Pre-Employment Screeners 2006 Conference

Pre-Employment Screeners 2006 Conference


Congratulations to Steve Brownstein and Phyllis Nadel of The Background Investigator for another superb conference. Attendance was 401, up substantially from 2005, with more than two dozen vendors exhibiting their services to the industry and a slate of interesting, professional presenters keying in on topics extremely important to the attendees.

The weather was a little cool for a Floridian, but otherwise beautiful with attendees taking advantage of a nice walk on the beach and a lot of communication in the hot tub. And, of course, you could always find an interesting conversation in the bar or in the lobby area.

Exhibitor Highlights:

The 41 exhibitor booths were busy. There were:

  • 13 Criminal Records Providers (7 last year)
  • 10 Software/ASPs (8 last year)
  • 5 Data Providers
  • 1 MVRs (2 last year)
  • 1 Drug TPA
  • 1 Prior Employer Verifications
  • 9 Misc.
  • 1 Consulting firm

On Sunday evening the reception was to last until 9:30, but went to well past that and then moved into the bar or the hot tub or the beach or to a restaurant in town. We had the opportunity to meet some special new people and to make several re-acquaintances. We had four of our five employees there and everyone was networking.

Up early on Monday for the sessions on Legal Risk Management by Les Rosen who once again threw the “fear of the gods” into us about the legal minefield we all need to navigate carefully to avoid liability. Subjects like:Credit Reports-can you use them for pre-employment screening? How much are you really protected by an Adverse Action Notice? In NY and NJ cannot report “non-criminal” offenses, like “public offenses” and “violations” as a “criminal record”, but should specify it is non-criminal. And how about those 12 states where you must verify a database record with the most recent information, not just send out an Adverse Action notice. A great lesson is when you do get a consumer call to dispute the record or to complain, make each contact an opportunity to be on their side, as people don’t typically sue those who are helping them. And document all calls and related actions. By the way, how strong is your compliance department?

Cheri Homa of KPMG gave another interesting presentation on the business side of business and addressed things like sales person compensation from the study they did of the industry. One key point was made about company value: when you decide to sell, will the value be based on “individual value” or “enterprise value.” Seethe point? If your value is based on the individual who owns the company vs. the value of the company without you, then a buyer may assign a lower value.

Lunch outdoors on the beach is worth the price of admission and the chance, again to meet and greet.

Bob Vale (ClearStar) was back and on stage, and it was a pleasure to be able to listen to him speak, albeit a little rough around the edges due to his weak voice. Too much talking in too loud rooms? Glad to see Bob’s feeling better.

Steve Brownstein announced that they are organizing a screeners conference in India for 2007 and, in Sept2007, a conference directed toward HR and security buyers of background screening products.

We were graciously invited to dinner with the conference organizers and more networking and sharing and fun.

We retired to the bar for more networking where this time I learned more about the challenges facing tenant screening companies.

Tuesday was another great day of education sessions including “Ask a Lawyer” with Les Rosen, Art Cohen and Pam Devata giving a couple of hours of great, specific answers to questions submitted by the attendees.Great concept, well executed. [Now if we can only get the attorneys to agree with each other, we will really have accomplished something!] Some examples: Illinois, cannot report arrest records; TX their 7 year rule is pre-empted by the Federal FCRA; Red Light/Green Light Decision made by the CRA are at odds with EEOC rule that there should be no automatic disqualification and the hiring application of the background check should be based on the person as an individual; WI, NY-to disqualify, it must be a job related crime. NAPBS has a goal to work toward national legislation that will make for consistent laws applicable in every state. Does your user agreement include a “scope of work” statement, an indemnity clause and a disclaimer that you are not giving legal advice?

Florida Drug Screening had a session which I heard was done very well by Todd Shoulberg and Craig Caddell (ReferencePro) gave a session on best practices for verifications and references.

Tuesday evening we had a great dinner with some special people where we were able to share and extend our friendships. Then, back to the bar to learn more.

Wednesday was another beautiful day and in spite of the fact that many had left the night before or early in the morning, Rafael Jorge, Dean Carras and B. Zimmerman conducted a great panel discussion aboutfield researchers. A key question was do you want your field researcher to be a service person or do you just want a commodity? Patty McGowan did a “Women in Pre-employment” session. One key point related to your status as a woman owned or minority owned business. Why just be a 51% owner when you can be a70% or even a 100% owner. If you are looking for set asides because you fall in this category, the buyer may prefer a 90% woman owned business to one that is just 51% (nominally). The session was closed with a moving presentation by Lucia Bone with the Sue Weaver CAUSE (Consumer Awareness of Unsafe Service Employment). More on this at the end of this summary.

Since I could not be everyplace at once, I missed presentations by Todd Salmi (deverus), Debbie Weil, Mike Coffee and Jason Morris. Sorry I missed these, but others told me they found these presentations enjoyable and educational.

When the last session ended on Wednesday and it was time to leave, some people almost had a tear in their eye. We made so many new friends and learned so much that it was just kind of sad to have to go back to real life.

Danger signs heard at the conference:

  1. “Be careful what you say to Bruce because it may end up in this report”. Yes, there is some danger of this, but the reality is we hear so much more that we cannot print, because of our unique confidential status.
  2. “If someone is seen talking to Bruce in a side meeting, be careful because the rumors will start that you are selling your company”. This put a smile on my face, because, while there is a grain of truth to this, it could also mean they are trying to acquire or it may be just they want to “ask Bruce”. Of course I did field a lot of questions about buying, selling and valuing.

OK, now this is amazing: I spoke to one company that I have been chatting with over the past three years at conferences and advising them that they should get on software. Three years and, finally, this year, they were extolling the wonderful benefits of getting rid of paper, improving their customer service, no longer having to enter orders, etc., etc, etc. Folks, if you are operating by fax and email without using one of the many software providers, call me and let me point you in the right direction. Don’t read the rest of this report, don’t wait three years, call me now 561-712-1277!!!!

Other stuff:

The FBI has just awarded half a dozen companies the right to access their fingerprint files for end users.Apparently, the FBI was having difficulty handling the increasing number of fingerprint cards being processed and sought private enterprise to help.

Is it true that one company was clandestinely video recording another company’s sales rep giving a presentation at the conference?

Missing Exhibitors

  • At the 2005 meeting they introduced some interesting products including a new proprietary wants and warrants database coming in 2006.
  • Form I-9 Compliance.
  • Advanced.Net Solutions software
  • Vincera

Again, we received several requests for good salespeople with industry experience. Please use our job board to post openings or search for candidates:

It was a great conference.

We wish everyone a great Thanksgiving.

And remember at your turkey dinner to give thanks for and to our troops around the world.

Sue Weaver CAUSE (Consumer Awareness of Unsafe Service Employment) I was so moved by the presentation by Lucia Bone, that I have decided instead of sending our usual holiday fruit packages to our special business friends, we will be spending our money to make a donation to this CAUSE and plan to send each a gift DVD presentation that can be used to help employees understand the value of their work and to remind employers of the criticality of doing background checks.

In addition, for any new client that signs up for our  Source Improvement and Lower Cost (SILC) cost savings program (minimum quantities apply) before Valentine’s day 2007, we will donate to this great cause, 100% of what we earn during your first full month of savings, up to a total of $100,000. Sign up now and help this great cause, which in turn helps our industry.

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