January 12th, 2023 | Joy Henry, Head of Technology and Business Services

3 Ways to Improve Turnaround Time When Onboarding Gig Workers 

The gig economy workforce is expected to grow by at least 30 million people in 2023(1), which has motivated platforms to re-evaluate the efficiencies of their candidate onboarding process. With high volumes of candidates onboarding daily, many platform integrations can’t keep up with the demand fast enough to process background checks. Candidate drop-off rates are reaching almost 85%(2) in some cases, causing the loss of qualified candidates to competitors due to an inconvenient onboarding experience. In our latest industry report, Sterling surveyed over 400 people working in the Gig economy and discovered that they dropped out (or considered dropping out of) a platform’s onboarding process.

Luckily for gig companies, the inefficiencies causing friction during the onboarding process can be alleviated by implementing a few simple program upgrades which help to reduce the number of qualified candidates leaving their platform’s onboarding process.

#1: Create a User-Friendly Experience

Gig economy job seekers differ from full-time employees in that, ideally, they want to begin working for a platform that very day. Because of this candidate mindset, employing this type of workforce to represent your brand relies heavily on a quick and customized onboarding experience. In order to reach hiring targets, gig companies should consider implementing the following:

  • Mobile-Responsive Experience – Due to the immediacy of the gig hiring process, candidates are typically completing background checks via smart devices, which means the process must be optimized for all mobile device applications.
  • API Integration – To create a seamless user experience, the background check process should be integrated into the gig platform. Using a background screening partner that offers a customizable API can help deliver a strong candidate experience within the application and also fit within existing workflows to help speed up the onboarding process and help reduce candidate drop-off.
  • Candidate Access – Give your candidates the power to manage their background screening status without having to contact and wait for a support team. Unlike other background screening vendors, Sterling offers a robust Candidate Hub that saves time and keeps candidates engaged throughout the process via SMS notification and alerts. We also provide a dedicated candidate support team to quickly answer candidate questions.

#2: Automate Internal Processes

Every platform is different, and the requirements of background checks are unique to each industry. By automating your platform’s workflow, you can decrease turnaround times from days to hours. Whether your platform provides asset sharing, transportation, or professional services, Sterling’s onboarding process is customized specifically for your needs of your platform. To help reduce turnaround time, your background check solution provider should help automate parts of your workflow to reduce the need for staff to perform manual tasks.

API Integrations are not only important to the candidate’s onboarding process to help create a streamlined experience, but APIs also increase automation on the backend of a platform to enable the seamless transfer of data during the background check process. The seamless communication between your platform, a background screening partner, and the connection to county, state, and federal sources all contribute to help reduce turnaround times.  

#3: Add Verifications

Identity fraud in both full-time employment and gig workforces can be a costly problem for brands, so it is important that background check services perform multiple types of verifications to reduce fraudulent candidates from sneaking through the cracks.

Sterling’s Gig Economy services offer clients verifications that help identify unqualified or fraudulent candidates early in the onboarding process, saving your platform time and money. Incorporating services such as Identity Verification and Social Security Number Trace can act as an additional layer of safety to your onboarding process, decreasing the time it takes to filter through candidates and allowing you more time to review candidates in our modern, intuitive Client Hub.


Regardless of whether your company is a start-up or an established brand, turnaround times for background checks will always be a concern, but these challenges can be mitigated with the right partner. To increase your program’s efficiency and reduce candidate drop-off, it is important to understand that gig candidates expect faster results than traditional employees – typically in hours rather than days. Learn more about how to reduce turnaround times with the help of your background check vendor by visiting Sterling’s Gig Economy page, or contact us now to speak with a representative.

Joy Henry is the Head of Sterling’s Technology and Business Services group, where she holds responsibility for the P&L of the Financial Services, Retail, Gig, Staffing, Diligence, Technology, Media, Entertainment, and Hospitality practice areas of the business. Joy joined Sterling in 2013 and previously held the position of General Manager of the Financial and Business Services Practice Area.

Prior to Sterling, Joy spent nearly 15 years at Dow Jones serving in various roles across the organization.

(1) Blog: Velocity Global – The Size of the Gig Economy

(2) Sterling’s Gig Hiring Report

Sterling is not a law firm. 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.