The Sterling Difference

Six Steps for Effective Criminal Background Checks

Step One

Seek the Right First Impression

The right first impression is priceless. Our mobile-responsive Candidate Hub is intuitive, simple, and engaging; identity verification and criminal background screening have never felt so easy to navigate and simple to administer.

Features include:
  • Gmail login
  • Localized language support
  • Seamless data collection process
  • Text notifications
  • Direct document upload
  • e-Signature capability
Out of 5 Candidate Hub Rating1
Candidates Use a Mobile Device1
Step Two

Know Your Candidate

Historically, US criminal background checks have relied on the candidate to provide accurate identity information for searches. Sterling’s identity verification, powered by, improves background checks by digitally collecting more accurate candidate data. Offered with multiple customizable paths, identity verification helps deter or detect identity fraud; adding this simple step allows you to maximize background check quality.

Explore Identity Verification
TRUE OR FALSE? An SSN Trace does not verify a person’s identity.

An SSN Trace does not verify a person’s identity or ensure the SSN belongs to the person who supplied it.

Americans are part of the digital identity network2
Step Three

Look in the Right Places

By layering our Criminal Locator tools together, we find and uncover more records and more meaningful places to search, providing you with a clearer understanding of your candidates’ potential criminal activity across the US.

An SSN Trace identifies a candidate’s address history as well as the alternate names used (when requested) to identify records in locales of residence. When SSN Trace is used alone as a locator tool, the rate of return of criminal records for county criminal services without alias names is 4.5%+1. Adding searches of alias names increases the number of criminal records found.
Adding Enhanced Nationwide searches state, county, and corrections criminal record databases to locate additional jurisdictions where a candidate may have committed a crime (discovered felony and misdemeanor conviction and pending case records are validated before reporting).
Locator Select further increases the view into criminal activity by looking for related incarceration, jail booking, and arrest records across the US (discovered records are validated before reporting).
Step Four

Choose Technology with a Human Touch

Direct Digital Court Access

Our proprietary CourtDirect system provides direct digital access to ~90% of our search records maintained in the courts.

Digital access means consistency. The ability to retrieve records digitally from the courts not only speeds up the screening process, but it also creates solid reliability around Sterling’s searches. No matter what is happening — weather, holidays, riots, or a world-wide pandemic — for 90% of Sterling’s US criminal searches, we have immediate online access to the information you need.

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U.S. Court Records available using Direct Digital Access1

Innovating Fulfillment Speed with Greater Accuracy

SmartData, our complex, robust technology of thousands of business rules, allows us to auto-complete criminal searches near-instantly, resulting in a 50% reduction in turnaround times while simultaneously achieving more accurate results. Here’s how Sterling does it:

Our system automatically recognizes if there are gaps in court information (e.g., needed case details or personal information). If the information we need isn’t provided by the court, the search is pushed directly to the correct team that ensures the right details are there so you receive a complete, detailed record. In courts where digital access is not available, our own court runners provide 25% faster turnaround times than third party providers.
750K+ different charges, statutes and other county court data are normalized (e.g., DUI, DWI and Driving Under the Influence, and all different court terms for the same thing are standardized).
The system identifies the charge and applies the related business rules to move the search toward completion. During the process, it automatically checks if the court data is associated with the candidate, whether the record can be reported under federal state and local laws, how your company’s order rule matrix categorizes the charges, and ultimately, applies the applicable rules using technology, reducing the chance of human error. If we run into an exception where the system doesn’t have a rule for a search, the search is routed to our fulfillment specialists for manual completion.
We use our technology to constantly refine our SmartData algorithms. With these defined processes in place, we are continually evolving and improving our criminal record turnaround times and accuracy rates for you.
Reduction of turnaround times resulting from the use of technology throughout process1
U.S. Court Records retrieved by dedicated Sterling Court Runners with mobile app upload1

Disrupting the Status Quo

We constantly invest in our technology and services to improve the quality of our background checks and compliance processes. This commitment means we’re positioned to better serve our clients and their candidates, and deliver more effective results, both now and for the future.

of our U.S. criminal searches were delivered without interruption during peak of the Covid-19 pandemic1
Permutations of state, charge and disposition combinations are standardized, allowing end-to-end automation1
Step Five

Know Who’s Performing Your Background Checks

From the moment the order is placed to the completion of the individual searches, 95% of Sterling’s US criminal checks are accomplished entirely in-house. We do the work so we can manage the screening process to your needs and priorities.

Sterling’s expansive offering of criminal services includes:

  • US County Criminal
  • US Federal
  • State Criminal
  • NSOPW Sex Offender Search
  • Criminal Activity Monitoring
Of our US criminal screens are completed entirely in-house1
years disrupting the screening status quo with innovation1
Step Six

Partner with Deep Expertise

Our verticalized support approach ensures an integral connection between our internal industry experts and your specific business requirements and compliance needs. This allows us to create an easy and meaningful partnership where we can make personalized recommendations for your program based on our extensive experience with businesses like yours and the spectrum of roles you hire. We can provide industry best practice suggestions for alias use, criminal package composition, and look-back periods. We consult with you to understand and optimize your program for your success.

Industry verticals with engaged experts knowledgeable in your industry1
Stat Sources
  1. Sterling Corporate Stats 2021-2022
  2. News & Press Release, June 2022

Get Started Today

Take the next step in building a foundation of trust and safety for your organization by choosing a better background screening program. Click the option that best describes you.

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