Sterling Background Check Reviews 2022

Imagine you are looking for a background check solution that’s robust yet flexible. If that is the case, then Sterling may be precisely what you are looking for. They have been in the business since 1975, and their online background check service is renowned for being one of the most comprehensive solutions on the market.


Of course, pretty much all background check services claim to generate the most thorough reports. But upon looking a little closer at what Sterling has to offer, it seems that their claim may be an honest one.

Sterling offers a wide range of general screening services. These are the usual ones that you’d expect, like court records, criminal background checks, social media checks, and more. Besides that, Sterling also offers more specialized services like identity verification, credit reports, and workforce monitoring.

However, one thing that does stand out is that they offer a global check service that covers 195 countries! That’s not surprising once you realize that Sterling has branches in a long list of countries all over the world. 

While their services would undoubtedly be useful to many different types of users, it’s clear that Sterling built the platform with Human Resources users in mind. Sterling offers the full spectrum of valuable services for both the pre-hiring and post-hiring stages, from an HR perspective.

Those users will also appreciate how Sterling built their platform to integrate with many popular Talent Acquisition platforms like Oracle, Workday Recruiting, and LinkedIn Talent Hub. For corporate or enterprise users, that means much easier integration with whatever company they’re already using.

Bottom line: if you’re looking for an exceptionally-thorough background check service with an international reach, then Sterling might be what you’re looking for.

Who’s It For?


As mentioned before, Sterling’s services will offer a lot of value to any type of user who wants to perform background checks. However, it’s also clear that the platform was tailor-made for those who work in corporate Talent Acquisition and Human Resources in particular. That’s evident in Sterling’s integrations with common HR platforms and workflows.

In particular, Sterling caters to clients in fields that include retail, healthcare, government, technology, hospitality, and the media. While those may be their top industries, it’s easy to see that Sterling will work with users from any kind of sector.

What We Like About Sterling Background Check

There are plenty of things to like about Sterling, but above all, we like how thorough Sterling can be especially when it comes to criminal records checks.

Sterling offers plenty of the standard checks that you’d expect from this kind of service. But here’s what caught our attention. For one, Sterling also includes a county-level criminal history search and an OFAC Terrorist Watchlist Check. The fact that Sterling is capable of offering criminal history checks that go into such a level of detail is excellent news for users from high-security industries.

For instance, Sterling clients who are government agencies or aerospace and defense companies would surely appreciate having that depth level that many others do not offer. Doing so would increase their security while also protecting their staff, clients, and industry partners as well.

Indeed, some users may find these features to be more than what’s needed. But others may appreciate the exceptional depth that Sterling offers.

Sterling has built a very easy-to-use web-based platform that allows users to submit their background check requests with ease. More importantly, when the reports are ready, users can simply download the information with a button click.

What We Don’t Like About Sterling Background Check

Sterling’s exceptional thoroughness does come with its drawbacks, though. For one, the turnaround time for a background check can be significantly longer than with other companies. That can be a problem, especially with how Sterling seems to be tailored for use in Talent Acquisition.

There also seems to be some limitations when it comes to performing background checks in bulk. For instance, users can only submit one name at a time even though they intend on ordering the same check for several people at one go.

Those drawbacks may not seem like a big deal to users who only run the occasional background check. However, power users who rely heavily on it will probably get frustrated, especially when trying to process large numbers of background checks at the same time.


  • All-round good background check solution.
  • Submitting individual background checks is easy and straightforward.
  • Reports are well-structured and straightforward to read.
  • Results typically come back within 24 hours.


  • Feedback from customer service can be slow at times.
  • Slow turnaround when processing high volumes.
  • Billing cycles are typically long.

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What’s Included?

With Sterling, the exact contents of a background check report will differ depending on the user’s requests. Typically, most background searches cover criminal record checks and reference checks. Users can also opt for more detailed reports by requesting additional types of checks.

Sterling has a very thorough criminal record check that covers several levels. These include a 7-year County Criminal Search, Enhanced Nationwide Criminal Check, and a 7-year Federal District Criminal Record Search.

Beyond those criminal record and reference checks, users can also request a wide variety of screening checks that include their motor vehicle records and credit reports as well. Altogether, the client will gain a complete picture of the individual they’re checking.

Of course, each additional check will cost extra. As such, users have complete control over how basic or how detailed they want their reports to be and they’ll pay for those services accordingly.

Users can manage each report through a web-based dashboard where they can also refer back to older reports they ordered in the past. The dashboard also allows them to print a hard copy of the reports if they need to.

We always like to do regular sterling check reviews to ensure nothing wild has changed since.

Overview Of Features


Sterling has a wide variety of checks that they can perform by request. Generally, those checks can be broken down into three categories: background screening services, employment verifications, and drug/health screenings.

Sterling’s suite of background screening services includes the earlier-mentioned thorough criminal background checks at the county, state, and federal levels. The company boasts having digital access to 85% of the criminal search records in the US. At the same time, they also rely on court researchers and court runners to source and verify the information that they collect.

On the other hand, their employment verifications services aim to verify details provided by potential hires. That includes verifying education information, reference checks, employment, and other credentials to ensure that everything is above board. Here, Sterling relies on automation as a way to reduce turnaround times.

Sterling doesn’t just offer background checking solutions for would-be employees. They also provide services such as medical license monitoring and workforce monitoring for employers to keep a close watch on existing employees. Think of these as forms of ongoing background checks to ensure that employees stay as honest as they were prior to hiring.

In addition to background checks, Sterling also seems proud to offer drug and health screening services as well. That just goes to show that Sterling’s primary target market is Human Resources and Talent Acquisition users who not only want to vet potential employees but also to monitor them once they’ve joined the organization. 

This part of Sterling’s offering relies on a network of over 15,000 test sites all across the US, which test for drugs and occupational health screenings as well.

Review Summary

There are plenty of excellent background check services and solutions on the market right now, and Sterling is definitely on par with the best of them. While the platform seems to be useful for a wide range of users across industries and roles, it’s clear that Sterling is mainly targeted at users from Human Resources and Talent Acquisition types of positions in particular.

Sterling also caters to small businesses that are looking to make new hires. The platform is a great way to empower those proprietors that want to vet their potential hires with greater detail.

In any case, Sterling offers a wide variety of background checks, ranging from the standard criminal history check to more sophisticated options like global checks and even the OFAC Terrorist Watchlist check.

More importantly, Sterling offers users the choice of what to include or exclude from their background check reports. That way, users can control precisely what information they see while skipping anything that may not be relevant to their needs.

All told, Sterling is a powerful background check solution that is capable of performing incredibly detailed background checks. The web-based platform is straightforward and easy-to-use, requiring very little time for new users to embrace.

Twenty-four hours is the typical turnaround time for reports that users will find to be well-structured and easy to understand. Granted, processing large volumes of requests might be Sterling’s weakness, but it’s safe to say that they make up for it in the quality and depth of the information they provide.

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