What Can Criminal Background Check Companies Learn From Steve Jobs?

criminal background check companiesSteve Jobs, the iconic co-founder of Apple, lost his battle with pancreatic cancer yesterday.  As I was standing in our kitchen last night after dinner, I was thinking about how much Steve Jobs has impacted our culture.  I looked around the kitchen and noticed one son texting on his iPod Touch, another son playing with my old iPhone that he uses for music, games and as a text machine, and my iPod was sitting on the counter. That does not take into account how bad I want and have been trying to justify an iPad (please Santa).

I love everything Apple has created over the past ten years.  The iPod replaced the CD player I wore on a belt around my waste when I would go running.  And heaven forbid if I ran for more than 30 minutes, I would have to listen to the same songs again.

Then came the iPod and it gave me the option of storing thousands of songs or podcasts.  And more importantly, a less than tech savvy guy like me could figure it out.

What happened was Steve Jobs and Apple created a culture and converted their followers to groupies.  They revolutionized personal computers and technology by creating “point and click” computers driven by a mouse.  Steve Jobs made technology simple yet powerful.

So as I am reflecting on Steve Job’s impact on the technology world, I cannot help but stop and look at criminal background check companies and ponder what we can learn from this great businessman.

I thought about why I have purchased so many Apple products over the past 10 years?  The simple answer is they are great products that have added value to my life or made my life easier.   They are reliable, consistent and always exceptional.

That is the company I set out to build in 2004.  A company that provides a consistent, reliable and exceptional service.

I also thought about the background screening industry.  How so few screening companies provide a reliable or consistent background check.  And listen, exceptional service is not a banner on your website.  It is a culture.

Now, to be fair, the same can be said of most industries.  For every Apple, there are thousands of low quality technology companies in the world.

The background screening industry is no different.  It is a highly unregulated industry that has been built on low quality products and services.

Yes, unregulated.  I made this comment recently and received a condescending email from a background screening colleague who disagreed.

How could you possibly disagree?

Do a Google search on background checks and look at all the $9 or $10 cheap products that are available.  These databases are terribly incomplete, in some instances contain fewer than 25% of records from a state, but yet are promoted to volunteer organizations as a simple, complete, low cost solution.

Where is the regulation?

Look at all the screening firms offering limited 7 year employee background checks.  Or only searching the name entered leaving off other names the applicant has been know by (maiden, former married, other, etc).

Where is the regulation?  Yes, I know the Fair Credit Reporting Act, EEOC, and state laws.  Only a handful of states restrict reporting to 7 years and the FCRA only restricts to 7 years for non-convictions and does not restrict at all if the salary of the applicant will exceed $75K.

The bottom line is great companies provide great products and services.  You are the consumer of background checks so demand this.  Demand great background checks.  Demand great service.  You have options.  There are some great background screening firms.

However, you are going to need to do your due diligence and wade through some sophisticated marketing programs.  You are going to need to educate yourself on the industry.

Steve Job’s has said:  “There's an old Wayne Gretzky quote that I love. 'I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.' And we've always tried to do that at Apple. Since the very, very beginning. And we always will.”

That is the type of background screening firm your are looking for.  Not a company that is looking in the rearview mirror or trying to replicate what their competitors are doing.  How boring.

Are you ready to do background screening correctly?   Download our 10 Things to Know Before Hiring a Background Screening Firm and arm yourself with the tools to conduct your due diligence on prospective criminal background check companies.

God bless Steve Job’s and his family.

Any Apple groupies out there?  Would you like to partner with a background screening firm that operates like Apple?