Pre-Employment Screeners 2005 Conference

Pre-Employment Screeners 2005 Conference


Congratulations to Steve Brownstein and Phyllis Nadel of The Background Investigator for the great conference they put on this past week. They had about 300 in attendance with more than 2 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 perfect with lots of opportunities to walk on the beach, put our feet in the sand and watch the beautiful sunsets. That is, if you dragged yourself out of the very active bar.

 Exhibitor Highlights:

The exhibitor booths were always busy and as an attendee I didn’t even have enough time to get to the mall. There were:

  • 7 Criminal Records Providers
  • 8 Software/ASPs
  • 5 Data Providers
  • 2 MVRs
  • 2 Drug TPAs
  • 1 Prior Employer Verifications
  • 5 Misc.

On Sunday evening the reception was to last until 9:30, but went to 10:30 and then moved into the bar. We had the opportunity to meet some special new people and to make several re-acquaintances. I even met someone I have known on the phone for years, but never met in person. It was great.

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. Hopefully NAPBS over the next couple of years will be able work to get national legislation that will make for consistent laws applicable in every state. (And, if you noticed, I learned my lesson and was not wearing a necktie.) Les talked about OVER REPORTING-reporting crimes not reportable either due to limitation on CRA or limitation on what employer is allowed to use and UNDER REPORTING-not reporting criminal matter employer can use,such as arrests in states where there is no prohibition on arrest or limiting criminal search to seven years in non-seven year states or not understanding seven year rule.

After a morning of lawyers telling us the dangers we face, we had a nice lunch on the beach followed by the ever vivacious Tammy Cohen talking about Women in the workplace. Then we heard an excellent presentation by Cherie Smith Homa about valuing a Background Screening Company. Given my experience in the M&A area in our industry, she was pretty much right on target with her well-presented comments [Blatant commercial: While KPMG is a fine operation and Cherie is a professional as they come, be sure to use Berg Consulting Group for your M&A activity]. This was followed by a couple of presentations regarding international searches, which are growing in popularity and Steve Brownstein told some interesting experiences he has had in his international search business.

We had a great dinner that evening with a couple of pretty sharp investment banker types. There are buyers out there and people are still very interested in acquiring their way into our industry, which they see as still having great growth opportunities with very attractive profitability [Blatant commercial: Call me if you want to chat about buying or selling].

We retired to the bar for more networking and watched the Eagles blow the game and give it to Dallas.

Tuesday was another great day of education sessions including Jason Morris’ 5 Things That Will Impact the Screening Industry in the Next 12 Months, a very detailed education session on the Los Angeles county court set up by Rafael Jorge, a superb presentation on internet marketing, and a gut wrenching session by Lucia Bone, the sister of a person that was raped and murdered as a result of Negligent Hiring ( This presentation really made you proud that you are in this industry and helping so many others avoid this kind of tragedy.

Tuesday evening we had a great dinner with some special people where we were able to share and extend our friendships.

Rick Kurland from Employment Backgrounds Investigations had to leave in a rush early Tuesday evening after his wife called and said they had a fire at their house. Apparently some leaves gathered on some halogen outdoor lighting and whoosh! All is OK.

Wednesday was another beautiful day and Mike Coffey gave some nice insight in how to dig deeper when doing a more investigative type background check (e.g. did you know that 911 calls are public information?Did your subject have 911 calls made from his home for domestic violence?) and Jason Morris gave us an update on the progress/issues of NAPBS including open access to NCIC, electronic access to NCIC, funding for the lobbyist we have engaged, privacy, redacting identifiers, physical inspection requirements by the credit bureaus, etc. He also advised that NAPBS, as part of IRS requirements to retain our status as a non-profit,must make donations. NAPBS made donations to agencies that assist ex-cons obtain gainful employment.This helps to underscored that our job in this industry is not keeping people from working, it is Helping the Right People get the Right Jobs.

When the last session ended on Wednesday and it was time to leave, what was different about this conference was that so many people were sad to go. The atmosphere was so positive and the attendees so relaxed and 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.

Other stuff: had some interesting products including a new proprietary wants and warrants database coming in 2006.

Form I-9 Compliance. The only company I know with this service.

Again, I received several requests for good salespeople with industry experience. Maybe I should put up a job board on my website.

Lastly, at the NAPBS conference, we advertised that our clients have saved $1,157,686 using our cost savings services and I was asked how that is progressing. I am pleased to report we are now at a cumulative savings for our clients of $1,648,721 and they report their overall turnaround time is significantly reduced.  In January we will be offering our clients SMARTS when we introduce our web based solution. SMARTS is for Saving Methods And Reduced Time Sources. This will be a great tool to instantly communicate to all our clients any new potential savings and give the client a tool to really manage the testing and adoption of the sources we recommend.

Thanks again to Steve and Phyllis for a great conference.

We wish everyone a great Thanksgiving.

We live in a great country that has allowed so many of us to have such wonderful lives.

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