Checkr vs Sterling

Get faster, fairer background checks with Checkr

Checkr’s modern background check platform helps you hire faster with time-saving features, advanced workflows, and a better user experience for you and your candidates.

6 reasons to choose Checkr over Sterling

Faster turnaround times

84% of reports completed within 15 minutes.

Faster customer support

<1 minute response times for phone and online chat.

Easier user experience

User-friendly workflows improve your efficiency.

Better candidate experience

Mobile-optimized online portal and dedicated support team.

Flexible API

Checkr pioneered the first background check API and powers 95% of the gig economy.

World-class innovation

Checkr is building the infrastructure for the future of work.

Compare Checkr vs Sterling

Key featuresCheckrSterling
% of nationwide criminal record checks ready in <1 hour98%70%
% of checks that are fully automated after data retrieval99%85%
24/7 customer support-
All searches, verifications, workflows and analytics in a single portal-
Candidates are able to proactively share context about records-
Mobile-optimized candidate portal with dedicated candidate support-

Try Checkr and see for yourself

Checkr offers a robust suite of advanced features and functionality to help you hire faster.

Checkr earns high ratings on trusted, third-party review sites

Looking for Sterling alternatives? These G2 customer satisfaction scores show how

Total rating4.5 out of 53.3 out of 5
Quality of support85%64%
Ease of use93%75%
Meets requirements91%75%
Ease of admin94%71%
Ease of doing business with92%75%
Ease of setup92%73%

Trusted by 100,000+ customers

Frequently asked questions

Learn more about Checkr vs Sterling

What are the differences between Checkr and Sterling?

While both Checkr and Sterling are consumer reporting agencies (CRAs) that offer background check services for employment, there are several key differences between the two companies. One difference is how long the two companies have been in business. Launched in 2014, Checkr is a modern technology company, and its background check platform is built from the ground up using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to automate and speed many steps of the background check process. Founded in 1975, Sterling has been in business for 48 years and has acquired several companies over the years in an effort to modernize its employment screening services.

Another difference between Checkr vs Sterling is the number of partner integrations the two companies offer. Checkr offers more than 100 pre-built integrations with leading ATS, HR and onboarding systems. Pre-built integrations allow you to quickly and easily plug Checkr’s platform and tools right into your HR practice. On the other hand, Sterling offers less than 40 integrations, and requires customers to work with a support team to activate a standard integration.

How accurate are the background checks provided by Checkr and Sterling?

The accuracy of background checks provided by CRAs like Checkr and Sterling includes access to comprehensive, high quality data from a variety of local, state and federal sources; proprietary platform technology; and quality assurance.

First, Checkr’s proprietary, real-time data network accesses multiple criminal data sources to deliver reliable results. Then, the Checkr platform uses machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) to automate many background check processes that other providers may do manually. This includes an intelligent record-matching engine that is used to classify, sort, and assign records to candidates, enabling Checkr to complete a check more quickly and with a very high degree of confidence that the right criminal record is matched to the right person. Nearly 99% of all background checks are fully automated after data retrieval using algorithmic matching and machine learning. When a background check requires human review, Checkr’s expert quality assurance team is there to help ensure accurate results.

Sterling also uses a proprietary system to get direct digital access to search records maintained in the courts, and the company claims to have technology that allows them to auto-complete criminal background check searches and achieve more accurate results. However, since only 85% of background checks are fully automated, the remaining records need to be reviewed and completed manually by a quality assurance team, which could slow the process and lead to human error.

What industries are best suited for Checkr and Sterling?

The industries that are best suited for screening providers like Checkr and Sterling include industries that commonly run background checks for employment, such as hospitality, retail, entertainment, food service, gig and on-demand marketplaces, manufacturing, staffing, healthcare, nonprofit and faith-based organizations, transportation, technology —and more.

With its innovative, flexible platform, Checkr is particularly well-suited for businesses of all sizes within these industries, and more. More than 100,000 organizations trust Checkr for background checks, and as the innovator of the first background check API, Checkr serves 95% of the gig economy. Its advanced technology allows the company to deliver 35 million background checks per year with no impact on turnaround times. Finally, Checkr’s easy-to-use platform and built-in compliance tools makes it a top choice for small businesses that may only run a few background checks a year, as well as mid-market and enterprise companies looking to run thousands of checks a year.

What customer support options are available?

Checkr offers US-based, FCRA-trained customer support via email, online chat, and phone. Plus, Checkr’s online Help Center is a great resource for both customers and candidates alike, offering articles about how to use Checkr as well as educational resources about the different types of employment screenings available at Checkr. Checkr also offers a dedicated, multilingual candidate support team that is available to assist your candidates with their background checks.

Sterling offers customer support by email and phone, or you can submit a support ticket online.

Can you customize background check packages?

Checkr enables customers to easily customize and save your background check packages from the Checkr dashboard, or you can contact the support team for assistance. Customizing, saving, and using the right background screening package for each role helps your organization improve efficiency, reduce costs, and provide accurate results that can help you make informed hiring decisions.

With Sterling Check, customers must work with their client success manager or the support team to customize packages. On the other hand, small businesses using SterlingNOW can choose from three screening pages and add additional screens in the dashboard to customize the background check.

How long does it take to receive results?

Depending on the type of background check, information requested, and data sources, Checkr’s turnaround times for results typically range from a minute or two, to one day or more. Checkr is able to deliver some of the fastest turnaround times in the industry, thanks to a real-time, proprietary data network and extensive partnerships with court runners. Moreover, nearly 99% of all background checks are fully automated after data retrieval using algorithmic matching and machine learning to deliver results faster and with increased accuracy. According to Checkr’s data:

  • 98% of nationwide criminal background checks complete within one hour.
  • 84% of all reports completed within 15 minutes
  • 92% of MVR checks complete within 15 minutes

Providers that don’t leverage advanced technology and automated processes cannot match Checkr’s speed because a larger percentage of their background checks must be completed with human analysis.

How long does a Sterling check take? Sterling reports that 60% of criminal checks are returned within 15 minutes and 70% within one hour; and only 85% of background checks are fully automated.

What compliance measures do Checkr and Sterling take to support customers?

It’s important for employers to comply with the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and related state and local laws. Checkr helps customers maintain compliance by building compliance workflows and features into its platform, including:

  • Built-in tools that account for regional regulations and automatically generate authorizations and disclosures, helping you comply with local laws and the FCRA.
  • Automated adverse action workflows that generate pre- and post-adverse action emails and manage mandatory waiting periods automatically, among other features.
  • Adjudication tools to help teams save time, increase their pool of eligible candidates, and practice fair chance hiring by automatically deemphasizing records you decide aren’t relevant.
  • A Candidate Stories feature that enables candidates to proactively share additional context around records or prior circumstances, helping you to make faster, confident hiring decisions based on a more complete picture of the candidate. This can also help you comply with non-discrimination regulations and support fair hiring.

Sterling Check also provides employers an administrative tool to complete the pre and final adverse action process, as well as an individualized assessment tool configured within the adverse action process that provides a means for candidates to provide feedback on criminal history information.

Get background checks from Checkr

Organizations of all sizes depend on background checks to help them make informed hiring decisions. In an increasingly crowded market, Checkr stands out from Sterling and Sterling competitors thanks to a modern, flexible, advanced background check platform that makes running background checks easier and faster.

Choosing the right employment screening partner can make your company a more competitive employer. Improve your hiring outcomes by choosing a provider that makes your team’s workload easier, delivers faster, more accurate results, and gives your candidates a positive background check experience.

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