June 21st, 2017 | Cindy Villamil, Sterling Talent Solutions

Data Desk – Data 101 at Sterling

Data data data. Data architecture, data science, big data… we hear data as a buzz word everywhere these days; like it’s the new hot topic. Sterling, however, has been all about data for decades. It’s nothing new at Sterling and that’s why we can stay ahead of the competition with our various uses of data. Data uses range from internal real-time visibility to better serve our customers to having self-service analytics and business intelligence that customers can access themselves. At its core, data is our business. It is the tool we use to help those who entrust us with their organization’s safety; we call this the data platform.

What Is a Data Platform?

What’s a data platform? We’re glad you asked! This monthly blog will break down the various parts of Sterling’s data platform to give you a clear understanding of what it is, its benefits, and possibly most interesting, where we are taking it in the future.

So let’s start at the beginning, what is our data platform? Our data platform is a single solution for data: collection, transfer, storage, transformation, aggregation and analytics. More simply put, it aims to handle everything from data conception to consumption – collecting and storing data, validating and improving the quality of the data, making data available for analysis to employees within the company, bringing data to our clients in the form of reports and more. This is particularly important for our organization because we collect data from so many sources. Take one of our most common products, “The 7 Year Off Trace,” as a demonstration of this process:

process of a 7 year off trace

  • The applicant or the client gives Sterling the first name, last name, social security number and date of birth of the applicant in question.
  • Using a compilation of appropriate data vendors and integrations, we access and pull data that matches the personally identifiable information, or PII, that the applicant or client provided. We then connect that data to addresses where the applicant has lived and possibly has a criminal record. Additionally, this data is tied to other names that the applicant may have gone by in the past, such as a maiden name.
  • The data is then validated to be properly matched to the applicant through a series of data quality algorithms.
  • If the applicant is found to have a criminal record, Sterling deploys searches with additional relevant data vendors and court runners to get primary source detail on the criminal records. If this product were combined with employment or education verification, Sterling employees would simultaneously be in the process of contacting the proper locations for those verifications.
  • Once all of that data has been aggregated, it is put into our data warehouse. From there the data is run through algorithms to calculate metrics and those metrics are rendered in employee and client facing reporting tools along with some of the data itself.

This is one example of how we collect and use data. Now imagine hundreds of this process and others similar to it running simultaneously every minute. The platform is essential to properly govern the lifecycle of the data. From there, we consolidate the thousands of searches that our clients run and make their data available to them via self-service access to help speed up their hiring process. Additionally, that data hand-in-hand with their Sterling account managers’ expertise can help our clients understand their hiring patterns and candidates better. A favorite example of this “data teamwork” was when an account manager, after looking at the data of previous background checks discovered what universities the client tended to hire from and gave this information to the client’s college recruitment team, so they could make informed decisions on where to have a recruiting table the following graduation season.

Data Drives Insights

As it’s becoming increasingly popular, people have started to realize how much data can drive insights and provide us with the knowledge that could have otherwise been forever hidden. Sterling has been doing just that for years, and as technology and talent improve, so do we, but more importantly, so does our service to our customers. Want to learn more about how data plays a part in not only our criminal searches but all of our products? Check out our hiring solutions page, reach out to your account manager with questions and stay tuned to next month’s data blog!

This publication is for informational purposes only and nothing contained in it should be construed as legal advice. We expressly disclaim any warranty or responsibility for damages arising out this information. We encourage you to consult with legal counsel regarding your specific needs. We do not undertake any duty to update previously posted materials.