5 Questions with Elise Segars and Chani Blair of Crisis Text Line
Crisis Text Line provides free, 24/7 text-based support for people in crisis. Anyone can text with a live, trained Crisis Counselors for help with depression, anxiety, eating disorders, bullying, suicidal thoughts, and more. With over 125 million messages processed to date, Crisis Text Line offers immediate support and assistance in addition to developing and sharing data-driven insights about mental health issues.
What are your roles at Crisis Text Line?
Elise: I'm the Head of Admissions at Crisis Text Line. I also work on our Community team, which focuses on the entire lifecycle of our volunteers, whom we call Crisis Counselors. We manage the entire process from the moment a Crisis Counselor is in recruitment, all the way until they’ve been volunteering with us for one to (hopefully) five years. This includes training and all of our engagement.
Chani: I'm our Admissions Intern. I oversee troubleshooting application issues, helping people get through the background check, emailing our applicants anytime they have an issue or question. I’ll have been here for two years in January 2020, and am the primary user of Checkr.
Can you share a bit about your approach to tracking and placing applicants?
Elise: Crisis Text Line supports texters and Crisis Counselors nationally. You can volunteer from anywhere in the U.S., including your home. It’s great because it allows us to open up this opportunity and attract candidates across the board.
Our Crisis Counselors complete a 30-hour online training after completing the admissions process, which is where Checkr comes in. For us, there isn’t one demographic that is most successful in the role, so we’re constantly working to be accessible for anybody who wants to be involved.
How does Checkr help you handle that kind of breadth of applications?
Elise: We have a high volume of applications and are very focused on data. In a very recent one-year period, we had 35,000 people create an account with us. We manually reviewed over 300 volunteer applications a week.
Applicants consent to undergo a background check during the application process. Once an application is approved and a conditional offer is made, we run a background check on the applicant. Checkr has allowed us to set up our background check process to find the people we need to take a second look at. Sometimes they’ll need to submit a copy of their ID, go through Social Security verification, or submit another document in order to move forward. The folks who don't need that second look can move through quickly and get into training. It’s an easy process for them, and also one we trust.
Over 12,000 applicants passed their background checks last year. On average, every single day we have around 14 people submit and clear their background checks with Checkr. 85% of our applicants are able to do that entire process in less than 24 hours.
Can you explain a little more about why having an efficient background check process is vital to Crisis Text Line?
Elise: Because of that high volume, a key for us is trust—making sure that we get the best people through. Our application is pretty lengthy, and we take our process extremely seriously because of the vulnerable population we are working with. We want to make sure that, regardless of who the candidate is, they are going to be a good fit and not put anybody within the population we're serving at risk. Another key is efficiency. If somebody wants to volunteer with us, we want to make that process as accessible as possible. Checkr has allowed us to grow in capacity. We couldn’t have done that with a time-consuming background check process.
What’s your favorite thing about Checkr?
Chani: My favorite part is the education options. I actually learned a lot about how background checks are orchestrated from the Help Center. I learned about compliance (including adverse actions), the candidate's experience, and the background check process. (I have so many things I like it's difficult to narrow it down to one thing).
Also, it is easy to reach out to our Account Manager to ask questions. I know that I won’t have to wait until the end of the week to get an answer. Nine times out of 10, I will hear back by the end of the day. People who have background check issues are usually very anxious, so the quicker I can get back to them, the easier and more calm they'll feel.
Elise: I would say that for Crisis Text Line’s Admissions department, Checkr has made it really easy to make sure we're getting applicants who are going to be the best possible fit for this opportunity, and who we can feel really good about too. It brings an ease in the process and an ease of mind that these candidates are going to be great. I would also add that it’s really easy for us to review applications, get a better understanding of what's going on, and figure out how to best support a candidate moving forward. I know that we have a clear process in place for next steps.
I’ve interviewed other background check companies, but the efficiency and Checkr’s ability to meet our needs have made it difficult to find anything comparable to it. Additionally, our relationship with our Account Manager and the quality of your service have been wonderful.
Read more about how Crisis Text Line drives success with Checkr here.