Checkr Blog

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).

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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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Creating a New Standard of Safety in the Ridesharing Industry and Beyond

Working with our customers across many different industries, we saw a need to move move beyond static background reports to dynamic checks, especially given the growth of today’s flexible workforce. So today we are announcing new technology that provides continuous updates about criminal records that may affect ridesharing drivers’ eligibility to drive.

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We’ve Raised $100 Million to Help More Companies Accelerate Hiring

We are thrilled to announce that we've raised $100 million in Series C funding led by funds and accounts managed by T. Rowe Price Associates, Inc. with participation from existing investors Accel and Y Combinator. This is an important milestone for us, and we’re excited to put these funds to work to help our customers hire great people faster.

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Introducing Kristen Faris, VP of Industry Strategy


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.

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Three Ways for Employers to Optimize Individualized Assessments for Hiring

Pre-employment screening doesn’t end once the background check is complete. When a background check returns criminal records, employers must decide how they will consider this information.  

As a best practice, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission encourages employers to conduct an individualized assessment of applicants with criminal histories.  “Individualized assessment” is an employer’s careful consideration of each background check report and any criminal record to determine if the information is relevant to the position before making any employment decisions based on those records.  This assessment not only ensures compliance with applicable laws, but also helps employers better understand the applicant and his or her personal history. (For additional guidance, refer to Best Practices for Employers Considering Criminal Backgrounds For Hiring).  In addition, some state and local laws mandate (e.g., Los Angeles and New York City) an individualized assessment before an applicant is disqualified based on criminal history. To assist employers in this best practice, Checkr marks criminal records with a “CONSIDER” notation in its background check reports.

When presented with a “CONSIDER” report, employers should keep three important tips in mind:

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