Tandem Select Acquired by New York Co.; Will Continue to Innovate
Fort Collins-based Tandem Select, which conducts pre-employment background screenings, has been acquired by New York City-based Sterling Infosystems - the third-largest background screening company in the nation. KUNC’s Erin O’Toole talks with Steve Porter, reporter for the Northern Colorado Business Report about how the acquisition will affect the company.
O’Toole: The Tandem Select name has been a part of the Fort Collins business community for a long time. Will the business have to change its name?
Porter: No, Tandem Select will continue doing business under its original name and will retain all 55 of its current employees. By purchasing Tandem, Sterling Infosystems has provided a capital infusion and will allow the Tandem team access to global background checking capabilities, as well as more technological resources and an expanded research and development team.
O’Toole: So what kinds of projects will the R&D team work on?
Porter: Well, the first project on their list is the development of a social media background checking product that will make it possible for employers to get a thorough, accurate picture of what their applicant’s online presence is like. Right now, many employers just type an applicant’s name into Google and see what comes up, but that can create legal problems for the employer. New social media background checking products will protect both the employer and the applicant.
O’Toole: It’s interesting that legal problems can arise simply from doing what most people do – performing a Google search on an applicant. What kinds of legal problems are we talking about?
Porter: Equal Opportunity Employment laws make it illegal to base employment decisions on race, religion, ethnicity and disability, to name a few. Simply performing a Google search could conjure up information relating to any one of these things, creating a liability for the employer, even if the company decides not to hire an applicant for other reasons.
O’Toole: I see. So how will the new products being developed keep this problem from popping up?
Porter: The products being developed will block out information related to race, religion, etc, protecting both the applicant from being unfairly judged and the employer from any litigation that may ensue after they turn down an applicant who has been the subject of a social media check.
O’Toole: But.. it won’t block those party pictures, right? (laughs) Will Tandem be involved with the development of these new products?
Porter: Absolutely. Jerry Thurber, president of Tandem Select, has taken on the role of product innovation team leader, which gives him an integral role in the development of new products for the combined team of Tandem and Sterling. Thurber is dedicated to innovation in his business, and Sterling’s assistance will only make innovation easier for the folks at Tandem.
O’Toole: When can employers expect this product to be available?
Porter: Thurber is expecting the social media background check products to be available within 18 months.
O'Toole: So what other changes can clients expect at Tandem?
Porter: It will be a very smooth transition, according to Tandem co-owner and CEO Chris Baker. He said that clients shouldn’t notice any bumps in the road resulting from the acquisition. Instead, they’ll notice the new products as they arrive, and will be able to access global background check results due to Sterling’s international presence. Sterling has offices all across the country, including one in Denver and one in Vail, and also has offices overseas.
O'Toole: It sounds like Tandem will benefit quite a bit from this deal. How will the acquisition enhance Sterling’s business?
Porter: Sterling is excited to add a small business to their family. William Greenblatt, CEO of Sterling Infosystems, said that Tandem’s innovative spirit and ability to move nimbly as a small company were big draws for him. He also saw a great deal of talent in the people at Tandem, which is important in any business.