Transcript - Talent Talk Cafe: Week of Nov 17th - Lance Haun on Background Checks

Thank you to all who attended the Talent Talk Cafe Chats this week!

On Tuesday, Lance Haun led a Chat that looked at background checks and where they may be headed given changes in government processes. Here's an overview of his topic follwoed by the Chat transcript.

"How Invasive is Your Background Check Process?"
With the Obama administration opening up application for appointed positions, they have also opened up one of the most invasive application processes in history. 63 questions that delve into the contents of your online activity, financial information and even contents of personal diaries. How appropriate is this for this particular situation and how much should you be going into?

You can also find Lance online Here and connect with him on Twitter as @thalance!


12:00pm Lance Haun
we'll go ahead and get started

12:00pm Tina Huckabay
at show or online Maren?

12:01pm Maureen Sharib
Hi - good crowd Lance!

12:01pm Lance Haun
So today I wanted to talk about background checks

12:01pm Lance Haun
Thanks Maureen for coming!@

12:01pm Lance Haun
and how I wanted to start talking about it is something from the news

12:02pm Lance Haun
basically, the incoming presidential administration has released its application for appointed positions and it is a 63 page monstrosity

12:02pm Lance Haun
63 question

12:02pm Lance Haun
not pages

12:02pm Maureen Sharib
Yup

12:02pm Lance Haun
but it is still huge

12:02pm Maureen Sharib
Read it- could any of us get away w/ that??

12:03pm Maureen Sharib
Some of those questions?

12:03pm Lance Haun
well, has everyone read some of the questions?

12:03pm Maureen Sharib
Yup.

12:03pm Maureen Sharib
allof them with great interest

12:03pm Lance Haun
Here is one that might be of particular interest: Writings: Please list and, if readily available, provide a copy of each book, article column or publication (including but not limited to any posts or comments on blogs or other websites) you have authored, individually or with others. Please list all aliases or "handles" you have used to communicate on the Internet.

12:04pm Maureen Sharib
LOL

12:04pm Maureen Sharib
TMTM

12:04pm Maureen Sharib
(Too Many To Mention)

12:04pm Lance Haun
as a blogger, I have written hundreds of pages and I am sure you have to Maureen

12:04pm Lance Haun
over the course of how many years?

12:04pm Julia Stone
but under how many handles lance?

12:04pm Lance Haun
so far, only one Julia :)12:05pmMaureen Sharib
It'slaughable and if you forghet tolist something? I 'magine all hell will break loose...

12:05pm Julia Stone
so it is an easy question to answer, right?

12:05pm Lance Haun
well, collecting all of my work might be a bit more difficult

12:05pm Lance Haun
as well as getting it to them in some readable form

12:05pm Lance Haun
that's hundreds of pages of text for a single question

12:06pm Maureen Sharib
Please list any (yadda yadda) your OR YOUR SPOUSE...

12:06pm Maureen Sharib
...there's a bugaboo.

12:07pm Maureen Sharib
you OR YOUR SPOUSE

12:07pm Lance Haun
the question that I posed on my blog on crimcheck is who is checking all of these things? what kind of staff would you need to even vet this many applicants with this many questions?

12:07pm Maureen Sharib
Is that s'posed to be for a package deal? 2for1?

12:08pm Maureen Sharib
Buy 1 Get 1 free...

12:08pm Lance Haun
it is if your name is Clinton, right Maureen?

12:08pm Maureen Sharib
Spose.

12:08pm Lance Haun
they are vetting Bill Clintons connections right now

12:08pm Maureen Sharib
Thats'what Bill offered way back when

12:08pm Julia Stone
it was my understanding they are doing it to make sure they are sticking to their lobbying rules.

12:08pm Maureen Sharib
He knows a deal when he sees one.

12:09pm Lance Haun
certainly Julia! Obviously there needs to be vetting

12:09pm Lance Haun
I think we all expect that from the President

12:09pm Recruiting Animal
Same old faces

12:09pm Julia Stone
and not to put a damper on the conversation, but haven't like 150,000 already completed the application process? Sounds like they have their hands full already

12:09pm Julia Stone
you talking to me RA or the conversation? hello

12:09pm Lance Haun
Hi Animal

12:09pm Maureen Sharib
Have any members of your family...been arrested...

12:10pm Recruiting Animal
talkin' to you. who said i was talking to you. hi hr guy.

12:10pm Recruiting Animal
is there a class or something here today?

12:10pm Lance Haun
schooling people on background checks

12:10pm Lance Haun
a subject you should be familiar with

12:10pm Recruiting Animal
k. i'll shut up. didn't know i was late

12:10pm Recruiting Animal
(no maureen, never been arrested)

12:10pm Lance Haun
Julia, you bring upo a good point

12:10pm Julia Stone
thought it was a conversation, didn't realize you were schooling us Lance, I will shut up too

12:11pm Lance Haun
no, that was a joke

12:11pm Recruiting Animal
no julia you talk you know something

12:11pm Lance Haun
if they have so many applicants, than who cares what questions they ask?

12:12pm Julia Stone
I think that we are talking about a procedure that only affects a small % of high ranking officials. If you have gotten to that point in your career & haven't watched your online presence, time to retire anyway

12:13pm Lance Haun
My understanding is that this application covers the 7,000 appointments Obama will have to make

12:13pm Lance Haun
that's high and low it seems like

12:13pm Julia Stone
no 3000 of those will be covered from my understanding

12:13pm Julia Stone
Those under consideration for high-ranking positions must answer a seven-page questionnaire with 63 questions about their personal and professional lives. Applicants will have to provide significant details about their jobs and those of their spouses, their financial status and personal associations.

12:14pm Shannon Myers
I know it's excessive but it can also be used as a deterent for people who really should not be applying.

12:14pm Julia Stone
sorry, wrong cut & paste...Political experts say about 3,000 of the jobs will be awarded by Obama and his transition team to those who helped with the campaign or are well-known for their work in specific fields appropriate to the positions.

12:14pm Lance Haun
Hi Shannon

12:14pm Shannon Myers
Hi Lance

12:14pm Lance Haun
good point, it can deter bad people from applying

12:15pm Julia Stone
it can deter everyone from applying, right lance? except for the 144,000 who applied in the first 5 days

12:15pm Lance Haun
In some cases, I think it can deter the types of people you want to bring into the administration

12:16pm Lance Haun
quantity is great

12:16pm Maureen Sharib
Names, addresses and phone #s of cohabitants?

12:16pm Julia Stone
agreed. but if I got a call from Obama or Emmanuel explaining that this was a pain in the arse but I needed to complete it to be their secretary of superheros (or whatever) I would do it. These are high ranking positions.

12:16pm Lance Haun
but if you need the best middle east analyst, do you know that they are willing to go through this process

12:17pm Maureen Sharib
IMAGINE if members of our community asked some of these questions...

12:17pm Lance Haun
Well, I don't know what HR positions they have available but if they called me and said we have this Deputy position available, maybe I am more willing to go through it than for a lower ranking position

12:18pm Julia Stone
maureen, with all due respect, we are not running the country

12:18pm Lance Haun
I worry about applying the same standards to secretary of state as we do to a policy advier

12:18pm Lance Haun
adviser

12:18pm Lance Haun
and it seems like policy wonks are covered under this application as well

12:19pm Lance Haun
is that just a me concern?

12:20pm Paul DeBettignies
We could all volunteer for a week to help do the background checks and not make a dent in them

12:21pm Lance Haun
Hi Paul

12:21pm Paul DeBettignies
(word)

12:21pm Lance Haun
I guess that's my second question, what are the logistics to checking all of this information for 3000 people?

12:21pm Lance Haun
well, 3000 positions

12:21pm Lance Haun
probably will be doing more checks then that

12:22pm Paul DeBettignies
that is the one that has me curious

12:22pm Julia Stone
If it were me, I would want the info on file, not to check it but to have it on record

12:22pm Maureen Sharib
Julia - do we have two standards here?

12:22pm Lance Haun
me too Paul

12:22pm Lance Haun
so is it just so they can reference it later Julia?

12:22pm Julia Stone
you mean one for applying for a position to run the country and one to volunteer to run a group on RBC? yes

12:23pm Julia Stone
Either to reference it later or to have a good NLP to sort through for potential conflicts of interest (lobbying types)

12:24pm Chalapathi
hi everybody

12:24pm Lance Haun
hi!

12:24pm Lance Haun
okay Julia, I can see that

12:24pm Chalapathi
i need sugestions in regards with DAYAK

12:25pm Lance Haun
do you believe in the deterent value or do you think it isn't effective since 150k people managed to do it just fine?

12:25pm Chalapathi
i have just signed in this portal and not yet started using this as my phone lines are out of order so i have not used this

12:26pm Chalapathi
OHHHHHHHHHHHH

12:27pm Maureen Sharib
No I mean for one applying for a job in govt and one applying for a job in industry.

12:27pm Chalapathi
my email id is vtslchalapathi@yahoo.com

12:27pm Maureen Sharib
Not sure where the applying to run a group here on RBC comes into this...

12:28pm Shannon Myers
It still doesn't mean they are qualified, that they filled them out completely, just applied.

12:28pm Lance Haun
Maureen, I think there are going to be double standards though

12:28pm Maureen Sharib
Oh?

12:28pm Maureen Sharib
I see.

12:29pm Lance Haun
I mentioned this elsewhere but I worked for a company that did credit checks on
janitors

12:29pm Maureen Sharib
What's good for the gander in this country is not good for the geese.

12:29pm Lance Haun
that didn't make much sense to me

12:29pm Maureen Sharib
the janitor check or the goose remark?

12:30pm Lance Haun
the janitor check

12:30pm Lance Haun
I love goose though

12:30pm Lance Haun
with a niceorange glaze that is

12:30pm Maureen Sharib
Do you or any members of your family own a gun? COME ON!

12:31pm Lance Haun
How about this one? Please furnish copies of all resumes and biographical statements issued by you or any other entity at your discretion or with your consent within the past 10 years.

12:31pm Maureen Sharib
Please describe your overall health and any medical treatments you are receiving.

12:31pm Lance Haun
wouldn't it be interesting to see how people have revamped their resume over the course of time?

12:32pm Julia Stone
I am never happy when I walk out of an interview knowing the dosage of anti depressants they are on

12:32pm Maureen Sharib
Pl include info abt any members of your family that might later be uh,,,errr....embarrassing to the President-Elect.n

12:32pm Lance Haun
haha

12:33pm Lance Haun
I don't want to know anybody's medical history :)12:33pmLance Haun
not even my own

12:33pm Julia Stone
me either, but a good recruiter often finds out more than they mean to

12:33pm Maureen Sharib
I mean, come on, how many of these questions would be ILLEGAL to ask in an interview???

12:33pm Julia Stone
guess the supreme court will decide, lol

12:34pm Lance Haun
well, it is interesting because the executive branch would be the one to enforce those rules...on itself

12:34pm Lance Haun
I am guessing they let it go

12:34pm Maureen Sharib
There is an intrinsic problem here - and nobody's really talking about it!

12:34pm Julia Stone
In madison, they issued a local law which says that you cannot check peoples backgrounds further back than 3 years, unless it is superceeded by state or feds

12:35pm Lance Haun
yeah, that's not uncommon these days either. Many states have limitations now and municipalities are cutting down as well.

12:35pm Julia Stone
Last year I had my 1 and only case of something coming up on a background check in 12 years, it turned out to be nothing either

12:35pm Paul DeBettignies
Seems to me anyone who could fill this out and be accepted would not be someone I want in there

12:36pm Lance Haun
I think why this has become newsworthy is because of the level of disparity between what can be researched and done in the private sector and what can be done with White House positions.

12:36pm Julia Stone
you are making an assumption that they have specific answers in mind to the questions though, Paul

12:37pm Maureen Sharib
Insolvent in the past? Bankrupt?

12:37pm Lance Haun
I don't have an issue with people getting extra scrutiny but I think the level this takes it to is really incredibly

12:37pm Lance Haun
I am trying to think of the right adjective

12:37pm Lance Haun
maybe just incredible

12:37pm Julia Stone
I think that it is smart. if they don't want to be bogged down by news stories which take away from running the country.

12:37pm Lance Haun
because there is a lot more information than there was 8 years ago

12:38pm Lance Haun
now entire collections have been moved from offline to online

12:39pm Lance Haun
and researching and accessibility is incredible

12:39pm Julia Stone
maureen, have you finished your application yet? which position did you say you were applying to?

12:39pm Paul DeBettignies
Let me try this again, anyone who can supply all this information, who can "pass" these steps, has had a career in D.C. Not sure how much "change" that is

12:39pm Lance Haun
Paul, do you think that's the point though?

12:39pm Paul DeBettignies
I don't know

12:39pm Lance Haun
They want people who are used to being this exposed in the administration

12:40pm Lance Haun
because that's what life is like there?

12:40pm Maureen Sharib
Julia LOL

12:40pm Maureen Sharib
No I'm workin' thru it - I'm struggling though...

12:40pm Paul DeBettignies
See, I get the need to be transparent when applying and their need to do the background stuff.

12:41pm Paul DeBettignies
But it seems the only ones able to jump the hurdle will be the ones alreay there

12:41pm Maureen Sharib
When it's all over I'm gonna file a lawsuit...;) Unfair something-or-other. It'll make me rich beyond belief. ;)12:41pmPaul DeBettignies
class action


12:41pm Paul DeBettignies
we will all be rich

12:41pm Lance Haun
well you better start applying Paul

12:41pm Paul DeBettignies
or in this case lipstick on a ...

12:41pm Julia Stone
sourcing czar? czar is a popular term this year, car czar, healthcare czar, etc

12:42pm Paul DeBettignies
I doubt I could find all the stuff they want

12:42pm Maureen Sharib
After all, this is easier'n working for a living...;)12:42pmMaureen Sharib
I thought of it first. ;)12:42pmLance Haun
I do think we need to change all of our secretaries to czars

12:42pm Lance Haun
I think that is a more attractive position

12:43pm Lance Haun
and secretary is so out moded

12:43pm Julia Stone
madam czar, you have the stage?

12:43pm Lance Haun
and I don't think assistant of state would work

12:44pm Maureen Sharib
Admin Asst of State

12:44pm Maureen Sharib
is the new title these days.

12:44pm Paul DeBettignies
I have always been annoyed with the Under Secretary title.

12:44pm Maureen Sharib
And for goodness sakes don't abbreviate it.

12:44pm Paul DeBettignies
Who TF thought it was a good idea

12:45pm Lance Haun
so I haven't seen any statement from the transition team about their application process but do you think they could have improved the process at all?

12:45pm Lance Haun
or do you think it isn't a problem?

12:45pm Lance Haun
or that it was done perhaps on purpose to limit the types of people applying?

12:45pm Maureen Sharib
OFCCP suggests that it is best practice to only ask a question to ascertain Veteran's Preference status. Further, the OFCCP explained that it is "best practice" not to ask about type of discharge in the interview process as it can lead to equal opportunity type issues.

12:46pm Julia Stone
I think it is much like many HR policies. They are designed with one purpose and end up with unintended side effects. In this case, they want to stick to their guns about lobbyist rules, but the side effect is turning people like all of us off

12:47pm Lance Haun
Great point Julia

12:47pm Maureen Sharib
http://www.dol.gov/esa/ofccp/regs/compliance/faqs/emprfaqs.htm#Q34

12:47pm Maureen Sharib
But Julia, WHAT DO THEY CARE?

12:47pm Lance Haun
so maybe, in the end, they don't change a thing but they understand that to an outsider like us, it doesn't make sense

12:48pm Lance Haun
so turning to your own background check process

12:48pm Lance Haun
I think we need to be thoughtful too as to what questions we are asking or hoops we make people jump through

12:49pm Lance Haun
and even if we do leave them in place, we need to understand we may lose people or possibly dissatisfy others with the experience

12:49pm Maureen Sharib
Exactly. Because Big Brother does it doesn't make it okay for us to do it.

12:49pm Julia Stone
2 issues with background checks. I don't make the rules since I am an agency recruiter. 1 is setting expectations, the other is limiting the hoops.

12:50pm Lance Haun
True Maureen, that's the case for many many things though :)12:50pmLance Haun
so set the expectations that "this is what you will be going through"

12:50pm Julia Stone
for example, my husband took a contract w/ an insurance agency. Before the process was done they had run 2 background checks and made him take 3 drug tests (all negative, just beauracracy)

12:51pm Lance Haun
ouch

12:51pm Lance Haun
that's a rocky start to a relationship too

12:51pm Julia Stone
I think 1/2 of all probelms can be solved by setting expectations

12:52pm Lance Haun
right, but you still might not be happy even if you know you have to do three drug tests

12:52pm Lance Haun
but at least you'll be informed

12:52pm Maureen Sharib
"...that's the case for many many things..." THAT is the problem Lance.

12:52pm Julia Stone
don't you think?


12:53pm Lance Haun
I do agree, it can certainly smooth over even a rough pre-screening

12:53pm Julia Stone
now that I know I won't even get pretzels on most flights, I pack food. I am no longer the crazed woman on the 3rd aisle

12:54pm Lance Haun
good point...but when you do get food on an airplane, it is a pleasant surprise

12:54pm Lance Haun
so couldn't the private sector use this to their advantage?

12:54pm Julia Stone
most of the time people just want someone to tell them, "yes this is a ridicolous process. thank god the rest of the company isn't run by HR!"

12:55pm Lance Haun
nothing is as bad as the government's background check!

12:55pm Maureen Sharib
So when the govt DOES THE RIGHT THING it's a pleasant surprise?

12:55pm Lance Haun
would you disagree Maureen?

12:55pm Lance Haun
I mean, unfrotunatley I think that's what many have come to expect

12:55pm Maureen Sharib
There's way too much at stake, IMO, for surprises.

12:56pm Maureen Sharib
How could the private sector use this to advantage? Interesting question Lance.

12:56pm Rayanne
wow, sorry I missed this one. Great chat here guys, from what I have read thus far

12:56pm Julia Stone
lively discussion for sure, hi Rayanne!

12:56pm Lance Haun
Hi Rayanne

12:56pm Rayanne
Hi there...

12:56pm Maureen Sharib
I wouldbe remiss not to say Hi Rayanne!

12:56pm Maureen Sharib
')

12:57pm Rayanne
Hi EVERYONE!

12:57pm Lance Haun
Maureen, I think the private sector could say "Hey, we don't put you through fire to work for us. Don't let insane processes get you down"

12:57pm Lance Haun
haha

12:57pm Lance Haun
anyway, we are running out of time and I can't believe it

12:58pm Maureen Sharib
Interesting. So the 63 Questions works as an example -see how BAD we could be?

12:58pm Lance Haun
anybody have anything else to add?

12:58pm Julia Stone
like a 64th question, lol

12:58pm Maureen Sharib
LOL

12:59pm Julia Stone
does your dog own a gun?

12:59pm Maureen Sharib
"If you know what's good for you work for Industry and be thankful they'll have you!"

12:59pm Maureen Sharib
What abt your girlfriend -does she?

12:59pm Maureen Sharib
And her child - what abt him?

12:59pm Julia Stone
um, not that I have anything against that, but I don't have a girlfriend

12:59pm Lance Haun
oh

12:59pm Lance Haun
but what about your dog?

12:59pm Maureen Sharib
His girlfriend?

1:00pm Maureen Sharib
And her offspring?

1:00pm Julia Stone
I once had a gay dog, but that was a long time ago & no guns Do I get the job?

1:00pm Lance Haun
sure

1:00pm Maureen Sharib
You qualify for sure!

1:00pm Lance Haun
alright everyone thanks for the chat

1:00pm Lance Haun
Maureen and Julia keeping it lively

1:00pm Julia Stone
thanks Lance, nice job

1:01pm Lance Haun
Paul even said a few things

1:01pm Lance Haun
and Shannon

1:01pm Lance Haun
can't forget her too

1:01pm Julia Stone
paul had a long weekend, slower than usual

1:01pm Lance Haun
I heard he signed up a boatload of recruiters for his event

1:02pm Rayanne
I will definitely catch it next time!!!

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