Her job title may be VP of Industry Strategy, but in reality, Kristen Faris is part evangelist, part fortune teller at Checkr—using her depth of industry knowledge to inspire customers and predict the future of the on-demand economy and beyond.
Q: What excites you the most about Checkr?
Checkr’s progressive approach to all areas of the business is inspiring. The speed at which Checkr brings innovative solutions to market is unlike anything I’ve ever seen in the screening industry. I’m also inspired by Checkr’s mission to create a fairer future for job seekers, as well as its interest in expanding beyond the on-demand space to more traditional segments of industry.
Q: What sets Checkr apart?
Checkr’s leadership in technology, in the screening industry and beyond, is undeniable. Yet, to me, the most impressive part of Checkr is the culture that Daniel and Jonathan have built. Each member of the Checkr team truly lives and breathes the company’s core values.
When it comes to improving the applicant experience, Checkr raised the bar while no-one was looking. It will be very hard to catch Checkr—particularly as it forges its way further into the enterprise space.
Q: Where do you think the background check industry is heading?
It’s all about transparency. When it comes to background checks, particularly in the enterprise space, the black box days are over. That means the biggest players must now adjust to a changing paradigm. Investing in applicant experience and customer success will be the key in driving business moving forward.
Q: How should approaches to background check screening evolve?
Let’s face it. As the future of work changes, and the on-demand economy takes further hold, “old school” screening practices will come under greater scrutiny and become less relevant. As a result, providers, like Checkr, with progressive views of these changing dynamics will be uniquely positioned to drive even the most traditional segments of the enterprise.
Background screening, in general, should shift away from the “keep the bad guys out” mentality. Led by Checkr’s example, the industry should embrace a mindset of inclusion and fair practices—based on an understanding of the need for different risk tolerance profiles per role and industry.
Traditional methods of accessing, compiling and assessing data will become obsolete as crowd-sourcing, machine learning and automation replace error-prone manual processes. The jump will be all the more difficult for the legacy providers solely focused on cost-cutting through tactics like offshoring labor and financial engineering.
Q: How did you get started in the background check industry?
I started in screening in 1995 as a court researcher in the San Francisco Superior Court, ironically just a few miles from Checkr Headquarters. I eventually founded my own screening firm in 1999, based in Los Gatos, which grew quickly as we focused on automation to improve turnaround times and was acquired by First Advantage in 2006. Subsequently I have held numerous roles at First Advantage in Account Management and Sales, most recently leading the Solution Services Organization with responsibility for Sales Operation, Solution Engineering and Talent Development.
Q: What do you like to do outside of work?
I was born and raised in the Bay Area. Currently, I live with my family in Santa Cruz where I enjoy the outdoors, camping and exploring hiking trails, or going to the beach. I enjoy spending my free time with my family and friends, cooking, and enjoying a good laugh around the dinner table.