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Not a typical Background Question...BI prefer to answer


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  • Not a typical Background Question...BI prefer to answer

    I'm a new BI looking for advice on how to properly conduct a BI.

    I have only done one BI without any training. All I am told is to contact the previous employees and if they request, to fax or email the applicants waiver to them. Also, I was given a list of questions to ask previous employers about the applicant.

    The main question I have are, as the BI, is it part of the process for me to recommend a canadiate not be selected to contine in the process, or is it to just do my documentation and a summarization of facts of those employers that did elect to answer my questions?

    During the BI that I did, I found lots of issues that I would classify as questionable and when I spoke to the applicant, I got the feeling he was not forthcoming and truthful in reference to what I found. Also, alot of his previous employers would not disclose any information about him period.

    That to me were huge red flags and all I did was write up my summarization and submit it to the higher ups.

    Is that the correct way to do a BI? Would I be within the scope of being a BI to actually recommend or not recommend a applicant for further consideration?

    I have requested to go to a 2 day BI course, but the course was cancelled and havent found another course being offiered.

    "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called Sons of God - Matthew 5:9

  • #2
    Let's take a quick look at what a Background Investigation is supposed to do. First, it establishes whether or not an applicant meets the minimum standards for employment with your Agency. Age, education, citizenship, etc. Secondly, the investigation determines whether or not the applicant meets an agencies' criteria for disqualification. This would include, but not be limited to, such considerations as felony arrests/convictions, arrest/traffic violation histories, financial responsibility, past work history. With most agencies, the BI will report on and document his/her findings. These findings are then forwarded to those who actually make the hiring decisions.


    • #3
      I would ask your supervisor/CEO as to if they want your opinions as well as the facts you develop during your investigation.

      Opinions count ------ below is a post I made a while back, while it deals with an interview situation---it shows WHY experienced people are placed in the hiring process.
      Originally posted by Iowa #1603 View Post
      When people question the decision of the hiring authority or the decisions made by the interview panel, I like to relate a personal experience that hints at what might come into play during an interview.

      My partner and I were conducting an interview panel a few years ago. Towards the end of a long day of probably 20 interviews we had a "breath of fresh air" come into our room

      Male, mid to late 30's, 3 piece suit, hair nicely groomed, presently working in real estate, good work history, no criminal history, no drivers violation history to speak of, basically a excellent candidate for employment as a Correctional Officer.

      He "nailed" the interview questions in as much that his score on the interview along with his basic background should have been more than enough for us to recommend that he be hired.

      HOWEVER, the hair on the back of my neck stood up on end during the entire interview. Something was wrong. We asked the person to step out (common practice to score the interview then talk to the candidate again) while we talked. My partner had the same concern that I did , even though we didn't know exactly why=======we both knew we didn't want to hire this guy.

      We scored the interview very critically. We used a lot of subjective observations based on our experience both as officers and as supervisors. The score ended up right on the border of hiring. We chose not to recommend and he was not hired.

      6 months later I was watching the news on TV, and saw a team of US Fish & Wildlife 1811 agents, Iowa DNR, and local police searching is farm after he was arrested in another state for trafficking of illegal exotic reptiles. The news reported that the arrest was the culmination of a 2 yr investigation by the feds.

      I was happy that we had the discretion to make a subjective decision based on our experience rather than relying on just the facts and figures in his application and interview.

      Since some people need to be told by notes in crayon .......Don't PM me with without prior permission. If you can't discuss the situation in the open forum ----it must not be that important

      My new word for the day is FOCUS, when someone irritates you tell them to FOCUS


      • #4
        It's going to depend on your department policy (ask your supervisor) but in the agencies I have worked for, it has been BI's responsibility to make the recommendation. However, it needs to be clear that we were not allowed to impose our own personal philosophy or ideas as to whether an applicant passed or not. Instead, like establishing the elements of a crime, an applicant could only be disqualified if the BI spelled out how the applicant met specific departmental criteria for DQ. This was usually done by describing how certain events in their personal history or how specific patterns of conduct demonstrated that they meet departmental disqualification criteria. The next level or review either approved the recommendation or rejected it and sent the package back to the BI for further work.

        It's been a while since I did backgrounds so I don't have access to the specific DQ criteria we used for peace officers. However, the list of general DQ criteria for all state employees usually gave us the easiest ammunition to work with. It read:

        All candidates for, appointees to, and employees in the state civil service shall possess the general qualifications of integrity, honesty, sobriety, dependability, industry, thoroughness, accuracy, good judgment, initiative, resourcefulness, courtesy, ability to work cooperatively with others, willingness and ability to assume the responsibilities and to conform to the conditions of work characteristic of the employment, and a state of health, consistent with the ability to perform the assigned duties of the class. Where the position requires the driving of an automobile, the employee must have a valid state driver's license, a good driving record and is expected to drive the car safely. The foregoing general qualifications shall be deemed to be a part of the personal characteristics of the minimum qualifications of each class specification and need not be specifically set forth therein.that whole list of DQ criteria.

        Using this general criteria alone made it easy to DQ an applicant. For example, lets assume a number of things listed in a personal history statement turn out to be inaccurate, the applicant claims they misunderstood the questions or made simple mistakes, your gut tells you they are lying but you can't prove it. They are either

        1. lacking in honesty, which is a minimum requirement for the job, or

        2. lacking in thoroughness, accuracy and good judgment, which are also minimum requirements for the job, or

        3. lacking in the ability to follow simple written instructions, which are also minimum requirements for the job (found on another job description).

        So, no matter which excuse they fall back on, they have met one of three solid DQ criteria (take your pick). This holds up a lot better in an appeals hearing than you saying "I dumped him because my gut told me he was holding something back."

        Of course, your agency will have its own specific DQ criteria. Work within it's clear cut guidelines and you should be ok. Even if you are an "at will" agency and not civil service, it is important to be able to articulate specific, job related reasons for DQ, as a rejected applicant can still file a Federal EEOC lawsuit that you may have to defend against, and saying things like "I just had a gut feeling," or, "he seemed like a bad fit," "or I couldn't get enough information to make a decision one way or the other," won't cut it.

        As a side note, the fact that an employer will not speak with you about a past employee can not be used to DQ them any more than a potential witness' refusal to talk to you can be used to incriminate a crime suspect. As a matter of policy, many employers will only confirm dates of employment, salary earned and nothing more. Granted, some may be hiding bad conduct, while others may be hiding their own incompetence, or out of vindictiveness, may be withholding a well deserved performance rating because they are mad the employee wants to leave.

        Until you get sent to training, you may want to download and print out this background investigation manual found at http://lib.post.ca.gov/Publications/bi.pdf Granted, it is the California standard, however, the principles and reasoning behind it are fairly universal throughout the US when it comes to backgrounds and it gives you a good format for writing and packaging a detailed report.
        Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere


        • #5
          Where I work, and from classes I've attended, I don't make a yes or no for an applicant. I only present the facts to the boss. The first thing I'd do is attend a school on how to conduct backgrounds. This investigation is one of the most important investigations that you will ever conduct. You know the saying....it only takes one bad apple....well, that applies here.

          The first thing you need to do is find what TX defines as a DQ. Also, check state law to concerning backgrounds. Then you need to determine what will DQ somebody from your department. If you PM your email address, I'll send you via PDF of our background packet if you want. I stole it from St. Paul PD (with their blessings and changed it) so I'll share it with you.

          In MN employers MUST give information to police departments and fire departments if they are conducting a background investigation if a signed release is given to them. I've had to pull out state law concerning this issue, threatening letters, and calls to the state attorney general office for non-compliance. If an employer fails to give the information they can lose the ability to conduct business in MN. This is why you need to learn your laws.

          In MN, the applicant is entitled to the background if it is requested. So, do a fare and complete job since it will follow them around. You should contact other BI who have done background on your applicant. Take those for what they are worth and always do your own job considering some backgrounds I've seen in the past. My reports vary from 5 or 6 pages to the most 23 pages. To cover this topic here wouldn't do it justice.


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