Bob Mather works exclusively for C-level executives and Human Resources leaders. He is the CEO and Founder of one of the largest background check companies in the United States, Pre-employ.com. He has worked as a private investigator for some of the world’s largest corporations. Bob is an expert on workplace discrimination and the investigations frequently required. He is proud to say that he is both a criminal justice reform advocate and a law enforcement supporter.
In this episode, Bob gets into a person’s background and how he wants to change his industry. He explains how college can be a great experience, but you learn more from real-life experiences. Bob’s going to let you know that you should just SHUT THE F UP AND DO IT. Check it out!
Bob’s learning journey and Masterminds
The Mastermind Effect: 02:17
Let’s dive into it. When you and I were younger, we learned from textbooks and teachers, then eventually it’s our friends, family, coworkers, and people around us. But the reality is, that’s a sliver of what’s possible. How has your learning changed from your early years versus today?
Bob Mather: 02:36
In my early years, we didn’t have computers. We didn’t have anything. My first learning was about work ethic, the ability to go in and work, and work until the task or goal was accomplished. I was raised on a working cattle ranch. When I was going to high school, I would get up at 4:30 every morning. I feed animals, go to school, come back, feed animals, and work. I learned work ethic after I left that experience. I learned that nothing’s hard.
As technology came along, it was mind-blowing. Netscape came along. I’m a little older than you. That thought that you could sit at a computer, which was huge back then, and the person across the room from you could type and work on the same document as you was mind-blowing. I was a very early adapter into technology because of love. I had the old AOL disk drives you would put in. I’d get on and soak up as much learning as I could.
Today, I spend a lot of time giving back. I do that on various social media platforms. I’m a big fan of LinkedIn and the Clubhouse. I’m trying to get into Twitter spaces so that I can engage in there. That’s also how I learned. It seems like everything you give back comes back tenfold in new knowledge.
The Mastermind Effect: 04:29
What I hear there is you lead with the give mentality.
Bob Mather: 04:34
I do now. I didn’t when I was younger. If you’re younger now, just starting, and you’re a little bit greedy, don’t worry. It’s okay. I was talking to someone who was asking me for some advice. He was in his mid-30s. He said, “I don’t have a goal. I don’t know what to do.” We were talking for a while. I said, “I hear your goal. It was similar to mine when I was probably your age. You want to be successful and wealthy.” And like a light bulb went off to him. I said it’s okay to take micro-steps towards that.
In today’s world, there’s more you set that goal, and you usually preface it. I want to give back. And that’s why I want to be wealthy, and I want to get a percentage. But that’s not the way it was 20 years ago. It was okay to say, “I’m chasing the American dream, and I’m going to work hard. I’m going to try to do it. Yeah.” Today, I give back a lot, and I get flooded with kindness. It’s wonderful.
The Mastermind Effect: 05:49
When you have that shift from an “I” to a “we.” It doesn’t make you a bad person because you have that “I” mindset. Technology has brought us closer together, but it’s also separated us. Technology has allowed us to be faster and more efficient things, but at the same time, it’s caused us to create jealousy and the imposter syndrome. People only see the final product and the successful product; they don’t see success is built on a road of bones and skeletons. I love hearing that you’re working with younger generations and letting them know that it is okay to take those micro-steps
When we learn from you and all these other people, it can be confusing because many resources are out today. Some people learn from mentors, accountability buddies, mastermind, and online courses. Who are you currently learning from? How did you connect with them?
Bob Mather: 06:56
Currently, I am deep with marketing and how to reach the most people, the most effective, and the best message. I’m working with this group called Marketing Counts. His name’s Paul Counts, and he is a wonderful guy and a tremendous mentor in marketing. When you’re trying to find someone to work with and learn from, it’s not always what they’re saying; it’s how you connect, how you hear them, how they resonate, and how it sinks in. We all learn in different ways. Some of us have to read, some of us have to read and take notes simultaneously. Some of us have to watch. He is the one I’m working with right now, for the last probably four or five months, to take my social game to understand how to reach people better.
The Mastermind Effect:
How did you connect to find and start working with them?
I connected through LinkedIn. It is an amazing platform. I recommend it for all young entrepreneurs or want to be successful people. LinkedIn is one of the two platforms right now that gives you the ability to get organic growth. If I post something on criminal justice reform, or the background check process on Facebook, as a rule, unless I pay for ads, only my friends will see it on my connections. But on LinkedIn and Tiktok right now, those are the two platforms that you can post. If you have a good post, and people like it, and the algorithms pick you up, you can get hundreds of 1000s of people looking at you. I recommend that people take some time to study how LinkedIn works. I’ve been doing it for the last couple of years.
The Mastermind Effect: 08:55
It’s one of my favorites for multiple reasons. Now, depending on how much you’re posting out there, you’re going to get some inbox spam results. That’s just the reality. That’s just about every platform out there. I think Instagram might follow that same model. If you use the hashtag (#) method with them, other people that are not in your ecosystem can see that based on a location if they’re searching.
Bob Mather: 09:22
In my case, I’m a private investigator and a CEO. I’m a thought leader for change in my industry. Right now, I’m focusing as much as I can on the executives who can change and make the background check process more transparent, less secrecy, more fair, and less discriminatory. I’m finding tremendous success on LinkedIn dealing with executives who want to do the right thing. It’s just surprising to everybody how background checks work and how scary it is.
The Mastermind Effect: 10:01
You’re one of the people that play on both sides. You understand someone with a different background or one that might have had a few bumps and bruises on it. Would you mind going in just a little bit on that as you play on both sides of what I’m talking about?
Bob Mather: 10:20
I do thousands of criminal background checks a day for employers who are hiring people. It’s a crazy world that we live in if you think about it.
We’re talking about social media and marketing. That leads right into recruiting, where if I wanted to come to work for you, you might be spending hundreds of thousands of dollars a year trying to recruit somebody like me. I’m going through that process. Then, you and I go through this little dance. We’re like, “Hey, Brandon, I like your company.” And you’re like, “Hey, Bob, I like what your resume says. And I like the way we connect.” I am like, “Hey, Brandon, you want to go into a relationship? I want to work with you.” And you’re like, “Bob, I’d love to have a relationship with you. Why don’t you come to work for me.” Then you say, “Hey, Bob, stop. I need your name, your social security number, your date of birth. I need you to go pee into this cup.”
I’m not only going to look into your background and try to see if I can catch you lying about anything on your resume or any criminal records that I can find. I may even check to make sure that you have the right to be in the United States. I’m going to go E-verify which we do for employers, and then I’m going to send your urine to a laboratory, and I’m going to have some people look through your urine for substances that may or may not be illegal. It’s a crazy process, and it’s what we’ve done for a long time.
I know from my experience working that getting a background check, I deal with both sides. I deal with applicants who are great people; most of them are just flying through the process. All of them are curious about what’s in my background, and we try to give as much transparency as we can. And then, we also try to help the people that have a criminal record in their background. There’s a tremendous amount of uncertainty and naivete. If I got arrested 15 years ago in high school, will this show up on a background check when I was 17? There’s just a lot of things that we try to help applicants get through the process of educating the employers.
I’m building out Mybackgroundcheck.com right now to be the vehicle where people can view what is out there in the world right now in their background. With a click of a button, sign in, get your background check report, see who else has background checks, and make sure it’s right. Own it. It just needs to be a new way.
The Mastermind Effect: 13:19
Speaking in general, sometimes we get stuck in our ideas and how things need to be done. I believe the pandemic has allowed us to find ways to recapture and repurpose how things can be accomplished. How of masterminds and coaching helped you when you’re looking to get unstuck and accomplish something that you’re just sitting there saying, I don’t know how to do this?
Bob Mather: 13:54
My biggest issue is procrastination, self-sabotage. I spend a lot of time studying now and working with masterminds to get over that issue. You and I might have talked about this before; I’ll do four or five things at once. I’ll have the email open, procrastinate, a shiny object jumps by, and I grab it. It’s a process. It’s an everyday thing. You have to keep trying, and you have to work hard to be a better person, employer, job applicant, entrepreneur, or wherever you’re at in your stage.
Self-Education and Bob’s reality
The Mastermind Effect: 15:18
Masterminds put us in a room with people that might not be in our industry but help us think and look differently. Something that works for them, and you can repurpose it for what you’re doing. They’ve been around for a long time. Probably the first mastermind was the apostles. Then, Benjamin Franklin creates the Judo Club. And then, Napoleon Hill writes a book about it, which solidifies what a mastermind is. As there continues to be a large boom in self-education, where do you see the parallels going between self-education versus standardized education?
Bob Mather: 16:06
I’ve been lucky to have three daughters that have gone through college now. All of them came out and said the same thing, which is, “I’ve learned more outside of college than I ever did inside.” Great experiences for them.
I failed at college and learned a lot more. I went to five junior colleges, I didn’t even make it to anything larger, and I am happy that I didn’t. Right now, colleges, particularly the tuition, are a bubble. It makes no sense. You can go into debt for hundreds of thousands of dollars to come out with a degree. There’s no real use for it. Masterminds, podcasts, places like Clubhouse, and Twitter spaces let you passively listen if you want to on a specific topic. They give you the ability to focus on the education you want to focus on at this particular moment.
The Mastermind Effect: 17:52
You can learn at your pace at your convenience. I think there’s a pro-con to it because when you have to be sitting in a specific place, you have to take it in. But it allows you to do it at the convenience of the pace, and you can handle it
Bob Mather: 18:06
It gives you the ability to learn from the best. They may be the best at this moment or the past 20 years, whatever it may be. In some cases, it’s even interactive. If you get into Clubhouse or Twitter spaces, you can talk and chat.
The Mastermind Effect: 18:27
I was talking with someone earlier today, and they said their mentor or coach said to give your best stuff away for free. There are so many places and platforms out there that you can gain so much knowledge, and people are giving it now. The barrier to entry is so so much lower.
Bob Mather: 18:49
I’m jealous and envious of the younger generation. They didn’t have to work as hard as we did.
The Mastermind Effect: 19:06
You and I grew up where if you defined yourself by how hard you worked, you must work the extra hours, eight hours a day. I eventually learned that working hard does not mean working smart and efficiently.
Bob Mather: 19:56
To work smarter, you really couldn’t. The technology was not there, but people weren’t giving back as much as they are now—what a wonderful time. We’re talking about young and barriers to entry, how about the 40, 50, 60 years old? Now’s the time; it’s never been easier. Just put some headphones in, do whatever you’re doing and listen to whatever it is you’re trying to do.
The Mastermind Effect: 21:44
When people invest in themselves, they typically have a better than a vague idea of the outcome. I always feel that your highest ROI is yourself better than the stock market and better than the housing market because you can’t control those. I’m in both of those, but you don’t have control of them; you do have control of yourself. What should someone expect when they invest in themselves and work with you through what you’re building?
Bob Mather: 22:14
I don’t know about working with me as I don’t charge for anything. I’m giving free advice to anyone. There’s no doubt that investing in yourself is the path that people have to go down. You can’t control what’s going on in today’s world as we’re starting to emerge from COVID. What you can control is even more confusing, right? We lost control of so many things. What an opportunity this has been for you to learn everything you want to be better, regardless of your age.
I’m building out a new company. What I’m struggling with is, do I want to be 100%? Or do I want to bring in investors who bring in talent? It’s a huge process. Now, to make this decision, I have to invest a lot of time and learning to understand the pros and cons. I want to hear the horror stories from both sides. And as a PI and a background check expert, I hear horror stories. I’ve seen them. I’ve worked on cases helping people and helping entrepreneurs with bad partnerships. I’ve also seen some of the pros. I’m 100% own guy my whole life, and I’m trying to calculate the ROI on that particular decision. Does anyone have any advice? I would love to hear your take on it.
The Mastermind Effect: 23:53
I’ll give you a couple of guys that maybe you want to take a look at. Jeff Moore and Nic Peterson do a Thursday Night Boardroom thing, which is amazing once a night, once a month mastermind. Once your lead-in, it’s free. I’ve done it both ways. 100%, split it and worked with the family. I can tell you they’ve all worked. They all have worked in it. And the real answer is it depends.
I feel that success is a word that we use out there. People define it differently. A lot of the time in the solo shows, I talked about success, the pillars of success, and what does it take to be successful. A few of these things are mentorship, experimentation, partnership, willingness to fail, and on the flip side, willingness to define success. Many people don’t do it because once you have defined success, you, in essence, defined failure. That’s a scary thing to think about. What do you feel is a key attribute in being becoming successful?
Bob Mather: 25:01
I would say in my experience, it’s been the micro goals. This sounds silly. When I started, my goal was to be able to pay off my cars. I had two cars, and I had a car payment. And when that happened, and I could look out at my vehicle and had no car payment, I was a success. I almost always used money as a way to judge success. I’ve always set micro-goals on success.
I’m going to tell you something embarrassing. When I was young, I thought my definition of success was if I could make $1,000 for every year of my age. If I was 25, and I made $25,000 a year, that was that. That’s the way I get it.
I went down this path of working on a ranch. Then I caught shoplifters for living for years, and then worked into embezzlement and became a PI. Then learned a little more through studying how to build companies that have the ability for exponential growth. In my case, as a private investigator, there are so many hours a week you can bill out. But in my case, I found out that in the background check process, I could sign up for one contract with a hospital or a small business that might spend $250,000 a year with me. You can build exponential revenue that way.
The Mastermind Effect: 27:06
That’s interesting. There are so many things that are built into our DNA. That was probably built into your DNA that at 25 $25,000. That’s the definition of wealth. You probably have moved away from a scarcity mindset into an abundant mindset and realized that peace and happiness might have a higher weighing factor on success for you now versus a monetary number over here.
Bob Mather: 27:36
It’s easy to say that when I turned 40, I reached every single goal that I could have. I remember having my middle daughter on my knee, and it hit me; I did it. I almost had a mental breakdown after that. What do I do now? I have told people over the years that I don’t think I would want to win the lottery. I don’t know what I would wake up and want to do. I love to be building; I love to work. Now, as I get a little bit older, I have no idea about how much money I have or don’t have. I don’t look at it counted. It’s not part of the DNA. But it’s the path that I had to take to get there.
The Mastermind Effect: 28:22
Everyone’s path is their own. I think mine happened around 38 or 39 when that moment might shift and that like, what am I doing? Then breakdown happens. It’s having the right people around you to help and guide you through that. Realizing that it’s not at the middle, beginning, or end of whatever it is, you can completely change the trajectory going forward because of having a foundation. It’s easier to do it when you have built a foundation; you built that financial foundation, that corporate Foundation. To lead with the give mentality and have a for-purpose mindset going forward, it’s a lot easier when you have that foundation.
Bob Mather: 29:01
Unfortunately, during that stage, I had nobody. I had to figure it out, and it all worked out. It was amazing. I would tell people close to me that I have to “Bob proof” my life. I had imposter syndrome and depression-era syndrome. I have to pay off everything. I have to make it so that if I die, my family has nothing to worry about. They can’t lose everything. If I get divorced, which eventually I did, everyone’s going to be good and be able to go on. I have to “Bob proof” this because there’s no way that this guy who used to catch shoplifters will keep this going.
Now, I don’t look at the monetary, but I still wake up with the work ethic I want to grow. Right now, I want to change my industry, and my industry is backward. I want to rip my industry apart. I love the employers I work for. I love doing background checks. I don’t have a single client who wants to be discriminatory or do things bad. We’re just doing things the way we always have.
I want to take the background check industry and make it a transparent consumer product. We should own background checks and share them with those we want; when we want. It needs to be accurate and verified. We need to control our own background check, not hire private investigators or background check companies like mine, to dig into your background, hoping to catch you.
I also see many really bad people out there trying to get into work for employers to do really bad things. I think you and I discussed it a week ago a little bit. It’s depressing. They are the wolves of society, whether they’re trying to get in to take advantage of people that can’t defend themselves, regardless of their age, or want to go and steal. Whether they want to or they are on purpose. We have so many cases of that. But that’s the small minority; the majority of people have background checks that have mistakes in them. There’s another Brandon Straza out there, and you’ve got to confuse with me. If you’re trying to get a job, and the employer and the background check company don’t know it’s not you, you’ve already passed on. In today’s world, you have 30 days to have your background check corrected from your employer in their background check. But they’re not holding the job open for 30 days. No law says we’re going to correct a background check and give you the job. It’s just going to say there was a mistake. You deal with that background check company and fix it. Come back and let us know. We need to fill this position now.
The Mastermind Effect: 31:53
A few more questions as we come to an end here. I feel that in times of prosperity, it’s easier to win when the world’s winning. Those wins just come a little bit easier. But ingenuity and creativity come when we feel the squeeze and the world still feeling some form of a squeeze even as we come out of the pandemic. What are you working on now that will take place over the next 12 months that excites you?
Bob Mather: 32:20
I think about it day and night that I’m going to change my industry and I’m going to help a lot of people. I don’t only mean applicants, and I mean employers also. In this strange dance, we did where I wanted to work for you, and you wanted me to work for you. And then, I had to do a background check and do drug tests. That could take a week or two weeks in some cases, or three or four days. It’s not good for business. You’ve already made your decision. You want to hire me now. Let’s get going. Now, we got to wait while we do this sort of secret background check. Wouldn’t it be great for the employer if I just said my background check is updated monthly by Mybackgroundcheck.com? Here it is, and it’s accurate. No one’s stolen my identity and credit and committed a crime in my name.
I have the best customer service team and compliance team. They go out of their way and trying to help people. You would be amazed how many times somebody says, “My identity was stolen a year or two ago. But the credit card company caught it. And it didn’t cost me anything.” They don’t know if the person who stole your credit cards and your identity also opened up an identification card or driver’s license in your name. It’s basically a get-out-of-jail-free card.
The Mastermind Effect: 34:07
Last one, what is a tip, a tactic, or an actual item, that if someone listening to this today, implemented it over the next 30, 60, or 90 days, would see a real impact on their personal or business life?
Bob Mather: 34:30
That would be to take a piece of paper and write down the following words, “SHUT THE F UP AND DO IT.” Just shut up and do it. You’re not a victim. Nothing’s holding you back. We can listen on. You can read a book. You can watch a video. You can listen to audio. Set your goal. Adjust your goals. Shut up and do it. How’s that?
The Mastermind Effect: 34:57
I love it. It’s blunt. It’s simple. We turn things that should be so simple, and we make them very difficult. Take the idea off the shelf and do it. Implement it. Stop sitting there and saying, “what if” because someone else will take that idea off the shelf and implement it. Those are the result leaders and activators that we have on the podcast. Those are the people that are out there doing it. To gain access to Bob and all the other amazing guests we’ve had, they’re accessible. You can find them on Twitter, Clubhouse, or you can email them. I love when I hear the success stories of people reaching out to the amazing guests that we’ve had on the show.
We have got the Founder of Pre-employ.com and Mybackgroundcheck.com.,Bob. Thank you so much for spending your time with us today.
“Set your goal. Adjust your goal. Shut up and Do it.” – Bob Mather
“Investing in yourself is absolutely the path that people have to go down.” – Bob Mather
“Everything you give back comes back ten-fold in new knowledge.” – Bob Mather
“You just have to keep trying, you have to work hard to be better. To be a better person, a better employer, a better job applicant, or wherever you’re at in your stage.” – Bob Mather
You can connect with me, Brandon Straza, on LinkedIn, Instagram, or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to get in touch and talk more about personal development and how you can live past beyond your limits.