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CHAPTER ONE (excerpt)

There is More Than One Type of Background Check

A call came into the office. It was from Deborah, the head

of an agency that provided temporary staffing for offices in

the city.

“I can’t seem to access my account,” she told Anna, one

of our receptionists. “Can you tell me how to log in?”

“No problem,” Anna said. “This happens all the time.

When did you last log in?”

Deborah’s response shocked Anna. “Never. I’ve never

logged in.”

Anna couldn’t believe what she was hearing. “My files

say that you’ve run over a hundred backgrounds checks over

the past two years with us. Are you saying that you’ve never

logged in to check the results on any of them? You’ve been

hiring people without knowing what the background checks

said? Do you even know which background checks you’ve

been running?”

That’s when the truth came out. Deborah didn’t know

anything about background checks. When she came on

board, she had dismissed any offer we made to explain the

details to her, claiming she understood it well enough already.

What Deborah meant was that she assumed she didn’t need

to know anything about them. In her words, “I figured that

simply having a background check in place would do the

job for me. They would scare off anyone with a record. If an

applicant had committed a crime, surely they wouldn’t apply

once they knew I’d find out about it.”

We immediately went into emergency mode and

reviewed every one of the background checks Deborah had

not looked at. We also gave her the login information (for

what it was worth).

It turned out, she had gotten extremely lucky. None of

her employees had a record. But I made sure to explain to her that zero out of a hundred was indeed extraordinarily good fortune in our line of work.

“From now on, I’m going to help you make smarter

choices—whether you want to listen or not,” I told her. “Let’s make sure you’ve got the right checks. And then, let’s make sure you’re reviewing the information when it comes in.”