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Background Checks In The News

Recently, I’ve noticed background checks are suddenly newsworthy! Unfortunately, it is not usually good news. For example, the recent navy yard shooting by the IT dude is a topic of interest by many talking heads. The one point they are quick to discuss is the background check (or lack thereof) of the shooter. No one really wants to come out and say it, but the background check done on the shooter by his employer wasn’t in depth. Like many companies, they probably chose the quick and dirty “basics”- sex offender, major crimes such as murder, etc. Many companies do not check for domestic violence or lesser crimes. This is unfortunate, because lesser crimes are usually a good indicator of a bigger problem.  I have to admit I’m not really sure if the shooter had any prior convictions. However, the company he worked for did admit they didn’t really look too deeply into his past. They said something about “a lot of people to check” in a short amount of time. It sounds like they did a data dumb, er, I mean data dump. That’s the same thing as asking the computer to run a bunch of names and provide you with the information it finds in a report. The problem is there is no one checking it for accuracy. A computer is only as smart as the person using it and/or the system carrying the data. Many of the databases do not share information. If you run a background check using databases A and B, but don’t check C, then you could be missing important information!
I cringe everytime I hear this type of story in the news, but hopefully other business owners can learn from the tragedy.