NAPBS 2009 Fall Conference

NAPBS 2009 Fall Conference October 2009


The attendance at the conference was actually up 1% from last year to 255 this year (163 attendees and 92 exhibitor personnel/attendees). I thought this was the best run, best – organized, best educational session mid-year conference yet. Mike Pachata and Don Owens took us down the learning curve over the past couple of years and Dean Carras and Tracy Seabrook brought us to the end of that curve. Great job. Really great job.

The two days of education tracks were all very well attended. I couldn’t get to them all but I was very impressed by the Provider Guidelines session and the sessions about on-line marketing. Both were truly eye opening. In the on-line marketing session the presenter did a free real-time search that showed FADV and HireRight had their websites rated in the 90s, which is an excellent rating. Later, EmployeeScreenIQ came up with a rating of 98.6. Is your website that good?

I have learned over my long career that every time I go to an educational session or a conference, regardless of the cost, I invariably come away with at least one gem that pays for the entire expense. This conference was no exception. A couple of gems from the Keynote speaker who was talking about the value of networking. “Asking is free” and “Take the initiative.” No big revelation here, but how important to be reminded of these.

From the Provider Guidelines session: 120 people have taken the exam (it is on the NAPBS website) and they take it an average of 2.1 times before they pass and 21 have never passed. You wouldn’t believe the amount of work put into the guidelines and the test.

One session was a panel that included HR managers from a couple of large end-users. What they wanted to see was for the CRA to expand their offerings to include an interpretation of the pre-screening and how that applicant will fit into the organization. They do use social networking to screen applicants (at least for some positions). It was pointed out that you can be sure your employees will be checking out their new co-worker on social networking sites once they are hired are you comfortable with what they will see? They would also like to see the CRAs offer a guarantee of service.

OK, let me do a little preaching right now. If you are reading this and you are not active in NAPBS, you should volunteer now. This might be an investment of 20-40 hours a year but you will find it will pay off for you in multiples of that. Whether you are a business owner, an executive, a data entry specialist, or in HR, become active. You will benefit by meeting new friends, solving your problems, cementing business contacts and gettingahead in your career path. Go to NAPBS to pick a committee and join.

The non US based background screeners are in the process of forming their countrywide or geographic regional groups of NAPBS.

NAPBS has been instrumental in organizing us to be able to easily contact our state and federal representatives resulting in avoiding the passing of several laws unfavorable to you and your industry. Answer the call to email your representatives when the time comes. This is all done by volunteers. I am not sure how you could have missed the news, but Accreditation is going through the beta test cycle and great progress is being made. Get ready now. This is all done by volunteers.

The impact of the economy was on everyone’s mind. When we asked about sales patterns, we got the following feedback:

  • Business is starting to improve a tiny bit (except for those few companies that told me their sales were actually up a good amount over last year)
  • Companies are still looking for new things to sell and new ways to sell it.
  • Company websites, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn are all great marketing techniques.

Nothing much is happening right now regarding M&A in the industry. We just closed a deal on a tenant screening company, but the sellers of employment background screening companies are finding the valuations off too much from 1997 to sell at this point, even though we do have buyers.

Court Researchers:

The concerns expressed by local court researchers is that the hit rates keep rising. They were also not too pleased to see the new data extraction tool we introduced at the conference, called Dexter. This new service allows CRAs to XML their requests to Dexter to automatically do real time criminal record searches at the courthouse(s) and do a full extraction to XML to the CRA’s system.

Website Value:

Did you know that you can look up on the web how well your website is doing? And you can look up all your competitors and this is free. Did you just spend $$$ to upgrade your site and you don’t even make the top 40 on Google? Did you know that by changing your website name you are placed in Goggle’s sandbox for a minimum of six months? Do you think this one piece of knowledge is worth one or ten or twenty prospects? You would have learned this at the conference.

New Products:

You missed out on the following new products that were introduced at the show. And, I was too busy in my exhibit booth to even see them all.

Dexter computerized data extraction, real time, direct from the courthouse website, via a website or xml, less than it cost for you to do it manually and is more accurate.

Criminal record searches organized and reported the way you want as specified by your client.

Updated software platforms from all the major suppliers.

Fingerprints via a patented manual system with a five-minute learning process.

International searches.

Wholesalers who might give you better service/price/turnaround.

A Webinar Speakers Bureau that you can offer to your HR client.

Remember HR is responsible for education and training. They get a discount from your referral and you earn a few bucks for every $99 webinar they choose.

Very nice meals. Good quality from the hotel and a good selection by the organizers. Breakfast included pancakes three ways, custom cooked eggs, tons of coffee, water, juices and plenty of refreshments. Lunches were varied and had plenty of options and quantity and some nice snacks were provided in the afternoon. The closing dinner was attended by at least half the attendees. People did stick around. We all had fun and this was another opportunity to network.

The bar? Well how nice to be able to share with friends, acquaintances, and new members. If you were there, you will relate to the following:

Dirty Patti. Singing “Georgia” to precious Perry. Who done it? African food at Ten Degrees South. $50 cab ride to the airport. Katy Britto was a couple of weeks away from giving birth yet I found her on the elliptical at 7:30 am and working the weight machines-Go Katy. Paige Arrington with GAPRS is also expecting. Closing the bar at 1:15 am. Nice rooms. Good food. Good times.

Think about it this way, if you are not an NAPBS member (and not actively at the conferences) you are committing professional suicide. Join now, sign up for the spring conference and join a committee. This is your industry, so make the most of it.