It may be hard to tell from a website or a blog – after all, it’s a snapshot of the incredible solutions and contributions the folks here have created within the background screening industry – but there is some SERIOUS WORK going on behind the scenes at Active Screening.
From ACTivate, the premiere single-sign-on screening solution, to tailored programs that are easily customizable so clients are purchasing and using only what they need, Active Screening is at the forefront of conceptualizing and mastering innovative ways to collect, store and screen information.
The main reason for Active Screening to remain at the top of the industry is the abundance of super-talented people behind the scenes. We’re so proud of the men and woman who work here and we want you to be, too. That’s why we’re launching ‘Department Profiles,’ a new series on ActiveCare that features the stories of our awesome leadership team. This is the group who, in 2014 alone, accomplished these tremendous feats in the screening industry:
- Helped Active Screening earn national accreditation through the National Association of Professional Background Screeners
- Delivered a consistent 97% customer retention rate
This week, we’re meeting Travis Del Rosal, Research Manager at Active Screening. Here’s a quick bio that you can find on our About Us page:
“Travis Del Rosal has been with Active Screening since 2008 and has over 15 years of experience in the employment screening industry. Mr. Del Rosal holds a BA in Criminology with a minor in Psychology from USF. Previous to joining Active Screening Travis was a Director of Criminal Research at ChoicePoint and ADREM Profiles. Mr. Del Rosal is a criminal research veteran and consistently meets Active Screening’s corporate goals and objectives for superior quality and rapid turnaround times.”
Question: How did you get started in the background screening industry?
Travis: “I’ve always been interested in law, crime, law enforcement, conducting research and investigations. I think initially I wanted to get into law enforcement; Perhaps someday become a detective. I later considered going to law school, but not when I saw the price tag. So I kind of got started in the background screening industry by accident.
I’ve had a full time job since graduating from high school. A few friends and I worked together as court runners for two different prestigious law firms in downtown Tampa, all while I was attending college. Then, in what would kind of become a command theme in my professional career, a large legal services company partnered with the law firm where I was working to take over all duties that my friends and I had as court runners. For the first time in my young life, I was about to lose my job due to no choice of my own.
Once I got word of this, the next day I went to school. I went to the student services department at University of South Florida (USF). There, USF had a computer listing of jobs which you could search by degree type. I searched through Criminology and located a position as a criminal record researcher with a company named ADREM Profiles. Within about two weeks of that day, I interviewed at ADREM. I was hired the same day, and started my career in the background screening industry. I haven’t looked back since.”
Question: What does a Director of Criminal Research do? What are your roles and responsibilities? How has this changed since you came on board at Active Screening in 2008?
Travis: “Over the years and as the company has grown, so has the span of my overall duties and role within the organization. Basically my team and I are responsible for the vast majority of the actual work or searches conducted by our company. When I started with Active Screening there were three researchers. Now we have 12. I have the responsibility of growing the department, hiring, training, evaluating and terminating.
Through the years, we have increased department production while decreasing cost of goods. I’ve created numerous operation and department compliance manuals, guidelines and Standard Operating Procedures. We set realistic employee production and quality goals. I work closely with our Compliance Department on all client or consumer rechecks and disputes. There is a lot of cross-department interaction with Product Development, Information Technology, and especially, Client Services.
I’m responsible for keeping all of our mandatory service fees up-to-date and other operational documents posted on our website. I also work closely with our National Data provider. My team and I audit our national data on a monthly basis and make product suggestions for each state which can be seen on our online consultations. My team and I work closely with court and other government agencies to maintain company accounts and accessibility. We also lead in the development of relationships and price negotiations for the company with outside field researchers and/or vendors. My day-to-day duties consist of a ton more things, but in short I try my best to solve problems and more importantly avoid problems. I answer a lot of questions and make high level decisions in providing consumer reports. I try to help steer the operations team in the right direction and represent the company in the best possible manner.
Question: What is the most interesting aspect of your job? Most difficult? Most exciting?
Travis: “I believe the most interesting part of my job is what also makes it the most exciting and difficult. I enjoy and cherish my team. I’ve spent a lot of time and effort in trying to place each member of the Research Team in the best position to be successful. Collectively working together to achieve a common goal is very exciting and rewarding. I like the challenge of balancing workload, staffing and resources. I like to solve problems and get answers. I very much like to research and learn new things. Every day I have control of a lot of moving parts and deal with a lot of different people and personalities. Although there have been many changes in the industry, a few things never change. Clients always want a quick turn-around time and a quality result. We do our best to provide just that.”
Question: How important is the criminal research component to a background check? It often sounds like it’s the most critical piece to any person’s background check, but obviously it should be part of a comprehensive screen. Do you think most people understand all the components to a background check, or do you think most people still think it’s just a simple check of their fingerprints?
Travis: “I do not think most people understand or realize all that is involved or available to them in the process of conducting a background check. It is probably an accurate assumption that most only think of, or consider, the criminal aspect of a background check. However there is so much more to a comprehensive background check than just criminal searches.
Active Screening is a full-scale background investigation agency. Not only do we conduct State and County records research, but we do Federal records research for criminal, civil, and even bankruptcies. Many people don’t understand that Federal records (federal crimes) are in and of themselves. We do Education, Employment, Reference verifications, and Motor Vehicle searches not just in the USA, but internationally as well. Along with a slew of additional searches, we can do Child Abuse Registry and of course, Sex Offender Registry, even Drug Testing.
It’s important to be aware of all the options out there when piecing together the best package for you and your candidate. I am of the opinion when it comes to background checks more is better. The more comprehensive the background check, generally the greater the cost. Far too often, time and pricing limits the scope of a candidate’s check, hence why most often only the criminal searches are conducted and therefore [are sometimes thought of as] the most important.”
Question: How do you ensure the information you’re getting is correct? There seem to be so many sources from which to pull information about a person that I’m guessing you have to stay hyper-vigilant to cross-reference your data for accuracy. This is a big discussion when we write about FCRA compliance and adverse action because applicants are supposed to be notified of their screening results and allowed to challenge them if they’re incorrect.
Travis: “The most important aspect of your organization to consider when discussing the quality of your results is the company’s culture. You have to make quality a top priority. This starts by being selective in your hiring process to ensure you have the right people for the job. Then you have to educate the employees on the products. They need to understand the difference in products, how to handle each, and why. You have to provide your staff with the resources and training to make sound decisions.
In this industry a researcher makes numerous decisions every hour. They have to have confidence in their abilities to make quick and accurate decisions. The staff needs to have tools to properly do their job. As part of their resources, they should have written and documented Standard Operating Procedures, reference guides, and system functionality to assist them. You must stay vigilant and proactive with Fair Credit Reporting Act changes.
One thing I always try to instill in my staff is that they are not just dealing with names on a page. Each of those names is an actual human being, and the decisions they make in handling results affect people’s lives. I instruct my staff to treat each of those names as if they are working on their own name, and to treat each with as much detail and respect as they would want themselves treated.
You also have to have processes on the back end to ensure good quality. There needs to be checks and balances within your processes. There should always be some sort of audit process and quality review.
Communication within the organization is key, not only verbal but written as well. I’ve found in most things to be good at something you have to have familiarity, structure and practice. Good habits are learned and developed. Controversially, you have to be willing and ready to address mistakes immediately and sternly. Your resources need to be accurate and current. Always use up-to-date and actionable information.”
Question: In 2015 we’re focusing a lot on volunteer screening and how Active Screening is helping making that easier for clients. What do you think is the most important thing for volunteer-based organizations to know about volunteer screening and how Active Screening works to keep workplaces and the people within them safe? I’m specifically wondering if enough volunteer-based organizations and/or non-profits conduct background checks on their volunteers? How can we work to convince them of this necessity?
Travis: “There are probably not nearly enough volunteer-based or non-profit organizations currently conducting background checks. Never more so than now is it important for volunteers to be screened.
I think one thing that really sets us apart from other providers, is just how simple and transparent we have made the process of ordering the most cost-effective search or searches. Our resource page and online consultation pinpoint what’s available for each state.
The risk and liability is just too great in today’s age to not screen volunteers. There’s a bit of a trend in the info we see come back on the volunteers. Most are good people looking to get involved in the community or whatever they are specifically volunteering for, have never done anything illegal, and are good citizens. There are others that may have made a mistake or two in the past. They have learned from their mistakes, are truly reformed, and are trying their best to be a positive influence. However, then you have the ones that see certain organizations as easy targets to get integrated in for their own self-interest or even worst – criminal activity. Doing nothing and taking people on their word alone unfortunately is no longer acceptable or an excuse.”
Active Screening has one of the easiest, versatile and budget-friendly volunteer solution packages available in the industry. Click here to see how we do it and what bundle might work best for your organization!
Better yet, give us a call at 1-800-319-5580 and get a special one-on-one consultation with one of our team members. We look forward to meeting you!