital to obtain screen them with a background check before hiring. Credit unions, banks, accounting firms, mortgage brokerages, investment companies, and tax preparation firms are all examples of types of companies in the financial arena that need this extra screening criteria.

The Gaming Industry

This is an industry that has a reputation of less than savory practices. That’s one reason that current rules and regulations concerning gaming establishments are so stringent. Most gaming industry businesses are governed by some authority of the state.

It’s the state that makes most of the rules about the types of background checks that are required of employees in which positions. Security staff, surveillance staff members, casino bank managers (sometimes referred to as cage managers), and high ranking members of the casino hierarchy, those who have direct access to cash, are required to go through varying degrees of pre-employment background screening. There’s too much money that goes into and out of a casino each and every day to place people with poor money management, criminal histories—especially with crimes involving money, and other background check red flags in positions of responsibility when it comes to money.

The Hospitality Industry

Do you run a bed and breakfast, quaint inn, or small motel? If so, you most likely have housekeepers that are armed with key to gain access to guess rooms — and it would be more than appropriate to conduct a background check on these and other hospitality employees, such as the bellhop.

The Caregivers Industry

This is an industry where background checks tend to be a little wider reaching than some of the others. Caregiver screenings should cover criminal background screenings for abusive behavior in the past, sex offender registration, drug screenings, and financial screenings. Depending on the specific caregiving role you’re hiring for, there may also be the need for additional screening to verify certifications and/or education.

Caregivers not only have access to patients, their possessions (in some cases), and their families; some caregivers also have access to the, sometimes; powerful medications they are required to dispense in their roles are care providers.

While these industries may seem so large, and there are plenty of small businesses within each of them — and it’s often the small businesses that struggle most when it comes to employees who are either innocently dishonest on their employee applications or tell blatant lies in the interview process. Besides conducting employee background checks, another option to consider is purchasing employee dishonesty insurance coverage to help defray any costs to you that occur as a result of hiring this particular candidate.

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4 Small Business Background Screening Best Practices

As small businesses increasingly leverage employment screening to help ensure a safe workplace and improve their quality of hire, many may be overlooking common gaps in their screening program that could be unknowingly exposing themselves to risk.

To help ensure a more effective and compliant background screening program, small businesses should consider these four best practices:

1. Put the Policy in Writing

A written employment screening policy is an essential component of a successful program. According to the HireRight Small Business Spotlight, 29 percent of small business respondents plan to create a formal screening policy, while 19 percent plan to draft a policy specific to drug, alcohol and health screening.

Employment screening policies can help protect your organization from potential claims of discrimination and assist in regulatory audits. The policy will also set clear screening standards for human resources personnel.

In the policy, the organization should describe the employment background checks that they are going to run and how the screening results will be used to make hiring decisions. To help protect against discrimination suits down the road, it is best to tailor the screening criteria to each specific position that will be subject to background screening.

For example, an organization might consider including a credit check (if allowed by applicable law) as a screening component when screening for a position that involves access to organization funds. To ensure compliance, it is important to always have experienced legal counsel review the screening policy.

2. Strengthen Your Criminal Checks

Criminal background checks are conducted by 88 percent of small businesses, according to respondents of the HireRight Small Business Spotlight. However, the effectiveness of a criminal background screening program often depends on the types of criminal background checks that are conducted.

Gaps in criminal background checks may exist based on the search criteria (e.g., the geography searched and time frame) as well as when the check is conducted occurs and the frequency. Many employers only use criminal checks during hiring for full-time employees, and do not check for criminal offenses after the person has been employed by the company.

Employers can help mitigate negligent hiring risks by increasing the depth and geography of criminal background checks. For example, by expanding criminal checks to include county, state and federal criminal and sex offender searches in all jurisdictions in which the applicant has lived or worked in the past 10 years, the employer can cast a wider net and gain better protection

3. Check More Than Just Criminal History

On-demand background screening providers help small businesses enhance their screening programs effortlessly. Yet, less than half of all small business employers conduct background checks beyond basic criminal and identity checks.

Without verifying a candidate’s employment and education history and motor vehicle records, as relevant, employers may be missing crucial red flags or information that could dramatically impact a hiring decision.

By working with an on-demand background screening provider, employers can implement multiple types of background checks into one seamless process that provides better insight into the candidate. For example, checking employment and education history can ensure that candidates really do meet your job requirements and were honest about their qualifications for the position.

4. Reassess Your Program

According to the HireRight Small Business Spotlight, 44 percent of small business respondents plan to review their employee screening standards and an additional 15 percent plan to evaluate their contingent worker screening standards.

This data reveals a gap; more than half of small businesses are not regularly assessing their employee screening standards and that more than three quarters are not reviewing their contingent worker screening standards.

As industry best practices and state and federal regulations evolve, employers that do not re-evaluate their screening programs could expose themselves to greater compliance and legal risks.

It is a best practice for small businesses to self-audit their employment screening program at least once per year. Employers should also monitor legislative changes that may impact their hiring process such as those addressing the use of medical marijuana and the requirements for worker eligibility.

By reviewing and implementing these four best practices, small businesses will be able to achieve a more effective background screening program and obtain higher quality talent.

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Why It’s Important That You Let a Professional Do Your Background Checks

If you pay peanuts you get…… This holds true for private investigations and back ground checks too. What will be the better avenue to take when investigating?

It’s no secret to anyone at this point in time that we’re definitely living in a digital age. That said, computers and digital data are more than just conveniences that we can take or leave. They’re important parts of many aspects of our lives. This is especially the case when it comes to the evaluation of specific individuals for any number of reasons.

Background checks may have seemed like science fiction a long time ago, but nowadays they’re par for the course and have a number of uses. Employers perform background checks on potential hires in order to confirm information and evaluate their character. People even order background checks on acquaintances, neighbors, or potential spouses wishing to better know who it is that they’re really letting into their lives and allowing around their loved ones.

However, one thing people never really consider is the importance of hiring professionals to conduct background checks in order to make sure that information gathered is accurate and as valuable as it should be.

The Myth of Online Background Check Services

As much as computers and the internet have brought a wealth of convenience and choice into the modern person’s life, there are certainly ways in which this can easily backfire. A common misconception in regards to background checks today is that those inexpensive services you can use online actually have the value that they should. Sure you can pay your $50 or so and wind up with plenty information that looks extensive. However, it’s important to note that the most important information is actually left out of a lot of those reports.

Background checks should consist of more than a list of old addresses and phone numbers. Real ones also include extensive criminal records, credit information, traffic violations, civil court records, and so forth. The best way to make sure your background checks contain all of the necessary information is to hire a professional to conduct them.

What to Look for in a Good Private Investigations Firm

One way to get a really solid background check conducted on a given individual is to locate a reputable private investigations firm and enlist their services. Background checks are important parts of many different types of investigations, so most PI’s are going to be old hats when it comes to performing thorough ones. They know what to look for, what a given check should entail, and how to make sure they find all necessary information out there to be had.

When evaluating a given firm, it’s important to ask about their experience level in regards to not only background checks, but investigations in general. Do they have any credentials they can present to prove their mettle? How many years have they been in business? What kind of experience do they have with performing background checks in regards to your unique type of situation – spousal investigation, employee background checks, and so forth? How about references you can call?

You will also want to make sure that the firm you choose makes use of all the technological options available to the world of private investigation today. A good PI firm knows the ins and outs of combing databases for information, using top of the line software, and assessing digital data in order to build solid cases and comprehensive reports. Ask for information in regards to a given investigator’s experience with all of these things.

In the end, it almost always pays to hire an experienced professional when it comes to just about anything and background checks and private investigation situations are no exceptions. Look into your options today and get the job done right!

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The Top 6 People You Should Run a Background Check On!

You Know Companies Use Background Checks in their Hiring Process – But How Can YOU Use Background Checks in Your Daily Life?

Background Checks are designed for protection. Even in your personal life, using a background check to provide a sense of security to yourself and your family is sound advice. Don’t think you would ever need to use a background check? Think again! The following list may get you thinking!

1. Babysitters or Nannies – Your children are the most valuable people in your life. Making sure that the person you hire to watch them when you are not around is safe and reliable makes sense. You can check with previous employers for a good part of the information you need. Many teens also take a Red Cross Course in babysitting and you can ask if they have this certification.

If you are hiring a nanny through an agency, verify that they have run a criminal background check and ask for the results! You should also see that they have been certified in basic first aid and child CPR.

2. Home Health Care Providers – If you have elderly parents or anyone in need of a home health aide, knowing that those people have the certifications and training they need is crucial. Making sure they do not have any criminal record (especially anything to do with abuse or drug offenses) is also essential to the protection of those you love. The agency providing the health care worker should have run a background check containing this information. Make sure you know what they found before you allow them in your home.

3. Housekeeper or Maid Service – Do you really want the people that clean your home unsupervised to have a criminal record? At the very least you want to know what kind of job they do and if they are reliable. Check their references carefully and, if they are employed through an agency, check to see what you can expect in the event of any problems with the service.

4. Home Contractors or Handymen – Checking references of past customers may give you information on their skills and work habits. If they own their own business, checking with the Better Business Bureau or your local township offices for complaints and how they resolved them is good business.

5. New Roommate – While getting a new roommate rarely escalates into an incident like the one depicted in the movie “Single White Female”, checking out a potential new roommate is both practical and sensible. Do they have a criminal record? Do they pay their rent on time? You may not be able to access their financial records, but contacting their previous landlords or roommates is a good step. You can also check your county’s civil and federal court records to see if they have filed bankruptcy or been involved in litigations.

6. Renters and Tenants – Do you own any rental property? A vacation home you are thinking of renting? You need to take the necessary steps to protect both your property and ensuring the safety of your other tenants (if you have them) and your neighbors. A basic check of any criminal or civil actions against them is the first step. You should also check any past landlords to determine whether they pay their rent on time and if they left the rental property in good order.

These are just some suggestions on how you can use background checks to make you and your family safer, the additional peace of mind you will have is invaluable.

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Why my employees won’t steal from me: 5 myths

The statistics are staggering. The latest National Retail Security Survey states that 45 percent of losses to retailers are attributed to theft by employees. The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) reports that 5 percent of revenues of a typical organization are stolen by company workers. The average internal fraud scheme goes undetected for 18 months. Small businesses are particularly vulnerable since they don’t have the resources or the processes in place to avoid and/or detect fraud activity.

With no formal loss prevention programs in place, many owners and managers rely on their experience and expertise to react to incidences of employees stealing. Others rely on their beliefs, perceptions and ideals that their employees would not steal from them for a number of reasons. The following are myths associated with those ideological thoughts:

My employees would not steal from me because …

1. They Like Me – While it is true that good relationships with the boss may deter a small percentage of employees from stealing, research has shown that dishonest employees are driven by a number of factors. Loss Prevention professionals cite the presence of the Theft Triangle as the breeding ground for employee theft. When these elements are present in the workplace, employees may be tempted to steal or become involved in other counterproductive behaviors.

Theft Triangle

Motive – Potential gain and use for the cash or product
Opportunity – Ability to quickly and safely steal the cash or product
Low Risk of Detection – Perception of low probability of getting caught

The employees may genuinely like the manager or owner, but if the three factors are present in the work environment, the temptation to steal may override friendship.

2. They’re My Best Employees – Many managers and employers perceive that because certain employees are self-motivated, hard workers, they do not have any integrity issues. They are above reproach simply because they exceed expectations in their performance. And because of that belief, those employees are not scrutinized for compliance to the rules, nor suspected of counterproductive behavior or theft. Without accountability to the rules, even the best of employees may take advantage and steal.

3. I Show That I Trust Them – It is essential that trust be developed throughout any organization. It is the foundation of every great relationship. In the world of business, the trust must be validated with accountability. Unfortunately managers and owners may interpret showing trust as not checking up on employees. Without a check and balance process or audit system, employees may perceive that there is low risk of getting caught. All incidences of employee theft violate trust. Show your employees that you trust them, but follow up on the performance expectations you have established.

4. They Have a Clean Background – Pre-employment background checks are significant in establishing a comprehensive loss prevention program. Hiring employees without criminal convictions may be a good start in creating an environment of honesty and trust. High integrity must permeate the organization. With a culture devoid of strong policies and procedures supported by compliance processes and effective supervision, employees may steal with a compelling motive, opportunity and the perception that they won’t get caught. The ACFE reports that of the 1,388 internal frauds investigated by Certified Fraud Examiners in the past year, 87 percent of them were perpetuated by first time offenders. They cited the lack of internal controls as the key factor in the crimes that triggered the criminal behavior.

5. I Pay Them a Higher Wage – Assumptions are made that paying employees a higher wage than their counterparts with other companies will make them happy. If employees are happy with their wages they won’t steal. It’s another myth. Sociological studies have shown that employees are influenced by the culture established by the work environment. Approximately 10 percent of the employees are morally incorruptible. They don’t bend or break the rules. They don’t steal given any opportunity to do so. Additionally, approximately 10 percent of employees bend and break policies and procedures with regularity and are prone to steal. They are the challenge of Human Resource personnel in medium and larger size businesses and a big problem for the smaller companies. The remaining 80 percent of the employee’s behavior in the workplace is influenced by the culture and attitudes. If the rules are clear and compliance is expected, employee behavior gravitates to following those rules. If the counterproductive behavior of the small percentage of the problem employees is not addressed and allowed to flourish, other employees will be influenced by that behavior. Ninety percent of the workforce can be positively influenced to compliant behavior with well written rules, clear expectations and effective follow-up.

We want to believe that employees won’t steal from us. We really do. We use these reasons to support our views. But, on their merits, these views are indeed myths. Sociological studies on workplace behavior, criminal investigations on employee fraud, and anecdotal stories have proven that the workplace environment must be controlled to avoid counterproductive behavior and theft. Policies and procedures must be well written. Compliance to the rules and behavior expectations must be clear. Internal controls must be established and audited. Counterproductive behavior must be addressed effectively, and the elements of the Theft Triangle must be eliminated. It must be known in the work environment that opportunities to steal are low and the probability of getting caught is high. You then might be right when you say; my employees won’t steal from me.

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Landlords’ tales of nightmare tenants

Dead animals, smelly garbage and broken windows overrun the comments of hundreds of people who replied to an MSN Real Estate message board request for landlords to share stories of nightmare renters. In more than 500 postings on the site in the past couple of months, several themes keep coming back — just like bounced rent checks, some landlords might say.

Let’s start with a beef about what may have been beef.

“When I was a Realtor I was acting as a rental agent for an out-of-state owner. Imagine my delight to find the large piece of meat left in the freezer in an apartment left vacant with no electricity for six months. I actually tried to clean it up — there is no cure known to man that I didn’t try to get rid of that smell. Fortunately, the owner was understanding about buying a new fridge.” — Thetabobeta

Rotten food is just one course on a full menu of tribulations described by rental-property owners and managers. The postings have been edited but not checked for accuracy. (FYI: Tenants have a separate message board to gripe about landlords.)

Skipping out on rent

“The absolute worst experience we ever had was two college students referred to us by my husband’s uncle. They trashed the place, stopped paying rent after the first two months and were really, really difficult to evict because it was winter, and at that time the state had laws protecting tenants from being pitched out into the cold. The final insult, of course, was that when they did sneak away in the dark of night, they turned off the heat but not the water — so we had frozen pipes to deal with on top of the garbage and filth.” — Cynical2

“In the last year, I have had two tenants just pack and leave in the middle of the night.” — Sarab landlord

Stealing from the landlord

“I had three rental properties. Worst case was a very rich guy, family lots of $, lots of $! He had utilities cut off, so he tapped into my property’s electrical lines with an extension cord and ran four heaters off it for a month, until it burned through on the new hardwood floor. Then he stripped wallpaper and moldings and sold them at a wood-supply business. He tried to take fixtures but was surprised by another tenant, who called me. He skipped. Family is still very big $ and supports him, I have been told, but they won’t pay any back rent or damage costs. I was out $3,700 for him — the cost of his mountain bike, he told me once.” — noroom

“I have a coin-operated laundry in one complex. The tenants try everything to get free laundry. Foreign change, metal objects, latex gloves with the quarter in the finger hole (thought that was creative). After they got tired of trying to get free laundry, they decided to just take the actual dryer! Just loaded it up, carried it off and threw it down a hill. I hope they enjoyed the 10 bucks they got out of it!” — Norcal Landlord

“We recently bought a new house that was a little out of our league, but being that it was four bedrooms, we figured we could rent out a room for some help with the mortgage, and so we did. We found a tenant who was single, didn’t drink, didn’t smoke and didn’t do drugs. He had a cat but said it would stay in the room (I’m allergic). So we accepted him. Long story short, his cat ran around the house, scratched my dog and the furniture, and he did drink, and he did do drugs. The one thing he never did: pay his rent on time. Oh, yeah, and he was married. One day, his estranged wife came to town with a one-way ticket and moved in with no money and a drug problem. Lo and behold, while we were out working all day, she was snooping around the house . . . “collecting” things. First, the boat hitch was missing, and then my shoes. We logged on to our banking account one day and saw there was a check made out to cash, not in our handwriting (and “dollars” was spelled wrong), with the wife’s account number and signature on the back. Needless to say, we evicted them immediately and discovered she had half my wardrobe, and I am still finding things missing!” — Tahoe Tessy

Friends and family

“I had let my cousin (at the request of my aunt) move in, and she sold my water heater, air-conditioning unit, all the fixtures in the house and all my children’s furniture and living-room furniture I had let her use, my riding lawn mower and anything else she could remove. Then she left in the middle of the night. Now, two years later, she has no problem walking into any family gathering and acting like she does not understand why I do not speak with her.” — Amalga

“I had close relatives (too close) living in my house. One moved out, and a girlfriend moved in. I haven’t had any rent money in six months because she is in school, and if I make too much of a fuss they will all be mad at me. This is a no-win situation. I found out not to have dealings with family!!” — Lizzy221

Letting pets run wild

“I rented to a veterinarian who had her boyfriend move in. The two of them started collecting animals. I had agreed to an outside dog only, but now they had four horses, six dogs, and I couldn’t count how many cats! They had fenced in the backyard and put the horses in the yard, right up to the back door, and had the basement full of animals and couldn’t possibly clean up after them. Then she left this guy. He stayed, and the contract was only in her name. We couldn’t get this guy out of our home.” — Wahoo1413

“My boss has a rental that I got put in charge of, and I will never do that again! It was an older couple with their 20-something-year-old daughter, and they lived in filth. They had two dogs, one cat and a chicken that all lived in the house. I guess the animals didn’t like to go outside, so by the time they finally moved out there were mountains of dog, cat and chicken poop in the house. We ended up having to go to court to get them out and then go to court again to get two months of rent and more of a deposit.” — Mandalou

Beyond normal wear and tear

“We had druggies (highly recommended by family/friends in our church!) who glued pennies to the walls, stuffed Cheetos into the shutters, stapled small pieces of cardboard to the inside window facings, disassembled the outdoor flower bed and brought all the bricks inside the house, poured water into the floor furnace, causing it to rust out (we have a 1928 home in Tulsa, Okla., which was beautiful), used the drapery for cleaning rags, used wood staples to anchor a large, outdoor inflatable toy inside the living room and left their drug paraphernalia in the closet when they moved. We’ve spent thousands in cleaning and replacement costs.” — Taken in Tulsa

“The worst case was a house where the renter had driven his four-wheeler into the carpeted living room and repaired it there. When they moved out, they left garbage, dirty diapers on the carpet, children’s drawing in permanent marker on the wall, feces in a plugged toilet, spoiled food in the fridge and, oddly, all sorts of furniture and baby items.” — bulldog7

“I am out of the rental-property business, thank goodness. The worst were the people who paid the first and last months’ rent, then moved in and never paid another dime. After repeated calls and personal visits I had to pay $100 to the constable to get them out. After the constable told them to get out, they shattered the solid-core front door, poured paraffin down all the drains, rewired the electric wiring to short out the whole system (so the fireman told me), threw beer bottles and broke all the windows and screens out, and sold all furniture and appliances and some carpet ripped off the floor. What carpet they did not steal, they poured bleach on, and dumped battery acid on the tile flooring. They put knife holes in all the Sheetrock and left me with original spray paintings. The water had been cut off for months, and they were using 3-pound butter tubs for their toilet, which they left me with. Their dogs left presents inside the house, also.” — bothgone

“Rented to a well-to-do couple with a 2-year-old, solid references (so we thought), and we paid a rental agency to monitor the property and collect the rent. These people paid on time. However, they had a kitchen fire due to the stove being so filthy, thousands of dollars in smoke and fire damage, completely melted the door off the microwave, wouldn’t set up the sprinkler-system timers to water automatically, so the entire yard died, completely tore out shrubs and cracked the upstairs master-bath sink washing a bowling ball. They didn’t have a diaper pail, so they just tossed the wet diapers (from second child born while in the home) in a corner on the carpet of the baby’s room (gag), took every window covering and tore out the alarm system contacts on all the windows. My favorite one: They drove their car through the wall in the garage into the downstairs guest bathroom. All toilets in all three bathrooms had to be replaced because they were stained black. Never could figure that one out.” — Nutso

In a class of their own

“(The tenant) left us with garbage and tons of clothes throughout the house, holes in the walls, carpets destroyed and a large potbellied pig left in the backyard that was very hungry and chased after me.” — Rhonda Landlord

“We fell for a sob story from a prospective tenant, and we got burned. Her husband worked late hours, and she asked if she could take an application with her, (and) along with that could she take the key so they could come by when he got off work at midnight so she could show him the house. She loved the place; they were going to fill out the application and drop it off to us the next day along with a deposit to hold the property until the credit checks came in. We got a strange call from her a few days later, and on a hunch, my husband and I went by the house. Oh, yes, they were moved in all right; everything was unpacked hanging on the wall, and a cat running around. We had squatters. After the cops were called and the eviction process was started, they had the nerve to ask us if they could start over if they gave us the deposit then.” — it ain’t always easy

“I had rented to a mother and two boys (ages 3 and 7) who were supplied to me by the Department of Social Services. They were on a plan (two-year max) to help down-and-out single moms/dads get on their feet. I thought this was a good plan. Then the constant traffic started coming to the house apartment: 10 p.m., 1 p.m., 2:30 p.m., 6:30 p.m. The smell from the apartment was horrible, and I eventually found out she was making and selling crack cocaine from my apartment.” — Pacific Heights

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5 People You Should Always Have a Background Check On

Background checks are highly useful in a number of situations, a number of which involve a professional who will be working extensively in a consumer’s home. Other situations present opportunities for background checks even for those professionals who work in medical or educational fields. Overall, there are seven professions that require a background check more than any other. These professions demand more consumer trust and confidence than can be merited without one of these comprehensive checks of an individual’s reputation and, with extensive online tools, there’s no reason not to get one.

Medical Professionals

There are few people whose reputations and honesty matters more than those in the medical field. Whether it’s a nurse, a doctor, or even a plastic surgeon, consumers should conduct a thorough background search on any medical professional before they commit to that individuals’ care on a permanent basis. Background checks in this case can be pretty revealing, showing court documents and previous lawsuits that might serve as a red flag. Especially given the high risks and prices of modern day medical treatments, there is simply no reason to give any medical professional the benefit of the doubt when it comes to relying on their care and forthrightness.

Teachers and Tutors

There was a time when teachers were viewed as upstanding members of the community by default, and parents were content to give the the benefit of the doubt and resist any background checks that they might otherwise pursue. That time is long over, however, as headlines of teacher-student abuse and poor teacher credentials dominate major national news outlets. Consumers’ students deserve the best education possible, and sometimes that means doing a thorough background check and demanding better of a school district that maintains lackluster or ethically-challenged professionals.

A New Roommate

Roommates, just like tenants, can present quite a few problems that a background check will help to avoid. Roommates, too, can suffer from late bill payments and a tendency toward evictions. And they can present other problems, as well, like bringing crime or other issues into the home where they are certainly not welcome. A background check will reveal not only a potential roommate’s financial integrity, but also their overall personal integrity and honesty. This is the key to a successful, long-term roommate relationship that can benefit both parties in the deal.

The Babysitter

Sure, the babysitter applicants might all seem cherry and bubbly, but that’s an easy thing to do. Seeming like they possess integrity, honest, and a high sense of personal responsibility, on the other hand, requires a bit more finesse, dedication, and research. That’s where a background check comes in: A comprehensive online background check will reveal whether or not an applicant can be trusted with both a home’s possessions and a couple’s children.

Yourself

Identity theft and erroneous public records reporting are two major crimes that cannot be seen, heard, or felt, in everyday life — until it’s too late. Doing a periodic self-background check can reveal credit reporting errors, employment and financial history errors, and other information that should be corrected in order to ensure long-term financial and personal health.

Plenty of Situations that Merit a Background Check

These 5 instances might be the most important ones for a background check, but they’re not the only cases where one is necessary. Nannies, housekeepers, and contractors, should all face a background check before they’re hired. So should a number of other professionals, at the consumer’s discretion. When in doubt, always investigate rather than bestow the benefit of the doubt. It will be beneficial in terms of both finances and household stresses.

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Top 10 Illegal Job Interview Questions

Preparing for an interview can be an exciting, but also stressful, event. While questioning should focus on your abilities to perform the tasks and duties required by the position, interviewers can sometimes begin down a slippery slope of illegal questions.

While those well versed in Employment Law, such as those in Human Resources, may be aware of what may or may not be asked, those conducting the interview may not be as aware.

Here is a list of the top 10 questions that job interviewers cannot legally ask you:

Where were you born?
What is your native language?
Are you married?
Do you have children?
Do you plan to get pregnant?
How old are you?
What do you do for Christmas?
Do you have a disability or chronic illness?
Are you in the national guard?
Do you smoke or use alcohol?

You can learn more about the reasons behind these questions being off limits here. You can also find lots more information regarding Employment Law, including Articles, videos and FAQs

If you feel that you have been discriminated against in the context of an interview or other employment context, contact an experienced Labor and Employment Attorney to schedule an initial consultation today. Employment laws are in place to ensure that you do not get unfairly discriminated against or receive other unfair treatment.

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How Pre-employment Screening can Pay for Itself

Are you aware of the costs associated with hiring a new employee? From the paperwork to the training (and much more), the entire process can be extremely expensive.

While this expense is a part of doing business, you don’t want to overlook one very important fact: you are wasting a lot of money every time you hire an employee and he/she does not stay onboard for an extended period of time.

One of the best ways to combat this issue is through a comprehensive pre-employment screening process. Along with the reduction of employee turnover costs, this can help ensure that you hire the right employee for the right position.

Problem Employees Lead to Lost Money

When you avoid hiring a problem employee it can save the company a large amount of money related to supplies, resources, and training time.

Imagine this: you hire an employee and after a couple of weeks on the job he or she quits or is terminated. All of the time and money that you put into the hiring and training process is now down the drain.
In more serious situations, an employer could be hit with a negligent hiring lawsuit should a “dangerous” employee be hired by the company.What about a Negligent Hiring Lawsuit?Is this type of lawsuit common? Of course not. However, the proper pre-employment screening process can take all the risk out of the equation.

A comprehensive background check can include the following (plus much more): drug screening, county criminal check, state criminal check, national criminal search, social security number trace, address verification, and prior employment verification.

There is no denying the fact that a thorough pre-employment check can cost in excess of $100. That being said, this will pay for itself by allowing you to hire the right employee while avoiding those who are not suited to stick around for the long term.

Questions to Ask Before Getting Started

No matter the industry or size of your business, pre-employment screening is extremely important. If you don’t have any experience with this part of the hiring process, ask yourself the following questions:

1. Which pre-employment service provider can give me the “total package” at an affordable price?

2. How much is too much? Some employers opt for nothing more than a county and state criminal database check, while others are willing to pay additional for a more comprehensive service.

3. What type of information must I collect from applicants in order to get started?

Pre-employment screening may be a large upfront cost – especially for companies that do a lot of hiring – but overall it will pay for itself.

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