Remember The Fugitive, where the elusive Harrison Ford hops from job to job while staying just ahead of the posse?

That’s getting harder to do in real life, thanks to companies like St. Petersburg, Florida-based First Advantage Corporation, which provides pre-employment screening services for numerous Fortune 1000 companies, as well as volunteer groups and youth organizations.

“Some com­panies see it as a risk mitigation tool or a cheap insurance policy,” says Bart K. Valdez, president of First Advantage’s employment screening services division. “In case of workplace violence or some other event, they’ve at least done the minimum due diligence to screen their employees.”

Some background checks yield surprising results. When one company was considering a contract with First Advantage, the human resources director suggested that First Advantage run sample checks on a few employees. So they checked out the HR director — and found that she had fibbed about her educational background. She was fired. “She didn’t have the degrees she had claimed,” says Valdez. “So the person who got us in the door had to go out the same door.”
— Chris Tucker