Sunday, July 29, 2018

Why You Need to Know How a “Certificate of Relief” will Help You Hire more Safely ~ even if Your New Hire has a Record!

Learn How a Certificate of Relief will Help You Safely Hire Ex-Offenders
Would You Hire Someone with a 
Criminal Record?

That is a question that plagues both employers and job applicants who have any kind of criminal history.

When it comes to employers, many are understandably wary of hiring applicants with a criminal record. They worry that they could cause problems for their company, their other employees, and their customers. They think that by hiring an ex-offender they are putting themselves and others at risk. 

Companies also fear that hiring someone who already has a criminal history makes them more vulnerable to negligent hiring lawsuits. Employers can be found liable if, while during the course of business, one of their employees commits a criminal offense or acts in any way that could cause harm to someone else. 

Ex-offenders also have their own set of worries and fears. They know that even after they have completed their sentences, they face a prejudice that is hard to overcome. And that prejudice is crystal clear when it comes to getting hired.

However, helping those with a criminal history get a job is not only important for them, it is good for our society as a whole. 

When criminals are released from jail or finish a period of probation, they are, for the first time in awhile, on their own. Many make vows to themselves that things are going to be different. They dream of being a self-reliant, responsible adult.

But the problem then becomes, how can they make that happen?


It all comes down to this ~ Find a Job!

Getting hired is the key! It is a huge step for any ex-offender when it comes time to start over. Being employed not only helps them financially, it also gives ex-offenders a sense of normalcy and, most importantly, pride.

Without that step up, many will re-offend and can even end up worse than before.

This is a problem not just for them, but for all of us ~ and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and many states are starting to take notice.

One of the latest ways that some states are helping ex-offenders get a new start is by granting them a “Certificate of Relief”.




A “Certificate of Relief” is a statement by the court that an ex-offender has met a certain pre-defined set of circumstances and conditions concerning their past conviction(s). This certificate is designed to help reduce the risk to employers who hire ex-offenders.

But this certification is not given to everyone. While specific criteria may vary state to state, common conditions that ex-offenders must meet to be granted a “Certificate of Relief” are:
  • A limited number of felonies and/or misdemeanors.
  • A specific period of time has passed since the completion of their sentence (may be 12 months or more) including any probation or parole assigned.
  • They must have completed all terms of their sentence(s) including probation, substance abuse or anger management treatment.
  • They have not violated or failed to comply with any term of their criminal sentence(s). 
  • They have no criminal charge(s) pending.
  • They must be engaged in, or seeking, lawful employment, an education, training, or registered in other rehabilitative programs or have a lawful source of support.
  • Belief of the court that granting the “Certificate of Relief” would not put the safety or welfare of the public or any individual at unreasonable risk.

But perhaps the most important result of a “Certificate of Relief”, at least to employers, is that it helps protect them from liability when it comes to most negligent hiring claims. 

Considering a "Certificate of Relief", along with other background check information, to determine employment helps prove that they have done their due diligence and vetted that employee to make the safest hire possible.

In addition to the “Certificate of Relief”, many other states are revamping their expungement procedures, especially when it comes to first-time, non-violent, offenders.

These states are passing legislation that will expand the ability of ex-offenders to have their record expunged.  

In many cases, it will be is as if their conviction never existed. A job applicant would be then be able to legally state that they have never been convicted of a crime.

Many believe it is a way to give an ex-offender a second chance. Others feel it is simply a way for those convicted of a crime to hide their past”.

Find out more about the pros and cons of expungement in “Expunging Criminal Records ~ What You Need to Know”!

I believe that a “Certificate of Relief” is of more value to an employer than an expungement.

A “Certificate of Relief” still reveals an applicant’s criminal history and it offers proof that the ex-offender has met a specific set of requirements and has taken steps to move beyond their past. It also offers some protection for employers.

An expungement, however, tries to “hide” a criminal history entirely from employers, while still making them vulnerable to potential negligent hiring lawsuits.

This is unfair and results in more employers being wary to hire ex-offenders at all.

No hiring decision should ever be made blindly. 

It is possible to hire an ex-offender and to do so safely and with eyes wide open.

The key is to never skip the background check. Be sure to do background checks on each and every new hire, and use re-screening and workplace observation post-hire!

Background checks play an essential role in any businesses’ hiring practices. They give you the information you need to make an informed and safe employment decision.


No matter what current or future employment laws and regulations dictate, it ultimately comes down to this ~ whether we choose to believe in second chances.

People cannot only be defined by their pasts. Our greatest ability as human beings is being able to learn from our mistakes. We need to recognize this.

We as employers and Background Check companies need to move past the notion that “Once a Criminal, Always a Criminal”.   

People can change.  And giving them another chance can help make that change more permanent”, excerpt from “Once a Criminal, Always a Criminal ~ Why We Need to Believe in Second Chances”!

Giving those with a criminal past a second chance, while protecting the interest of employers, is possible. And if more states consider offering a “Certificate of Relief” to qualified ex-offenders, we are closer than ever to making that a reality.

Authored by    


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Sunday, July 15, 2018

Do You Love Solving Puzzles? Then You Need to Think about a Career in Background Checks!


Doing a Good Background Check is like 
Solving a Puzzle.

You are given a set of pieces, “facts”, and asked to fit them together to form a comprehensive picture of your subject. In the case of employment background checks, these pieces come in the form of an applicant’s resume or application.


Your client, the employer, wants to know whether the information listed in that resume is true and accurate. Only then will they feel justified in making their new hire.

Your job is to do the research necessary and provide them with the verified pieces of information they need. Those pieces are then used to form a bigger picture of the applicant.


This is the puzzle you are asked to solve ~ and I find this work fascinating!

By nature, I am a curious person. I love to learn about people ~ their skills, their interests, and what drives them.

Doing background checks is a natural extension of this curiosity.

By nature, we are curious creatures. We wonder and surmise about many things. 

I know I am never happier than when I have a puzzle to solve. That is why I find myself again and again drawn to mysteries, both fictional and real-life.  

And I believe that is what has lead me along my career path ~ running my own Background Check investigation company!

My love of a good mystery helped me develop my critical thinking. It has also taught me how to evaluate information, how to examine things below the surface, and how to take random pieces of information and form a picture that leads to a solution.


These traits have been invaluable assets in my business.  


Many times the investigations I run are all about analyzing clues and getting a clear picture of my subject, whether it is a person or a business. Either way, I need to gather and determine the accuracy of information. I also need to put those pieces together.


This is the profile I then supply my client. They trust me to weed through data and present them with a clear and concise solution”, excerpt from  “How Following my Love of Mysteries Lead Me to My Perfect Business”!





Finding a career that speaks to your interests, skills, and talents is key. When that happens, you will find the most fulfillment and success.

I find the entire process of background checks and due diligence investigations immensely satisfying. I love taking the multiple pieces I discover about an applicant, or even a company, and turning that into a comprehensive and verified profile for my clients.

So why not put your own Puzzle Solving Skills to Good Use?


If you have the same curiosity, a love for solving puzzles, and a drive to find a solution to problems, then you should consider a career in background checks!


You may find it the perfect way to turn something that you love into a real career!


Do you think you might be ready to take the next step start a job doing background checks, or simply want more information? Or maybe you may even be thinking about starting a screening company of your own?


We are ready to answer your questions and offer the business mentoring services that can help!

Our Mentoring Services include sessions designed to cover both general topics, those relevant to all small businesses, and background check specific topics for those that want to start their own screening company.

Our General Business Sessions cover: 

  • “Running a Small Business” - an overview
  • Setting Up Your Business - an overview
  • Choosing Your Products and/or Services
  • The Pros and Cons of Outsourcing
  • Marketing Your Business
  • Social Media and Your Brand
  • Business Blogging


We also offer sessions specific to the background check industry. These cover topics such as:

  • How to Do a Background Check - general topics and step by step guides
  • Creating Compliant Release and Disclosure Forms
  • Understanding and Creating Your Reports
  • Compliance with Federal, State, and Local Laws
  • How to Do the Research
  • How to Safely Deal with PII (Personal Identifying Information)
  • Creating a Company Privacy Statement
  • How to Deal with Delays
  • and much more

Discover more about how API can help you start or revamp your business here and 
Contact Us Today!



So, if are you driven by curiosity and puzzle solving, then doing background checks might be just the place where you find your true calling.


What are You Waiting for? Get Started Now!


Authored by  



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Sunday, July 1, 2018

Why You Need to Worry What Your Online Activity Says about You!


We are living in very interesting times. 
Our country seems to be divided over a multitude of issues, with no reconciliation in sight.

Everything from Immigration, Minority Rights, Health Care…and these just top the list… instigates arguments, even among friends.


And while healthy debate and peaceful protest have been, and I hope always will be, a vital part of who we are as a country and as people, somethings seem to be lost ~ namely our Humanity and Civility.

The fundamental differences between us are now cause for a growing amount of divisiveness and fear. Protests often lead to violence. Streets are blocked and people are accosting each other with words and actions, even to the point of destroying property and causing physical harm.


Although this behavior certainly has me worried, this divisiveness is even more apparent online. 

Social Media is being used in a way that I believe was never intended. Instead of hopping online to chat with our connections and see what they are up to, visit our favorite business pages, and even read an amusing meme or two, our feeds are filled with arguments, name-calling, and intolerance.

Each side in these arguments is so sure they are right that neither is interested in listening to anyone with a different point of view. Instead they will cite “facts” to support their cause, simply taking at face value anything that helps them prove their point and dismissing anything that doesn’t.

So, what used to be a way to stay connected with family and friends has now often become something mean spirited and a cause of anxiety for many.

Even more troubling is that being online seems to give many the illusion of being “anonymous”. This makes many feel a sense of freedom to say anything and everything they want without restraint.

Personally, much of what I see online just makes me sad.

I find myself blocking sites, and even certain people, simply because of the things they post. But, even more importantly, I worry about what this is all saying about us as people. 

Is what we see online showing us as a country filled with people who are caring, empathetic, proud, and kind? Or does it make us look mean-spirited and intolerant.

Are you ready to ask yourself what your online activity is really saying about you?




I think if we take a hard look and are honest with ourselves, we may not like what we see.

That is why I practice my “4 Question Rule” when I am online.

Before I post or “like” anything, I ask myself:

  1. Am I proud, interested, or entertained by what I am about to “like” or share?
  2. Will I continue to feel that way days ,weeks, or even years after I post it?
  3. Would I want my children or grandchildren to read what I post?
  4. Do I have real facts to back up what I am saying, or at least the conviction that it is meant to truly help others?

Only if I am satisfied with the answers will I then hit “like” or post it! My goal is to try to keep in mind what effect my posts will have on others and not go out of my way to hurt or truly offend anyone.

I think what I post says a lot about me as a human being. It is a glimpse into my beliefs and values ~ and I want that picture to be a positive one.

And if you have a business or are looking for a job, what you post and the picture it paints can have more of an impact!

Facebook “likes” can present a picture of who you are and what you think. Some things, like causes you believe in, you may want to share. While other things, like your politics, you may not.

While this may not mean much if you simply use Facebook to connect with friends, for those of you cultivating an online business presence, this can be more problematic.


The professional brand you build needs to be protected. Creating trust between yourself and your customers takes time. But it can take very little to lose it”, excerpt from “Ready to Improve Your Brand? Why You Need Think Before Clicking “Like”!

If You have a Business, keep this in mind ~ What you post can alienate existing or potential clients and it may even attract interest you never intended.  

If You are looking for a Job or Promotion, understand that your social posts  and activity may reveal information to a potential employer you don’t want them to know, things like your personal beliefs, party behavior, and more.

Read more about the power of your social media posts and “likes” here!

It is important to understand early the potential impact of our social posts on our image and future employment. We need to be aware that what we share online paints a picture of us ~ and our goal should be for that picture to be a positive one. 


That is why we need to start early. We must teach our children how to use social media responsibly.

This is especially important because of the increasing use of “Social Media Checks” in determining employment and even promotions.

This type of check is becoming a more common part of many background checks. Companies and colleges will search online for both positive and negative posts that could have an impact on their admittance or employment decisions.

Parents and young people should be aware that their social media posts will have an impact on how they are perceived. They can result in them being seen in either a positive or a negative light”, and that this can have an impact on their future.

Find out more in “What We Need to Do to Help Our Children Get Ready for College, the Job Market, and Background Checks”.

But remember, if what you are posting is in support of something you truly believe in, 
Go for It! 
That is when you should be ready and willing to Stand Up!

But posting something without any real truth to back it up, or simply to agitate or hurt others, is not only irresponsible, it is ignorant. When I post anything, I will I OWN IT ~ both personally and professionally!

It is up to us, as adults, to set a positive example. We all need to be more aware about what we share online and the impact that what we share may have on our image and on others.


Instead of using our social posts as a way to lash out and “prove” to others just how wrong they are, take the high road.
Why not simply practice a little civility?


Authored by   



for more information on using Employment Background Checks in your business or how You can get Your Resume “Background Check Ready”!



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