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Employment Screening and Background Check Didn’t Catch Murderer

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Standard employment screening and background checks routinely miss vital details, such as in the case of Dr. Amy Bishop, who allegedly went on a shooting massacre at the University of Alabama:

The Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act dictates that an arrest or dismissal (as in Dr. Bishop’s case—she escaped prosecution for killing her brother over seventeen years ago, and for an attempted pipe bombing after that), can’t be reported after seven years, unless the person makes more than $70,000 a year.

Ostensibly, her former employers, who knew about her attempted pipe bombing, were concerned about legal issues if they informed her prospective employer (U. of Alabama) about the issue. This is very common, where the former employer is afraid to say anything that could have legal consequences, so divulges only the bare minimum about the former employee, such as dates of employment.

Not surprisingly, her supervisor at University of Alabama found no red flags in her background check and employment screening.

Even if she had been convicted of a crime, many states’ (such as CA) statute of limitations runs out seven years or so after a sentence is served, for example, then it can’t be reported.

What do you do in the above situation, or when the person has a  spotless history, such as in this case where a teacher was arrested on suspicion of child cruelty for allegedly physically abusing one of her students?:

You’ve got to cover all the bases in your personal life, in your business if you’re a business owner, and in your career if you’re a hiring supervisor.

To do that, I recommend thorough background checks and employment screening, including a range of evaluations, such as handwriting analysis, in conjunction with other psychological testing methods, along with thorough interviews by multiple staff members (or at least get feedback from friends and acquaintances about personal, non-professional connections).

Incidentally, example red flags that would likely show up in a thorough assessment involving comprehensive astrology, numerology, and handwriting analysis of the alleged shooter mentioned above (if she consented to such an analysis and, or it was warranted based on feedback from a former associate, for example) include deep resentment, obsessive behavior, sensitivity to criticism, lack of impulse control, as well as other psychological problems. In such a case, the analyst would advise the hiring supervisor to investigate further the applicant’s personality. Please note that such clinical terms wouldn’t necessarily be utilized by the analyst due to legal concerns, and that the analyst’s main responsibility is to identify whether or not the subject is a match for the demanded job skills.

Considering the possible consequences, it pays to make an effort to reduce your risk through thorough appraisals.

Copyright © 2010 Scott Petullo

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