The Profiler

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Cynthia Myers is celebrating more than Myers Research & Consulting Inc.’s 13th anniversary. She is also celebrating the growth of her company by expanding its office space and adding employees.

The human resources consulting firm, specializing in pre-employment screening, has grown from its humble beginnings in 1988, when it was located in a spare room in Myers’ home. Now located in Stow’s Omni Plaza, Myers Research employs 12 full-time associates and serves a previously unmet need, says Myers.

“At that time, (in 1988) this type of business was virtually unknown,” Myers says. “The few screening companies that did exist often were operated by individuals with law enforcement or security backgrounds. Because criminal information retrieval is only one piece of a much larger process, and requires more legal than law enforcement knowledge, I believe that this industry is best suited to human resources professionals.”

Serving companies large and small, Myers’ company’s typical client employs 200 or more people and has a fully staffed human resources department.

“The successes our clients have experienced using our services are twofold and are at the opposite ends of the spectrum,” Myers says. “The first has been to spare them a bad hire. In 13 years of business, the stories are endless as to those candidates whose tales have not matched reality.

“At the opposite end, there have been an equal number of candidates whose credentials, experience and knowledge have been right on the money. In these situations, the service we’ve provided can be construed as a type of insurance; we’re validating that company’s investment as sound.

Myers’ has spent her entire career in the human resources area, including conducting physician credentials research for an international health insurance organization. Her experience also includes employee recruitment, interviewing, hiring and benefits administration — a time she refers to as her growing years.

While leading her own company, she maintains an active participation in its daily activities.

“It is what I know and enjoy,” Myers says.

Some of what she uncovers during pre-employment screenings is serious, such as discovering an applicant is wanted for murder. Those cases are rare; most are embellishments of an individual’s work history, and others are somewhat humorous.

One recent case involved a candidate who reported receiving a degree from a university — a university that apparently left town with no forwarding address. Research consultants at Myers Research were unable to locate the out-of-state school. Recalling a story reported six months earlier on an ABC news magazine program regarding the buying and selling of fake degrees, Myers ordered a transcript. The university the applicant reported on his resume was indeed one of the counterfeit schools in the news story.

Myers has hundreds of similar stories — some shared on her company Web site’s “Hall of Shame.”

For any decision-maker faced with hiring a key employee, Myers suggests a thorough review of the candidate’s employment history.

“Ensure that employment references were, in fact, superiors,” Myers says. “It’s all about talking to people who were in a position to be objective and who can provide substantive information.

“Ask detailed questions, keeping all information employment-related. Verify any factual data that comes from the candidate’s employment file, and additionally substantiate their academic credentials.”

Myers suggests conducting a criminal record investigation at both the state and federal levels on applicants being considered to fill key positions. Running a civil record investigation may reveal if the applicant is litigious. A national motor vehicle report will reveal if a potential employee is insurable or a risk.

Myers does not promote the use of credit reports for general hires — unless the employee will handle company finances or use a company credit card. Myers sees no correlation between a bad credit report and the propensity for theft or other criminal actions.

Working to match services to individual client needs is part of Myers’ philosophy for success. As do many owners of small businesses, she sees hard work and long hours as part of the entrepreneurial journey of striving for excellence.

“We work very hard,” Myers says. “So I always say, ‘Why work so hard to be average?

“I think in business, we’re inspired by many things and by many people. Knowing I have the ultimate responsibility in my business is an inspiration to me. Knowing that I have a significant number of clients who depend on my expertise is an inspiration.

“Knowing I have a staff of individuals who rely on me is an inspiration.” How to reach: Myers Research & Consulting Inc., (330) 688-3004 or www.myersresearchconsult.com