The only constant is change

A Zen master visiting New York City goes up to a hot dog vendor and says, “Make me one with everything.”
The hot dog vendor fixes a hot dog and hands it to the Zen master, who pays with a $20 bill.
The vendor puts the bill in the cash box and closes it. “Excuse me, but where’s my change?” asks the Zen master.
The vendor responds, “Change must come from within.”

[Phone rings]

Ann: “Cutting Edge, this is Ann.”

Customer: “Change is hard.”

Ann: [Suddenly realizes she needs to start an exercise program and eat better]. “I understand completely.”

Customer: “I bet you’re glad you’re in a business that doesn’t change much.”

Ann: [drinks water and takes a lap around the office]. “Well, yes and no. . .”

There are some aspects to background checks that have been the same since I started in 1996.

  1. Courts have the records. Well, courts have the dispositive records. So you can, you know, tell if someone is guilty or not.

Now, what has changed? Just about everything else.

  1. Stand-alone disclosure forms. My attorneys (shout out to Scott Paler) are the best in the business and have done their best to keep the forms to a dull roar, but there are still about five pieces of paper you need to slide under your applicant’s nose to get the ball rolling. This is new since 1996.
  2. Speaking of getting the ball rolling, some states require this ball not commence motion until after you offer the job (definitely post-1996).
  3. Several states and municipalities have their own requirements as regards notifications on pre-employment background checks. Off the top of my head? California, New York, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Washington, Massachusetts, New Jersey (check with your local counsel for the specifics). Yup, this is post-1996 and changing by the minute. A handful of years ago no one heard of Ban-the-Box, now we embrace the box, or the banning thereof. You know what I mean.
  4. Pre- and Post-Adverse action notices. Definitely not a thing a few years ago, and many, many states have varied requirements for what they should contain and how you deploy them.
  5. The last one. When I started in this business, we received our requests on the fax machine (show of hands as to who remembers this), we conducted our research, wrote up the reports in the word processing program of your choice, and faxed the report back. Now? We have our choice of some excellent web portals, increasing our efficiency and generally improving the lives of our clients and the applicant.

The one thing that you can count on is change.

Call us if you’re feeling the need to make a change with your background check provider, I’d love to hear about what’s important to you and explore how we can make your life better. (714) 587-9166, or email