Thursday, August 29, 2013

Comprehensive Background Investigations

As promised we want to continue the conversation from our Background Checks, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.

JB National Investigations' Tier 1 Background Investigations are at a minimum at least as rigorous and many times, more comprehensive than a police cadet "new-hire" screening.  There is no doubt some of you have no idea what this process is so let me explain.  I must warn you, this is pretty dry content, for that I do apologize, but I wanted to express how detailed our Tier 1 Backgrounds can be.

The entire process starts with a background packet that the candidate must complete in its entirety.  This packet should list their history from a minimum 18 years old to current.  This packet asks questions about education, any police contact, all drug use, financial history including credit report, minimum 8 references, alcohol consumption, "undetected" crimes, orders of protection, employment history with references, DMV records for a minimum 3 years preferably 5, gambling questioner, military records, discharge type, marital status, registered sex offender status, and family history.

As stated the above asks very specific questions in each individual section.  These questions become very important later.

After we have received the completed packet, the information provided is verified as much as is able to be.  The information that can not be verified through a third party source prior to interviews should be addressed during subsequent interviews.

Once the candidate is deemed hirable (or whatever the case may be), by you the client, we strongly recommend drug screening.

Once we have gathered and documented all pertinent information the candidate will be called in for an initial interview.  During this interview the entire background packet should be addressed section by section.  Any inconsistencies should be addressed and questioned during this initial interview.  This initial interview could take from 1-5 hours (in rare cases longer) depending on the particular individuals history.

Depending on what the subject and/or candidate is being engaged to do, the above may have provided enough information to make a decision.  As stated in the previous blog you really have to weigh the risk to your business or assets as to whether or not to further
invest.  Really knowing who your new-hire, business partner or whatever the case may be is vital.

Should this individual have substantial responsibilities to either you, your business or the public we highly recommend a complete Tier 1 investigation.

The next step in our process would be reference interviews.  We at JB National Investigations really like to do these in person if possible.  An investigator with any real experience will tell you that  interviews and/or email exchanges never truly get the whole story.  Investigators don't get a "feeling" if reference is really telling the truth or covering for their "buddy" if not done in person.  A simple line of questioning is conducted with most if not all of the references the subject has supplied.  This "simple" line of questioning always leads to other follow up questions and most importantly other friends, colleagues or acquaintances that the investigator can interview.  These are the most important interviews that can be done.  Good investigators never count on interviews that their subject wants you to interview for obvious reasons.

Again once this process is complete a through review of the case file should be completed and an update given to you the client to decide whether or not to continue with the hiring process or further engagement of the subject.  Interviews often provide enough information to decide to disengage and move on to another candidate.

The second to last step of this process is a voice stress analysis and/or a polygraph.  We prefer voice stress.  Voice stress in our opinion tends to be more accurate.  The background questioner and interview comes in to play once again.  The subject is essentially asked the same question line again only this time technology helps to determine whether or not he or she is being deceitful.  Once this step is complete our job is almost done.

At this point you would be receiving a complete written report on your candidate.  This report should be easy to understand, fact based and have your candidates life from A-Z documented.  All issues, if any, will be clearly spelled out, the results of the voice stress analysis will be documented and any recommendations from JB National Investigations would be included.  One of the recommendations may be a psychological test and/or interview.  Again this would depend on what the candidate would be responsible for.

This type of background investigation is not for everyone or every business.  You should consult with your attorney about liabilities of the candidates responsibilities, risk to you and whether or not this type of background would help mitigate future risks.  This type of work can be expensive, but if you are risking millions you should know who you are handing the keys to your kingdom to!

Feel free to email any questions you may have or visit our website at

Thank you for reading!  I truly hope it was informative.

John Hopper
Director of Investigative Services
JB National Investigations, LLC

Monday, August 26, 2013

Background Checks; The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.

Background checks are something that we at JB National Investigations take very seriously.  There are probably thousands of companies who claim they can complete this vital task for you but, what we have found is a lot of these companies are simply not performing as they should.

I'm sure if you are reading this you have seen searches like Intelius, and the like.  Can you have a "background" completed for $4.95?   Absolutely.  Is this a background check that you want to risk your business or assets to?  NO!

What those types of searches are is name matching and/or other identifier matching search.  It will run your subject through a database but will only return what is publicly available.  What this means to you is their system or database has collected information from all of the known public sources into one place.  These types of reports are mass produced (usually by computer program with no human input) and totally unverified. This sounds like its really all you need right?  Not exactly, let me further explain.

Almost all private investigators in Arizona, and in the country for that matter, use one of two database providers.  So essentially they all have access to the same information when it comes to background checks.  What sets good firms from bad firms is what they do with that information.  If a firm is telling you they can turn around a background that same-day, or possibly next day, you are probably not getting a thorough background check.  What they are doing is simply taking the information you have supplied them and running your individual through a database.  Usually they won't even attempt to verify any information that the report contained or worst case will not understand how to properly read the criminal report provided.  As horrible as these types of backgrounds are they do have a place.  They do serve the purpose of identification, previous addresses, whether or not they have liens or judgments and give an investigator a good starting point for a proper background investigation.

Now that I've told you what a bad background check is let me explain what JB National Investigations can offer as well as any other firm that takes background investigations seriously.

As stated above all background investigations start with known facts, i.e. the initial database report.  Anything additional that you the client can provide will only enhance the investigation.  The first step in any background investigation is verifying what you already know or have in front of you.  For example if the initial report shows a criminal violation steps should be taken, by the firm you have chosen, to verify the crime including date of offense and disposition of that offense if any.  Are they on parole/probation, have they paid their fines, upcoming court dates if any etc.  Best case scenario is obviously is no criminal record.  One caveat to the above is there are times that city courts do not share their information to database services.  It may be necessary for your investigator to physically walk into the municipal court to ensure there aren't any past or current criminal charges.

Depending on your business or personal needs the above steps may be enough for you to make your decision.  However if you are risking any meaningful sum of money, assets or business ventures we highly recommend completing a comprehensive investigation.

I will talk about JB National Investigations Tier 1 Backgrounds and other steps that should be taken if the risk dictates the time and effort in another blog soon.

As always if you have any questions feel free to contact me anytime.

John Hopper
Director of Investigative Services
JB National Investigations

Thursday, August 22, 2013

What To Ask When Hiring a Private Investigator

Hiring a private investigator is not something most people will ever have to do.  So you may have no idea how to start, or even what questions to ask.  This blog is designed to help you identify what factors to consider when you decide you need to hire a private investigator.

In Arizona the vast majority of private investigators work for attorneys.  Each attorney has their own method of hiring and usually work based off of referrals from other attorneys.  So one place to start is to call an attorney you know and ask for a recommendation.  We hope that if you ever need a private investigator the information below will help you make a well informed decision.
If you have come to the point to where you are considering hiring a P.I. something has gone really wrong or the police just won't or can't help you.

One of the most important questions to ask your potential P.I  is are you licensed in Arizona to do the work?  This is one of the simplest things you as a client can do.  You can simply go to or Google search Arizona Department of Public Safety Private Investigator.  We would also suggest calling the licensing unit to ask if there has been any complaints submitted, if they have ever been sanctioned or suspended and what the outcome if any of the complaint.  Once this step is complete you can be confidant that the person you are about to contact is licensed and has an active insurance bond.

Obviously your first contact with any private investigator will be you explaining your specific situation to the proper person.  What I mean by proper person is an actual investigator not just someone who answers the phone.  You as a client do have a responsibility at this point to disclose the whole story not just what you think the private investigator needs to know.  This is a vital step, in order for the company to properly estimate time and resources they will have to allocate to you they truly need to know everything regarding your specific case. Things you leave out now, because they are embarrassing or you don’t want to mention them, can end up costing you more in the long run.  Leaving out a crucial detail can even destroy your investigation before it begins.

You need to know who you are going to be dealing with at the company you choose to hire.  For instance at JB National Investigations you will never have to speak with someone who is not intimately familiar with your case.  It is possible you could have 1-5 investigators assigned to your case depending on the complexity.  It is important to you as the client not to waste your time speaking to other employees or investigators who know nothing of your case.  There should be one main point of contact for you to discuss your case issues.  If the firm cannot promise this to you either verbally or in writing we suggest you move on to someone who can.

Depending on what type of case you are referring to an investigations firm you should ask for work samples (written reports), investigators resumes who will be working your case and the firms professional references.  Again if a firm is unwilling to give any of this to you move on to another private investigations firm who will.  At JB National Investigations we are happy to provide you with resumes of the investigators who will be working your case, professional references as well as at least one previous written report as it relates to your case.

Once you have reviewed the documents the firm has given you there are several things you need to be looking at.  The most important being the layout and content of the supplied reports and resumes.  Did the report only contain facts or did it include speculation with no evidence to back up that speculation?  Was it easy to understand and read?  Did it look professional?  Were there any obvious grammatical errors?  Do they have the experience to complete your case professionally? You will immediately know whether or not you are engaging experienced professionals by reviewing these documents.

Once you are comfortable with your investigator you should request a contract.  Most private investigation firms in Arizona do require a retainer to engage their services.  Before you sign this contract you should at a minimum have received a written proposal documenting

what the firm has committed to providing you, their hourly cost, an estimate of time needed to complete your case, and a date as to when your case should be completed.  If the firm does not supply this to you ask them for it.  As stated previously if they refuse to provide you with the information you have requested move on to another private investigator who will.  There are cases that have been too complex to give an exact date for completion.  You should however receive an estimate.

Now that you have given your hard earned retainer to an investigative firm you should expect from them exactly what they have promised.  If they are not holding up to their end of the contract, first attempt to resolve the issue with the owner or manager of the firm.  There is likely a good reason for their issue, if there is it should be communicated to you long before it becomes a problem.  Should you still not be satisfied we would recommend filing a complaint with the Arizona Department of Public Safety Licensing Unit.  They should be more than happy to help you resolve your dispute.

We truly hope this helps you make an educated choice when hiring a private investigator in Arizona or any other state where one may be required.

If you have any questions or would like to know more about JB National Investigations in Phoenix Arizona please email me personally or visit our site at 

John Hopper
Director of Investigative Services
JB National Investigations, LLC