Cutting Edge Background Investigations is celebrating 10 years of service. Our CEO and Founder, Ann Van Doren, answered a few questions about the history and beginnings of CEBI and how it’s grown into what the company it is today.
Why did you establish CEBI?
I’ve been in the background screening business since 1996, my first company was established even before what is now known as the Professional Background Screeners Association (PBSA) existed. I love all aspects of background screening, the client connections, talking with references, researching the records, all of it.
Please, describe the beginnings of CEBI.
CEBI was a natural progression from my previous business in my personal desire to run a business that caters to the client. It gives me the opportunity to partner and really perform a service for my clients.
How has the company changed/grown since you founded CEBI in 2011?
Wow. What hasn’t changed is my personal commitment to deliver the best.
What has changed?
We have grown and flourished. We now use a state of the art web platform for ordering and receiving reports. I have the BEST STAFF ever in my processors and marketers. We are certified as Woman-Owned Small Business, and are closing in on our run at PBSA Accreditation.
What do you know now that you wish you’d known when you started CEBI?
That anything is possible. I didn’t start CEBI on a shoestring, I started it on half of a shoestring. The county and the world were just coming out of the worst recession in a lifetime, unemployment was at all-time highs. Not a great time to start a business built on hiring numbers.
It might sound trite, but if you put your shoulder to the wheel, you can (usually) make (almost) anything happen.
What aspects of the profession do you enjoy most?
People. I love it when customers call or email me with a question. When I say “what can I do for you” I absolutely mean it. I love calling references and hearing about what the subject does really well and laughing when they tell that “golf” is an area for improvement.
I love that I have a lifetime of great stories to tell (and the names have been changed to protect the innocent and not-so-innocent). Like the guy who gave his mother as a reference and she told me he was lazy and she wouldn’t hire him.
I could say Information Technology. IT is just a part of the world in which we live. And then I have to realize that working on this facet of a business that deals with PPI (protected personal information) is of extremely high importance and gives me a chance to learn and grow.
What’s something weird, specific, or interesting you know after operating this company for the past 10 years that you wish other people knew?
Where do I start?
- Not everything is on the internet.
- What is on the internet may not be helpful and could be downright detrimental.
- There is no one great criminal record repository for the country. We have to get granular and search the specific jurisdictions for records
- There is no one great repository for employment records, either (I had a client tell me one time she thought I could plug an SSN into a database and it would all “pop” up).
- And finally—what do I wish other people knew that I learned over 10 years? Know this: People are generally awesome, helpful and understanding.
Where would you like to see CEBI in the next ten years, at the 20th anniversary?
I would truly like to see us on the same path we are on now. Providing great service, highly professional and—yes—cutting edge. The world of pre-employment background screening changes constantly with new innovations in record retrieval, FCRA requirements at the local, state and federal levels, Second Chance Initiatives (Ban the Box). We will endeavor to stay on top of it all to deliver the absolute best reports to our clients. I’d certainly like to see us grow—I think every business deserves the kind of reports and support and customer service that CEBI provides.