Checkr Blog

Diversity recruiting the hard way

By Arthur Yamamoto, Director of Talent Acquisition

Research has shown that the most innovative companies employ diverse workforces. And yet Silicon Valley — widely known as the center of the tech innovation universe — has long been criticized for a lack of diversity. While Checkr’s workforce wasn’t as homogenous as many other companies in tech, we took a hard look in the mirror and realized we could do better.

At the beginning of 2018, our CEO and Executive team made the bold commitment to become the model for what a modern, diverse company should be. (With our company mission to improve fairness in employment, having an employee base that accurately reflects our client and applicant base is a must). As the recruiting leader tasked with leading the charge, I was torn. Fundamentally, I believe that diverse teams are more successful, and that Checkr will be a better company for it. But as a recruiter, I knew it would be hard, hard work (But anything truly rewarding and worth doing is difficult, right?).

We had numerous discussions with our leadership team about the complexities and difficulties of diversity recruiting, and set expectations around the effect it could have on hiring velocity. Ultimately, we had consensus that to do it right, we would have to do it the hard way.

The requirements

The first, and arguably most important requirement is executive buy-in. We needed to have the agreement that:

  1. This is important.
  2. This is going to be difficult.
  3. You will carry this message to your teams as this will be a company-wide effort.
  4. We won’t adjust or give up when we inevitably encounter opposition, roadblocks, or slowdown in hiring velocity.

Thankfully, we started with this buy-in, but made sure to address this and re-address this to ensure everyone’s consensus.

The other requirement are more familiar to most. Ensuring the recruiters are bought in and understand the challenges. For example, traditional candidate pools are not diverse, and diverse candidates in these pools are not always easy to identify. Not everyone in a company believes in diversity, and some may voice resistance, so buy-in across the company was key as well. Everyone naturally has unconscious bias that you consciously have to address. And as a company, you have to identify what diverse means to you, as diversity comes in many forms.

The definition

After our People Ops team completed surveys & research, we were comfortable that we had a wide range of employees from different socioeconomic backgrounds, and different sexual orientation. What we were clearly lacking was gender parity and representation in underrepresented minorities.

And then we set ambitious goals to get to 50/50 gender parity and 15% Under-represented Minorities (URM) in our workforce by the end of the year, and even included them in our company’s quarterly Objectives and Key Results (OKRs).

The process

We agreed that the key change in our process would be what we call “The Rooney Rule Plus” (RR+). What RR+ means is that before a hiring manager can make an offer to any candidate, that hiring manager has to have interviewed (final stage/onsite) two candidates who fit our defined diverse candidate pools (Women & URMs). We also agreed that there could be no exceptions to this rule for it to be effective.

Part and parcel of the RR+ was the understanding that we would never “force” a hiring manager to hire anyone. The process was built simply to ensure that a hiring manager had to see a diverse slate of candidates before making a decision, and the belief that with that information we would naturally see more offers going to diverse candidates.

In addition, we launched interview training for the entire company on the foundations for behavioral interviewing, well known to help reduce bias. We structured our interview process to ensure the same questions would be asked of every candidate for every role — also foundational in overcoming bias. We even launched a training dedicated to the responsibilities around being a hiring manager, with further reinforcement around the importance of diversity and sourcing for diverse candidates.

From a recruiting standpoint, we opened up new candidate pools by doing everything from targeting new geos (and being open to remote workers) and Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), to finding different organizations and professional associations centered around the candidate pools we were after. We partner with companies that focus on blind interviewing like interviewing.io to recruiting platforms centered around women in tech like PowerToFly. We push our hiring managers to be active in the sourcing process, and have even experimented with Boolean strings that filter out the most common male names. We host referral drives dedicated solely to surfacing diverse candidates. We continue to iterate and explore new things as best we can.

The results (thus far)

What we’ve found thus far is that we’ve been able to maintain our pace without a huge loss to our hiring velocity. The amazing work done by everyone from hiring managers, interviewers, executives and recruiters has allowed for this. And while we still have a lot of time left in the year, we’ve had our biggest hiring quarter to date and we’re again on pace to surpass that with great diversity hiring numbers YTD! (Look forward to sharing year end results of our work later this year)

And while we still have a long road ahead of us, I’m incredibly proud to work for a company that cares about the right things, and isn’t afraid to do it the hard way. (aka the only way)

If you’re interested in joining a company doing it the right way, check us out at www.checkr.com/careers

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Welcoming Sangeeta Chakraborty and Scott Davis to the Checkr Team

We’re excited to welcome two new members to our executive team, Sangeeta Chakraborty as our VP of Customer Success and Scott Davis as our VP of Sales! Sangeeta and Scott both bring over 20+ years of experience in their field, across a wide range of industries and company sizes.

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3 highlights from the Collaboration in the Gig Economy

 

A few weeks ago, the Checkr team made the trip down to Dallas, Texas to attend the 2018 Collaboration in the Gig Economy conference—an annual gathering of gig economy companies, staffing suppliers, and workforce buyers.

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Announcing the Checkr Learning Center

This article was written by Adam Avramescu, Head of Customer Education and Training at Checkr.

When it comes to attracting and onboarding your workforce, background checks play a crucial role. Even minor mistakes, like ordering the wrong package or reviewing reports inconsistently, can have serious consequences and lead to unhappy candidates, missed talent opportunities, and increased legal risk.

In our work with clients, spanning across different industries, company sizes and talent pools, we’ve found that many teams don’t have a consistent and scalable way to educate their teams on the best practices for running background checks. That’s why we’re launching the Checkr Learning Center, our set of in-depth learning courses, which provide your team with the skills they need to run better background checks. Whether you’re ordering reports, making adjudication decisions, or trying to navigate the world of background check compliance, our Learning Center will help you get up to speed.

Through bite-sized lessons and videos, your team can build key skills and better understand how to use Checkr at their own pace. In addition to improving their use of Checkr, they’ll also get context into the background check process, including best practices and common pitfalls to avoid.

To start, we’ll be rolling out a set of role-based learning paths that cover recruiters, adjudicators, admins, and compliance professionals. Each course is bite-sized and is built to be consumed at your own pace. Your team members will be able to see which courses they’ve completed and will have opportunities to check their knowledge and skills in each area.

 

We’ll be adding new courses and content to the Learning Center over time, so your team can continue to improve their skills, provide a better candidate experience, and make more consistent, compliant decisions. To get started today, visit learn.checkr.com and sign into your Checkr Dashboard account.

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3 Takeaways from the World Economic Forum

This article was written by Irene Liu, General Counsel at Checkr.

A few weeks ago, I got the opportunity to attend the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting of the New Champions — the foremost global summit on innovation, science, and technology. The meeting, which was held in Tianjin, China, brought together a mix of innovative startups and global leaders to discuss a wide range of topics, including the future of work, trade, and AI.

Below, I’ve outlined a few key themes that resonated with me throughout the forum.

1. The startup scene is more vibrant than ever.
Not only are more startups popping up across the world, but there are also more resources and opportunities for them to connect and grow. Recently, the World Economic Forum launched UpLink, an innovation accelerator to help startups interact and partner with global startup peers, governments, universities, and investors to deliver global impact. It was incredible to meet these global startups and take part in important conversations about accelerating innovation and working together with the WEF community to build a strong Uplink program. Checkr looks forward to being part of Uplink and engaging with the global community of startups.

2. Humans still matter in an AI-driven world.
Artificial Intelligence proved to one of the hottest topics, with a number of sessions dedicated to the technology. Specifically, there was a large discussion around AI and its potential to magnify human biases.

At Checkr, we deal with this issue on a daily basis and work hard to reduce human bias throughout our product. While our background check technology is driven by AI and machine learning, we still incorporate humans throughout the process, and ultimately, leave the hiring decisions up to employers themselves to remove potential for human bias in the hiring process.

3. In the new economy, upskilling and reskilling are key.
At this year’s meeting, the World Economic Forum released the latest edition of its Future of Jobs Report, which predicted that by 2022, machines and algorithms will create 133 million new roles, while displacing 75 million jobs. As a result, it’s become more important than ever to upskill and reskill workers and give them the tools they need to take on these new roles. Furthermore, given the fact that unemployment is low, it’s crucial that we tap into a new pool of qualified candidates, including the 70 million Americans who have a criminal history, and build programs to provide them with the skills they need to thrive in the new economy.

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New requirements for Summary of Consumer Rights take effect September 21: are you ready?

September 21, 2018 marks the compliance deadline for changing a commonly used form that’s required by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).

Under the new US Senate Bill 2155, consumers now have the right to request a credit freeze, free of charge, from nationwide credit reporting agencies.

So what does this have to do with background checks?

Although this change doesn’t directly concern background screenings, it does affect the language in the “Summary of Rights” form that employers and landlords send to consumers. This “Summary of Rights” form must be provided before taking Adverse Action against a candidate. It’s also a common best practice (though not required) to make this form available to candidates when they consent to a background check.

Because the “Summary of Rights” form is so commonly used, it’s important to make sure you’re using the most recent version before September 21. You can find the new version, issued by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), on their site in English and Spanish.

For Checkr clients who use our hosted consent forms and adverse action tools, we will update the Summary of Rights documents to comply with the September 21 deadline.

However, if you don’t use Checkr’s tools, or you send your own Summary of Rights forms to candidates, make sure that you are using the new version of the form issued by the CFPB.

You can find copies of all new forms on the CFPB’s site, as well as in our Help Center:

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Checkr named to the Forbes Cloud 100

We’re excited to share that Checkr has been named to the Forbes Cloud 100 list as one of the top privately held companies. The Cloud 100 profiles market-leading companies who represent the cloud technology leaders of today and tomorrow and is published by Forbes, in partnership with Bessemer Venture Partners and Salesforce Ventures.
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Introducing Better Future: A free background check for everyone

According to recent research, nearly every employer conducts a background check as part of the hiring process. But many job applicants aren’t aware of what’s on their background check until they’ve been denied employment. For the 1 in 3 Americans who have a criminal record (as many as have a college degree), it can be the difference between getting the job they need or remaining sidelined from the workforce.

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Tricia Gellman Joins Checkr as VP and Head of Marketing

We are excited to welcome Tricia Gellman as our VP and Head of Marketing! Tricia has had an impressive career in marketing with her last nine years at Salesforce, with the last year and a half as CMO for Salesforce Canada.

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Three tips to reduce legal exposure around disclosures and authorizations

In the evolving landscape of background check regulatory compliance, one of the hot-button issues continues to be disclosure and authorization forms for background checks.

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