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Background Checks Archive

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: http://www.dirtsearch.org

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: http://www.cvgadget.com

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: http://www.peekyou.com

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 http://defendmyname.com/ and http://www.reputation.com/ 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 forbes.com 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: http://www.socialintelligencehr.com/home

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


Hidden Regulations Trip up Small Business Owners

Tuesday, October 19th, 2010
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A continually increasing number of government regulations for businesses makes it harder to keep current on all mandates, especially in relation to screening and hiring.

Even as the only employee of your business, if you decide to hire one or more employees, you must adhere to the same laws that larger companies follow.

Privacy Rights Clearinghouse offers an Employer Checklist and Tips section in their Small Business Owner Background Check Guide: http://www.privacyrights.org/fs/fs16b-smallbus.htm#11

Also, it’s wise to always be aware of the laws within the FCRA (Fair Credit Reporting Act) in regards to background checks and screening: http://www.ftc.gov/os/statutes/031224fcra.pdf

In addition to background and reference checks, it’s recommended you gauge candidates’ abilities related to the job through a range of assessment methods, such as personality profiling tests and handwriting analysis. In doing so, you reduce your risk of an expensive bad hire enormously.

Copyright © 2010 Scott Petullo


Most Common Things Job Candidates Lie About

Tuesday, September 14th, 2010
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The Society for Human Resource Management’s 2010 “Background Checking: Conducting Reference Background Checks” survey includes revealing details about which background topics are most commonly misrepresented by job candidates.

Sample question from the survey:

“How often do you discover information that is inaccurate compared to what job candidates presented during the interview process when conducting reference background checks on job candidates…?”

–60% said they “sometimes” find inaccuracies with dates of previous employment (6% answered “always”)

–51% said they “sometimes” find inaccuracies with past salaries (6% answered “always”)

–46% answered they “sometimes” find inaccuracies with former job responsibilities (4% said “always”)

–39% answered they “sometimes” find inaccuracies with education background (4% said “always”)

–Only 16% said they “sometimes” find inaccuracies with military discharge information (3% said always)

–8% answered that they “always” find inaccuracies related to articles published and speaking

The survey was completed by over 400 hiring professionals.

More information here:
http://www.shrm.org/Research/SurveyFindings/Articles/Pages/ConductingReferenceBackgroundChecks.aspx

It’s possible to overlook potential red flags while doing background checks. But using multiple forms of assessment, including handwriting analysis, in your screening process will greatly reduce the costly mistake of a bad hire.

Copyright © 2010 Scott Petullo


Stunning Peak into Background Screening Statistics

Tuesday, September 7th, 2010
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By all means, trust your gut and watch for any possible red flags while interacting with new people in the workplace or in your personal life.

But that method isn’t foolproof, and the usual background checking methods aren’t either.

How many times have you heard shocking stories about someone previously thought by almost everyone to be the poster child of congeniality and virtue?

Employment Background Investigations, Inc. lists some shocking background screening statistics on their website, including these below:

–In 2005, there were 389,380 establishments with at least one incident of workplace violence.

–According to the 2006 report from the Bureau of Labor statistics, over 70 percent of United States workplaces did not have a formal program or policy that addressed workplace violence.

–According to the 2007 ADP Annual Screening Index, 41 percent of employment, education and/or credential reference checks revealed a difference of information between what the applicant provided and what the source reported.

–NAPBS industry statistics indicate at least 1 in 4 international credentials are fraudulent.

–Terrorism figures: There have been 25223 incidents, 88478 injuries and 44657 fatalities due to terrorism this decade.

–Drug-using employees are two times more likely to request early dismissal or time off, three times more likely to have absences of eight days or more, three times more likely to be late for work, four times more likely to be involved in a workplace accident and five times more likely to file a workers’ compensation claim.

–An estimated 3.1 percent of employed adults actually used illicit drugs before reporting to work or during work hours at least once in the past year, with about 2.9 percent working while under the influence of an illicit drug.

More information here: http://www.ebiinc.com/ebi-resources-facts-stats.html

It’s important to clear away the fog surrounding the true intent of the people with whom you interact on a professional and personal level, especially those you don’t know very well.

One of the best ways to do that is through multiple assessment methods, including handwriting analysis, so you can avoid being vulnerable to high risk.

Copyright © 2010 Scott Petullo


Over 50% of Ex-employees Pilfered Confidential Corporate Data

Tuesday, August 24th, 2010
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According to Ponemon Institute’s “Data Loss Risks During Downsizing” January 2009 national study, 59% of U.S. ex-employees stole confidential company data.

The survey covered over 900 participants who were fired, laid-off, or left for another job during 2008.

The type of information made off with included e-mail lists (65%), non-financial business information (45%), and customer information (39%).

79% of those who admitted stealing acknowledged they were disobeying company rules.

“The top reasons given for stealing data include: ‘everyone else is doing it, the information may be useful to me in the future, I was instrumental in creating this information, the company can’t trace the information back to me and the company does not deserve to keep this information.’”

This finding suggests it’s a good idea to take extra precautions with disgruntled employees: “It is very interesting to note that employees who do not trust their former employer to act with integrity and fairness are more likely to take the data. 61% of respondents who were negative about the company took data while only 26% of those with a favorable view took data.”

Confidential data loss can easily equate to a loss of competitiveness for any business. Are you actively taking steps to reduce your security risk?

One of the most important things you can do as a business owner, or in your personal life, is to thoroughly understand who you are dealing with through comprehensive background screening before you open yourself up to excessive risk.

Handwriting analysis is one of the most accurate forms of personality assessment. It identifies the real personality, the one behind the persona, to help you avoid nasty surprises in the future.

Copyright © 2010 Scott Petullo