April 27th, 2023 | Sterling

Sterling Celebrates 10th Anniversary of iCIMS Partnership

Sterling has a lot to celebrate this year. Not only will the Sterling team be attending the iCIMS Inspire event, but we’re also proud to be celebrating the 10th anniversary of our partnership with iCIMS!

To mark the occasion, we brought together two leaders who helped make it all happen: Harris Bornstein, Sterling’s VP of Strategic Alliances & Channel Partnerships, and Chris Amabile, VP of Partnerships & Alliances at iCIMS. Both heads of partnerships have been in their roles from the very start of our premier-level partnership. Ever since then, under their leadership, the iCIMS and Sterling teams have worked with one another extensively to help our mutual clients to hire quickly and with confidence.

We interviewed Harris and Chris to discuss everything that was, is, and will be for Sterling and iCIMS, along with the future of HR integrations and the business benefits they can help HR leaders to deliver. Here’s what they had to say:

Q: The year is 2013. Can you describe the industry and the services at iCIMS and Sterling?

Chris Amabile: iCIMS always recognized Sterling’s position as a leader in the background check space. At the time, iCIMS was beginning to build its ecosystem strategy, and create a structured approach for the way our partners and integration vendors could access and build into the iCIMS platform. Our clients and partners recognized this focus, and consistently shared the ease of working with iCIMS integrations. Sterling and team also recognized this and made the decision to be an early adopter in standardizing our integration for all our mutual customers. At the time we had less than 100 partners in our program. Today, we have more than 750.

Harris Bornstein: Back in 2013, Sterling’s offering was primarily centered around standard drug and background screening. While there have always been industry-specific nuances, most screening programs were generally similar. The big conceptual innovation back then was the idea of integrating, which is what really brought iCIMS and Sterling together. From the beginning, Sterling contributed to the industry with our strong customer service, fast turnaround times, and the convenience of our Candidate Hub. When iCIMS joined the Sterling partner ecosystem in 2013, I would estimate that we had less than a dozen integrated partners. Fast forward to today and we have over 50 integration partners.  

Q: How did the Sterling + iCIMS partnership come about? Who approached whom? Why did you want to partner with each other?

Chris Amabile: I always remember seeing Sterling at industry events with their booths full of traffic. Our teams were hard at work developing our ecosystem, and we knew Sterling was one of the top background partners we needed to work with in order to validate the impact of our programs. At that time, iCIMS Partnerships reported through the iCIMS CMO, who was a huge proponent in getting us to arrive at a partnership. We aligned on a close integration and a go-to-market partnership. As a result, Sterling quickly became one of our standout partners.

Harris Bornstein: I distinctly remember the rapidly increasing demand for iCIMS integrations starting at that time. At Sterling, we were hearing about the iCIMS ATS (Applicant Tracking System) more and more, so I reached out to their CMO for an exploratory discussion. After a few great conversations, our momentum kept growing. Soon after, the CMO agreed to visit our New York City headquarters where we executed our partnership agreement on the spot. From that point, we built our integration, and now iCIMS is one of our top partners in terms of integrated clients and revenue. On a personal note, iCIMS always held a special place in my heart: beyond their amazing product offering, we’re both located in New Jersey.

Q: What did the integration look like in 2013? What does it look like now?

Chris Amabile: We started the integration with one option that was able to trigger and pull back select candidate information tied to background and drug screening. Over the years, we have subsequently scaled the partnership to include over ten different integrations that comprise acquisitions Sterling has made, new products such as Sterling’s I-9 verification, and finally, our Prime integrations that fully embed the screening configuration, package setup, results, and reporting — all within the iCIMS interface. 

Harris Bornstein: The integration (in and of itself) really wasn’t that different. You would pull up a candidate page, select a Sterling background check, select your package to submit the order, and a few days later we would post the results back to iCIMS. What has changed over the years would of course be the integration’s look and feel, and also its ease of use, not just for recruiters, but especially for candidates. Through the iCIMS Prime connector, our time-to-integrate has also improved, often allowing our clients to be up and running with an integration in just days, as opposed to weeks. From a product standpoint, the most notable difference today is that Sterling’s I-9 services are now integrated with iCIMS. This helps our clients navigate the journey (from screening to onboarding) via our integration. Both companies realize the importance of continued technological investments as it helps to improve client and candidate experiences and hiring efficiencies. In fact, Sterling’s 2022 Hiring Reimagined report revealed that 89% of surveyed HR professionals investing in their hiring process were investing in new technology to streamline the candidate experience and automate hiring.

Q: What milestones have Sterling and iCIMS accomplished in the last 10 years?

Chris Amabile: Partnerships are only as successful as the commitment and resolve of the people sitting on the other side of the table from you. The Sterling team has always leaned in and focused on mutually successful results and outcomes for our customers. Attending events together, sitting on advisory councils, and off-sites to whiteboard integrations all echo why our relationship has stood the test of time. We’ve also grown on a global scale together, continuing to help our international clients with their global needs! From our own company’s standpoint, we’ve been the recipient of multiple industry awards over the seven-plus years. We introduced our Talent Cloud, along with our reimagined brand identity, in October 2020 and filed for an IPO in August 2021. In the last five years, we’ve continued to expand the Talent Cloud with the acquisitions of TextRecruit, Jibe, EasyRecrue, Altru Labs, Candidate. ID, and SkillSurvey.

Harris Bornstein: To me, the key to any successful partnership is the relationships built within it — and we struck gold with iCIMS. Being (practically) local, we’ve spent countless days together either in NYC or in NJ collaborating, training, and coming up with creative ways to help each other grow. Over the last ten years, our partnership has grown deeper and stronger. Sterling has had plenty of our own corporate milestones: for example the successful launch of our IPO in September 2021.  Since then, Sterling has added identity verification to our service offerings and made some great acquisitions, including EBI (Employment Background Investigations, Inc), Socrates Ltd., and A-Check Global. The Socrates acquisition has expanded our global reach into Latin America. Our most recent expansion has been to acquire A-Check Global, helping us to better serve clients in healthcare, industrials, tech, and media.

Q: What kind of changes to the background check industry will we see in the next 5-10 years? Likewise, what changes to the partnership are on the way?

Chris Amabile: The industry is continuously evolving and striving to drive faster and more efficient hiring outcomes. As our clients look to scale their businesses, I am sure iCIMS and Sterling will continue to iterate on our integrations across the screening category, ensuring that we continue to lead the industry in helping enterprise clients hire at scale. In the last 10 years, we have integrated over 250 enterprise clients, and I don’t see us slowing down anytime soon! I’m thankful for our partnership and our continued investment in helping each other provide our clients with the technology and service they need. 

Harris Bornstein: Given that 60% of Sterling’s clients are now integrated, this number will only continue to grow as more and more clients require an integration for streamlining hiring efficiencies. Also, both Sterling and iCIMS are steadily expanding our product offerings. I think this is where we have the most opportunity in the next 5-10 years, whether it be through our identity services, employee monitoring, and other innovations that will come next for us. It’s great to have a partner like iCIMS to guide us through the best ways to promote and integrate these products into our offering, as we did with our I-9 integration in 2022. The traditional ATS Integration will certainly continue to evolve, but the foundation of our partnership will remain as solid as ever. 

Sterling’s pre-built integrations with iCIMS Standard and Prime allow users to order background checks and verify employment quickly and easily. As the leading talent acquisition solutions provider, the iCIMS Talent Cloud helps HR teams in all industries to offer scalable solutions backed by award-winning service.

To help hire today’s best talent, together, Sterling and iCIMS continue to support organizations of all sizes across all sectors,  and can scale based on any volume level. Through our integrated partnership and expert integrations partner team, we can also quickly set-up your integrated account within just weeks to help speed to hire. Learn more about Sterling’s integrations designed to streamline your hiring and recruiting.

About Chris Amabile:

Chris Amabile is the Vice President, Partnerships & Alliances at iCIMS and has been with the organization for over 10 years. Chris started his career at iCIMS back in 2011 as an opportunity consultant, proceeded to step into the world of partnerships as channel marketing specialist, where he then was awarded the opportunity to further grow the partnerships organization at iCIMS. From 2013-2018, Chris took the partner ecosystem from 200 to 600+ organizations and launched and scaled a marketplace mode to further compliment and diversify the revenue mix attributed to partners. Chris lives in New Jersey with his wife, 2 children and their yellow lab.

About Harris Bornstein:

Harris Bornstein is the Vice President of Strategic Alliances and Channel Partnerships for Sterling.

He joined the company in 1999, holding several senior leadership and business development positions in Sterling’s Strategic Channel Partnerships group, as well as serving as Regional Director of Sales. Harris has helped recruit and manage many of Sterling’s top partners. He focuses on identifying ATS/HCM partners with best-in-class technology and growing Sterling’s partner ecosystem to best serve clients.

Harris holds a BS degree in Administration of Justice from Rutgers University.

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.