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Background Checks Archive

7 Reasons Why Even The Most Perceptive Sometimes Misread People

Monday, July 22nd, 2019
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One of the most useful abilities is to be able to read other people and identify strengths, or detect personality red flags, such as deceit.

Many successful business owners, CEOs, and others possess this talent; they usually don’t need to hire psychics, psychologists, handwriting analysts, astrologers, and other personality analysis professionals, or private investigators and security investigation firms.

The operative word is “usually.” Nobody is 100% accurate all the time. 80% of the time those with penetrating insight can get an accurate read on another person after a few minutes of conversation. But 20% of the time, he or she needs help.

“The easiest way to be cheated is to believe yourself to be more cunning than others.”
Pierre Charron

Below I list seven reasons why even the most perceptive sometimes misread other people.

  1. Collective Universal timing (i.e., eclipses, retrogrades, Moon Voids of Course, etc.) symbolically interferes with his or her perception. For example, a business owner first learns of a prospective hire during questionable collective Universal timing, including an eclipse, and then first meets with the prospective hire during a Moon Void of Course. Questionable Universal timing symbolizes warped perception.
  2. His personal timing is off, also symbolizing questionable perception.
  3. The person she is meeting with is a master of deception.
  4. The person he is meeting is illusionary to him in relation to the astrology and numerology patterns. It can happen to the most discerning individuals: he can’t see what’s wrong with a particular person until it’s too late because the energy connection prohibits it.
  5. The astrology and numerology compatibility patterns dictate that she owes him, and she overlooks the glaring red flags in hiring him to her detriment.
  6. The astrology and numerology compatibility patterns indicate the new hire has a natural power over the business owner. She slips through the hiring process due to the exceptional bond, drastically in her favor, with the business owner.
  7. He isn’t at the top of his game and is having a bad day, and misreads the subject.

I recommend you avoid relying entirely on gut instinct and instead have a thorough system of checks and balances to screen potential hires, or anyone else that may pose a risk to your livelihood.

Copyright © 2019 Scott Petullo

One Surefire Way to Avoid Misjudging a Person

Monday, May 20th, 2019
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In business negotiations or everyday life, overestimating or underestimating someone can cause significant loss and wasted time.

A sure way to avoid misjudging someone is to find out what he values and what he doesn’t value.

In other words, if you know what motivates him, it’s a significant piece of data that will help you avoid misjudging him, thus know how to negotiate to your advantage. Offer him what he truly wants instead of what he doesn’t, because he appreciates it more than anything.

For example, you may be convinced she’s primarily motivated by financial rewards and security, but later discover she’s driven more by ego needs and approval, mostly due to her hidden insecurities. She has always needed to prove to herself and everyone else she’s good enough, but it’s unfortunate you found that out after the negotiations.

Appearances can be misleading, and self-assessments are notoriously inaccurate simply because most people just don’t thoroughly know themselves on an unconscious level. Subconscious motivations often differ greatly from consciously perceived ones. It’s frequently a surprise to find out a person’s true motivations—sometimes a nasty surprise, and sometimes a pleasant surprise. Extremes are easy to assess.

In my Motivation Assessment Analyses, I evaluate these core thirteen human motivations: financial rewards/materialism; altruism; ego needs; personal accomplishment; leadership; approval; challenge; social involvement; practical interests; security; knowledge/theory; creativity; pleasure.

Avoid intelligence failures. Don’t listen to what a person says about what motivates him or her. Instead, watch what they do, if you have enough time and resources to hire a private investigator. If not, unconventional security investigations, in conjunction with other forms of assessment (including your own observations) can help you save an enormous amount of time and money.

Copyright © 2019 Scott Petullo

The Ideal Partner Possesses These Ten Qualities

Sunday, October 14th, 2018
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Nobody is perfect, but select, dominant personality traits make a person either irresistible, or the opposite, incorrigible.

Everyone has his or her own unique challenging personality traits, to various degrees. Severe, dangerous cases aren’t common, but given there’s at least a chance the person may be a problem for you, leaping without looking isn’t advised.

Below I list ten common, admirable personality traits.

  1. Emotional balance and emotional maturity ensure you can talk through complex issues with your partner without him or her lapsing into a childish and impossible to deal with disposition.
  2. A lack of defiance and stubbornness means your partner is flexible enough to reason and compromise when appropriate.
  3. Authentic humility and modesty translates into a lack of vanity and narcissism. The narcissist’s demands make it a one-sided partnership; he needs near constant attention, praise, and admiration, or he is likely to be unhappy.
  4. A healthy, but not excessive, desire for the acquisition of money assures your partner won’t put the love of money above all else.
  5. A big picture outlook, instead of perfectionism and excessive attention to detail, makes a better partner.
  6. The ability to cope with a reasonable amount of constructive criticism, and a lack of excessive inhibition allow for a healthy alliance.
  7. Objectivity ensures the person won’t hinder himself or herself, and the partnership, with self-deception and excessive fantasy oriented thinking. An inferior sense of discernment can potentially be devastating.
  8. Integrity is one of the most desirable traits a person can have. Those who have great difficulty living up to his or her asserted convictions make appalling partners.
  9. Honesty is also one of the most agreeable traits, for obvious reasons. Insincerity, deception, and lies ruin many unions.
  10. Transparency means you won’t be kept in the dark about important matters. Excessive secretiveness and evasiveness aren’t admirable characteristics.

Please note: clinical behavioral terms (and other extreme expressions and conditions) such as “narcissistic,” “prejudiced,” “evasive,” “envious,” “paranoid,” “confrontational,” “sadistic,” “defiant,” “emotionally unbalanced,” “mental disorder,” “dejected,” “depressed,” “psychotic,” “vindictive,” “deceitful,” “domineering,” “dumb,” “psychosis,” “pathological,” “duplicitous,” “two-faced,” “hot-tempered,” “lacking in integrity,” and “dishonest” aren’t typically addressed in assessments related to potential hires (or other, similar situations) because they are unrelated to the personality qualities needed to successfully do a job. In order to do an assessment under normal conditions within ethical boundaries, the subject first allows permission for the formal analysis. Extreme situations such as an innocent person’s life being at risk and, or dealing with a dangerous criminal might warrant an analysis involving the types of personality characteristics featured in this article.

All of the above personality traits (in the extreme—high risk territory), negative and positive, are readily identified through unconventional security investigations.

While it’s true the perfect partner, either business or personal, doesn’t exist, you can make your life easier by identifying negative attributes before it’s too late.

Copyright © 2018 Scott Petullo

A Common Error That Kills Objectivity

Sunday, December 3rd, 2017
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Bias is one of the most common problematic personality traits.

The inability to make impartial decisions blocks professional success, and destroys personal relationships. It ranks right up there with other atrocious red-flag personality traits such as indecisiveness, dishonesty, vanity, volatile emotions, lack of analytical ability, and lack of discretion.

Bias comes in many forms, and almost everyone possesses some degree of intolerance, but few seem to recognize one of the key factors in the problem with partiality: the subconscious mind.

Being ignorant of or refusing to acknowledge the power of your subconscious mind as it relates to objectivity is one of the most common errors that kill fair-mindedness.

Your perception of others is obscured by your subconscious fears and defenses. The stronger your unconscious fears and defenses, the more likely you are to misread someone upon first meeting, and the longer it will take you to perceive clearly the person’s authentic character, including strengths and challenges.

Examples of subconscious fears include fear of success, fear of abandonment, fear of losing control, fear of failure, perfectionism, conflict avoidance, and timidity. Examples of subconscious defense mechanisms include defiance, excessive secretiveness, domineering behavior, evasiveness, and self-deception.

Aside from distinguishing indisputable facts, no matter how keen your rapid cognitive function, you are likely to see the person as you are, not as they are. Prejudice (almost nobody is exempt), in varying degrees, is a ubiquitous subconscious fear, no matter what a person tells you otherwise. The truth is, most people simply aren’t familiar with the innate fears and defenses hidden in their subconscious mind, which distort their judgment.

Again, everyone is capable of exhibiting bias to some degree, but a severely prejudiced person can be a significant problem in your personal or professional life. Yet troublesome characteristics on the other side of the spectrum, such as lacking a sense of discernment, excessive naiveté, and gullibility can be equally harmful.

One way to get an idea about the level of innate bias a person may have is to ask his or her opinion about a well-known celebrity or politician. Even better, focus on specific personality traits; ask the person if he or she thinks the celebrity is untrustworthy, for example, if you suspect your new acquaintance may be. Those who lack self-awareness tend to project their flaws onto others. Just keep in mind that being objective about the facts, such as someone already having admitted to wrongdoing, or having been found overwhelmingly guilty in a court of law, is a different matter.

Always keeping in mind the potent influence of your subconscious mind goes a long way in dealing with strife and other interpersonal issues in everyday life.

Besides spending years getting to know someone, a way to uncover authentic personality, beyond the persona, is conventional security investigations (e.g., hiring a private detective). Unconventional security investigations, including those I offer, involving handwriting analysis, are a reliable alternative.

Copyright © 2017 Scott Petullo

Warning About Decision-making: The Misconception of Choice

Monday, May 16th, 2016
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The power of choice is sometimes yours, and sometimes not. The erroneous belief that you’re in absolute conscious control of your fate is as outlandish as believing you will live forever.

I’m all for inspiration—I generate inspiration every day—but put aside the rhetoric spewed by motivational speakers for a moment and consider that there are two key forces that rule your life: the power of your subconscious mind, and your personal fate—the things in your life you can’t change.

Making the right decisions in life won’t give you everything you’ve ever dreamed of, unless it’s part of your fate, because that isn’t the way things go in the real world.

You don’t need me to prove my assertions about predestination to know that there are times in your life that your faith is unexpectedly tested, you can’t control what other people do or say, and rejection and other unavoidable happenings are completely beyond your control.

A fascinating study in Psychological Science suggests “..the conscious experience of choice may be constructed after we act — even when it feels like it is the cause of our behavior.” In other words, your subconscious mind may have a lot more influence on your decision-making that you may realize.

Your subconscious fears and defenses may not be a problem for you at all. Unfortunately, until you know someone well—whether in business or your personal life—his hidden red flag personality traits could pose a serious threat. Wise decision-making includes thoroughly vetting those you allow into your life and I recommend multiple forms of scrutiny, including my unorthodox security investigations.

Copyright © 2016 Scott Petullo

How to Identify Problem Personalities Before it is Too Late

Monday, November 16th, 2015
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No matter how high performing an employee, if she’s repeatedly disruptive and problematic to others in the organization, it’s best to fire her. The disruption and demoralization of the staff overshadows revenue generated by the troublemaker.

The same approach applies to your personal life; when possible, get rid of problem personalities before they cause you serious trouble.

It’s possible to identify red flag personality issues before hiring, and the price is a pittance compared to the cost of a problematic employee.

Below I list five tips to identify problem personalities.

  1. In checking employment references, realize that past employers (or acquaintances, if it’s not an employment situation) aren’t going to be candid with you. They will be hesitant to talk about problems with their former employee due to the threat of legal action. But try this: while speaking to the former supervisor on the phone, ask, “Would you hire her again?” and listen for any hesitancy.
  2. Evaluate the subject’s skills related to the job through multiple assessment methods such as personality profiling tests, psychologist interviews, and interviews with multiple members of your staff. If it’s a personal association, pay close attention to how she handles life’s everyday stressful occurrences.
  3. Place the subject in simulated high-pressure situations as part of your pre-employment screening process to get the real personality to emerge. If he is a personal interest, one of the best ways to ferret out any red flags is long-distance travel with him (once you’re sure he’s not dangerous).
  4. Conventional security investigation companies like First Advantage charge $2000 and up to look into any possible red flag background matters, including getting feedback from people who are acquainted with the subject. Keep in mind though that $2000 is the very low end of the price scale and that $7500 and much more is regularly quoted to thoroughly investigate a subject. It often takes a lot of billable hours to find actual red flags. Also keep in mind that some villains are very good at evading detection, so no matter how much the investigators dig they may not find anything.
  5. Consider unconventional security investigations as a reliable, fast, and cost-effective addition to your usual course of action.

Your desires, fears, and defenses influence your gut feelings, so it’s best to avoid relying entirely on your instincts.

Your first impression may be that he is a good match for the job when he isn’t, or that your kids are safe around her, when they aren’t, or that that prospective business partner is ideal when he isn’t.

Unfortunately, gut instinct doesn’t consistently detect a person’s true motivations, especially when stress or emotions cloud your perspective.

Take the time and resources to bring to light any hidden personality red flags of new people in your life before they rob you of more time and money than you thought imaginable.

Copyright © 2015 Scott Petullo

42% of Felony Background Checks are Erroneous

Monday, March 16th, 2015
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According to the Government Accountability Office, government background checks identifying convicted felons were erroneous at least 42 percent of the time.

Thousands of job seekers with clean records have been flagged as criminals. Read more about the problem in this New York Times article.

Two other related problems include convicted felons who aren’t flagged in background checks, and even the most trusted databases including arrest records but no indication if the person was convicted of a crime.

Not all public record information is available from any single site and some of it isn’t valid. Public records search firms offer notoriously inaccurate basic background check reports because it’s too time consuming to check every state and local database.

It’s understandable that employers refuse to hire those with certain offenses such as violent crime or theft. However, there doesn’t seem to be a consensus on what a disqualifying offense should be for certain jobs, and the ever-increasing number of offenses an individual can be arrested for is troubling. A criminal conviction may be something victimless like being caught sans clothing with your lover on a deserted public beach late at night.

Any arrest whatsoever can ruin a person’s chances for a successful career. But don’t blame the cops. They simply enforce laws enacted by politicians, like those in the U.S. Congress.

An aside, today’s law enforcement seems more about collecting revenue than keeping us safe. Victimless crime constitutes more than 80% of the U.S. federal prison population. Trillions of taxpayer dollars have been wasted on the drug war, U.S. prison boom, harsh sentences for petty and victimless crimes, and a wasteful criminal justice system.

There is no shortage of dangerous and dishonest people in the world. The purpose of a background check is to uncover personality red flags. But in order to do this effectively, you must utilize more than just a routine public records check.

To uncover any potential problem areas, I recommend a range of employment and, or psychological evaluations, comprehensive public records background checks, and multiple interviews.

To really get to know someone, use more sophisticated options, such as traditional security investigations, and handwriting analysis, included in my non-traditional security investigations.

Copyright © 2015 Scott Petullo

Free Tools You Need to Research People

Monday, March 18th, 2013
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Making informed decisions and minimizing your risk involves having all available intelligence.

Whether it’s a potential business partner, employee, contractor, associate, or even romantic interest, you must uncover any red flags relating to that person before it’s too late.

The free tools below can help you to reduce the threat to your livelihood, financial well-being, and personal safety.

Tool #1:

Dirtsearch claims to be a “One Stop Free Online & Public Records Searching” site. It gives you social networking information from LinkedIn and other sites, data retrieved from phone directories, deep web search results, and available public records (including criminal history information). It also offers a quick photo search with the results displayed on the first page of the “quick search results.”

By the way, it’s perfectly legal and ethical to collect public records when doing a background check. However, keep in mind that not all public record information is available from any single site, some of it may not be valid (so double check everything), and a “criminal” charge may be something harmless like streaking at midnight on Halloween, or some other victimless crime.

Tool #2:

Cvgadget is helpful because it organizes Internet search results under the following categories: Google searches; Google images; Google documents; Twitter and other social networking sites; blogs; and Google news.

Tool #3:

Peekyou is a public records search engine, but verify everything because you’ll undoubtedly get some erroneous information in the results, such as people linked to the subject, and former addresses. Be advised that Peekyou directs you to public records search firms like Peoplesmart, which then makes you offers such as the Comprehensive Background Report for $29.95, which includes the following, “when available”: contact information and address history; nationwide criminal check and offenses (caution—these basic checks are notoriously inaccurate and can easily exclude criminal histories because it’s too time consuming to check every state and local database); bankruptcies, liens, and judgments; and more.

As well as to help you locate someone, the tools listed above can help you avoid tragedy and remain unscathed in your personal and professional dealings.

Other, more sophisticated background check and security investigations options exist, including $300+ public records scouring services, and $2000–$10,000+ for professional investigators to examine all sorts of unique avenues, including past personal and professional contacts. I offer several valuable, unconventional security investigations appraisals, which are excellent supplements to those listed above.

An aside, It’s possible that your reputation may be suffering due to unfavorable or even defamatory information about you on the Internet. To repair your reputation, for a fee, services like and will seek out and even remove any disparaging information about you on-line.

Copyright © 2013 Scott Petullo

What Really Matters Besides The 3 Most Important Interview Questions

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012
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The job interview is one of the most important parts of the hiring process, along with background checks, confirming employment history and credentials, and evaluating skills related to the job.

George Bradt, a contributor, succinctly captures the core essence of the job interview in 3 key questions:

  1. Can you do the job (abilities)?
  2. Will you love the job (motivation)?
  3. Can we tolerate working with you (are you a fit for the company and its current employees)?

The above-linked article is from the perspective of a hiring manager or business owner who wants to hire the best candidate possible for the job and minimize turnover.

Considering that about 40% of corporate executives leave their respective organizations in less than 18 months, existing hiring practices aren’t very efficient.

Not only do bad hires damage the company’s profit margin, but being placed in an inappropriate job also hurts a person’s career.

The problem with relying heavily on the interview process is that many applicants excel at interviewing; they’re rapid-fire thinkers who will look you in the eye and tell you exactly what you want to hear in a convincing way, even if they aren’t sincere. Essentially, just like personality self-tests, the interview process can be manipulated, and you won’t even know it until after the person is hired.

I recommend the following to avoid the above-mentioned pitfall:

  1. Conduct multiple interviews with several supervisors.
  2. Evaluate the candidate’s skills related to the job through multiple assessment methods, including handwriting analysis and comprehensive astrology and numerology.
  3. In the case of having the luxury of several good candidates from which to choose, identify the least risky candidate through handwriting analysis and comprehensive astrology and numerology. This involves looking for compatibility red flags between the potential new hire and existing staff, and also identifying personality red flags (e.g., involving people skills) that might clash with the company’s culture.

Additionally, it’s wise to confirm the potential employee’s true motivations to determine if they are likely to love the job or not. For example, no matter what they say in the interview, if they thrive in a team environment, they won’t be happy working independently.

Under stress on the job, after the hiring process and while superiors aren’t watching, a person’s authentic personality emerges.

There exist many personality traits and red flag concerns that aren’t easy to measure by only talking to an applicant, reviewing their resume, and through standard personality evaluations.

Having an accurate read of character through handwriting analysis, and comprehensive astrology and numerology, you’ll greatly reduce your risk, and save enormous amounts of time and money in hiring situations.

Copyright © 2012 Scott Petullo

Background Checks: Social Media Monitoring Service Now Available

Tuesday, December 14th, 2010
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According to HireRight, a leading provider of background checks, “…on average, 10% of all background checks adversely affect the candidate that is being screened…”

That figure may be on the rise, thanks to Social Intelligence Corp., a background screening service that specializes in monitoring social media, such as Facebook.

The company provides “…active tracking of publicly-available social media content generated by employees, manual review of objectionable material by social media experts…” and even “…near real-time notifications and alerts.”

In other words, if a job candidate or existing employee is posting questionable content on his or her social media pages, then their potential or existing employers could find out about it if the content is public.

More information here:

Although this background screening service is a good way for employers or individuals to reduce their risk, it’s only one potential part of an effective, comprehensive background and evaluation program.

To reduce your risk as much as possible, always screen carefully, and fairly, using multiple forms of appraisal, including handwriting analysis.

Copyright © 2010 Scott Petullo