March 29th, 2024 | Sterling

Building A Successful Global Background Check Program with Sterling

No matter where you hire, conducting a thorough background check on potential new employees is a critical step in the process. But managing a successful screening program across different regions can be challenging.  

In this blog, we discuss the evolution of global background screening and explore key factors to consider when considering a global screening provider. We speak to Joy Henry, Head of Technology and Business Services, and Melissa Dorset, Head of Client Success for Technology and Business Services, about how your organization can build a successful global screening program working with a provider with regional expertise. 

You can view the entire conversation with Joy & Melissa here:

Q: How have you seen global background screening evolve over the years?  
A: (Joy) When we think back five years ago, most global background check conversations were in the financial and professional services spaces, and we talked about expansion across the EMEA and APAC regions. Over the last few years, global conversations have moved into different industries, such as retail, staffing, technology, and media. Latin America has also become a bigger part of the conversation as organizations have realized that there are many talented people with different language skills and capabilities that offer a lot of value to their organizations. 

Now that the world has opened back up after the Covid-19 pandemic, people are starting to move and work remotely, which means that organizations are hiring more individuals with global backgrounds. So, while you may be a US headquartered organization that predominantly hires in the US, the chances of you hiring someone who has worked or currently lives in another country is much higher these days.  

We’ve also seen the rest of the world think about background screening differently. The US has done background screening for employment for many years, but now we are seeing more countries lean into background screening as a best practice. The technology that’s available to complete background screening is evolving as well, which is helping to decrease turnaround times in more places around the world.   

Q: What are the benefits of having one global program versus using multiple screening vendors? 
A: (Joy) The biggest challenge I see for large multinational organizations is the ability to manage a single screening program with consistency. Trying to maintain a consistent standard across multiple vendors that have different solutions, different approaches, and different compliance evaluations of local laws like data privacy requirements, becomes difficult very quickly.  

When you lean into a single global provider, you can take your key organizational policies and consistently layer them into your screening program while still allowing for regional nuances. This centralization makes it easier for businesses to scale, manage, and optimize screening programs in a single hub. From a regulatory standpoint, you have a single partner helping you monitor a global compliance landscape that is regularly changing.  

Q: What makes Sterling different as a global background check provider?   
A: (Joy) It can be really daunting to take on and manage all of the elements that go into a global screening program. What we’ve spent a lot of time on here at Sterling is not just organizing around our industries, but also leaning into regional expertise within those industries. For example, we have the ability to stand up a regionally inclusive account team for a particular client so that they can roll out a program seamlessly around the world. That flexibility makes us very unique in the market. 

When you think about global programs, you want a partner who can scale with you, and Sterling is one of the largest screening providers in the world. It is important to us to make sure that we can handle whatever you are throwing at us, so we have invested heavily in our cloud-based technology, in automation, and in creating operational and fulfillment teams around the world that can handle fluctuations in order volumes. Outside of our technology, our Compliance team helps make it easy for you to stay up to date with a wide variety of local laws, including data privacy regulations.  

Q: How is Sterling using our technology and other capabilities to help make it easier for our clients to screen globally? 
A: (Melissa) First and foremost, we can support global screening programs in many different scenarios. For example, say you’re hiring all around the world, or maybe you’re hiring in just one or two countries, but you have candidates with diverse, international backgrounds. In both cases Sterling can process background checks for you in over 240 different countries and territories. 

From a user experience perspective, our objective at Sterling is to create as intuitive of an experience as possible for both our clients and especially for their candidates. Recently we have focused on incorporating new features like having candidates go through our data collection process in one of our more than 15 languages options to help them feel more confident completing their background check. 

One of the things that we’re hearing a lot from our clients is that they are really looking holistically at their technology platforms and want to streamline and create as much consistency as possible. We are supporting our clients with these efforts by creating additional global integrations so that the screening experience stays consistent across both Sterling’s technology and their ATS & HRIS systems, regardless of where they are hiring. 

Q: What resources does Sterling offer to help our clients navigate the regulations that are involved with global background screening? 

A: (Melissa) Compliance is central to everything we do around the world because we want to make sure that we’re in line with local legislation and privacy regulations. Those laws can vary quite drastically in different areas of the world, and we may not even be allowed to conduct a certain service in a particular country or region.  

Our in-house compliance and privacy teams partner with outside counsel that specialize in different regions to look at each of the markets where we operate. These experts constantly monitor the legislative landscape to help keep our clients informed when changes arise. When new laws or regulations are enacted, we review our services to help ensure that our portfolio aligns with local requirements and restrictions.  

To help our clients feel confident hiring across different countries, we also produce what we call Country Fact Sheets. These documents are updated weekly and outline the services that we offer for that specific country, as well as any sort of local restrictions and/or cultural nuances around background checks that may need to be considered. 

Q: How does Sterling approach the implementation process for a global screening program? 

A: (Joy) The most important thing we do when we approach setting up a new global screening program is our team asks a lot of questions. We want to align ourselves with your mission statement and understand why you do things a certain way – and if there’s an opportunity for us to suggest process improvements to help make your life easier or make your candidate experience more streamlined, we take that commitment as your partner very seriously. 

Our dedicated implementation team wants to understand how you operate as an organization, especially how you train and handle change management when rolling out a new process. Then they look at where you want to screen so that we can layer in any local considerations as we scope your program and work toward go-live. Some clients want to activate their entire program at one time while others want to roll out a new program region by region. 

Q: What does Sterling’s global support model look like at a high level?  

A: (Melissa) When it comes to how Sterling views our support model in general, we are really focused on building a long-lasting partnership with our clients. When you have a global screening program with us, we will designate a client success lead to help drive success across all the regions you are hiring in, both at the tactical day-to-day level and at the strategic level. This lead coordinates with regional support team members who understand the ins and outs of screening in the countries that you’re hiring in while also working closely with you to track and measure your program’s performance in support of your global hiring goals. 

We also offer candidate support around the world. Regardless of where your candidate is sitting, they’ll be able to call in and touch base with one of our candidate care team members if they have any questions as they’re going through their background check process in our Candidate Hub.  

Q: What would your final advice be if an organization is looking to stand up a successful global screening program? 

A: (Joy) I think the biggest thing is to make sure that you’re connected with a screening partner who are on the ground in whatever regions you need. This is because there are many things that need to be considered from a cultural and legal perspective to effectively tailor the screening experience, depending on where you are hiring. Those nuances are really important in determining how best to create a frictionless process for your team and for your candidates.  

(Melissa) If your organization is contemplating rolling out a new global screening program or consolidating an existing global screening program, it can feel intimidating. We understand that, and we’ve been through this before. We’ve got a lot of expertise on our side and we’re here to talk through your challenges and potential opportunities as we guide you through the process. We’ll leverage all our resources to help make your program successful. Please don’t hesitate to reach out and start the conversation! 

To learn more about how Sterling can help you develop a global screening program, visit our Global Screening Hub.

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.