Background Checks

Checkr vs. Cisive vs. Sterling: 2024 Comparison

  • May 15, 2024
  • Christy Clifton
  • Approx. Read Time: 6 Minutes
Checkr vs. Cisive vs. Sterling

Although background screening companies all perform the same basic function, they differ in the tools they offer and the range of services they provide. Knowing these differences can help you find a provider that aligns with your company's goals. 

Below, we compare three leading screening companies — Checkr vs. Cisive vs. Sterling — to help you determine which is right for you.

Here are the key differences to watch out for between these screening platforms:


    • Reporting speeds. Sterling users report the fastest turnarounds.
    • Report accuracy. Cisive takes slightly longer to generate reports in order to provide the highest accuracy from the best sources.
    • Pricing. Each platform offers different tiers and packages.
    • Customization options. Explore your options for reports, workflows, dashboards, ID verification, and API integration.
    • Customer experience. Checkr and Cisive are the most user-friendly, while Sterling and Cisive offer the best customer support. 


Table of Contents

  1. What Is Checkr?
  2. What Is Sterling?
  3. What Is Cisive?
  4. Comparison Overview
  5. Key Features
  6. Which Is Best for You




What Is Checkr?

Rating: 4.5/5 (G2)

Checkr is a technology-driven background screening company that helps companies perform comprehensive background checks online. The software provides data related to criminal checks, compliance, drug testing, and other applicant information.


What Does It Do?

Checkr's People Trust Platform uses machine learning and artificial intelligence to speed up the screening process and provide accurate data. It offers a streamlined experience and automated workflow that reduces manual work.


What Are the Key Features?

Checker offers standard features such as criminal background checks, compliance checks, and education and employment verification. It also offers access to drug testing and comprehensive API integrations.


Sterling Logo

What Is Sterling?

Rating: 3/5 (G2)

Sterling Talent Solutions offers worldwide background checks for companies hiring globally. It currently has operations in North America, Latin America, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East.


What Does It Do?

Sterling's cloud-based platform is designed to help employers gather applicant information on a single, user-friendly platform. The proprietary technology delivers fast turnaround times with greater accuracy. It provides efficient reporting with consolidated invoicing.


What Are the Key Features?

Sterling provides a full range of features, including criminal background checks, ID verification, and drug screening. Education and employment verification are also built into the service, as are Form I-9 processing and compliance checks.



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What Is Cisive?

Rating: 4.5/5 (G2)

Cisive's advanced software performs updated, ongoing applicant screening for companies in healthcare, transportation, financial services, and tech. It delivers a range of services with a focus on accurate reports, legal compliance, and credible source material.


What Does It Do?

Cisive helps companies find the most qualified candidates by creating a streamlined process and supporting it with powerful features. Tools like PreCheck and Driver iQ are industry-centered and offer the most accurate employee screenings available.


What Are the Key Features?

Cisive’s suite of features include background checks, I-9 processing, and executive intelligence tools. We also provide drug testing and health screening, and we can help you keep track of applicants and employees through ongoing screening and monitoring.



Comparison Overview

BLOG CHART_ Checkr vs. Sterling vs. Cisive_ Comparison

Checkr vs. Cisive vs. Sterling: Key Features

When comparing background screening software, look for reporting accuracy and compliance with legal standards. Evaluate how seamlessly the software can be integrated with your existing HR systems. 

Customer support and user experience should also be considered. The software needs to be user-friendly and backed by a responsive support team when issues arise.


Quality & Accuracy

A screening report should deliver enough information to help you make a well-informed decision about a job applicant. More importantly, the information should be accurate and up to date. How do these products stack up?



Checkr provides real-time updates as candidate information comes in. The website claims to have a 90% report completion rate. In other words, the reports fill in most of the blanks with almost no missing information. 



Cisive has the highest accuracy rate of any competitor, coming in at 99.994%. This level of accuracy reduces your company's liability and helps you screen the best candidates for your job search. We achieve this level of accuracy by citing sources and providing multiple search methods.



Sterling also provides real-time updates so you get the most accurate information. It also claims to have access to 89% of all criminal records. Criminal behavior is less likely to go unnoticed when Sterling is performing the checks. It can be an especially valuable tool when performing international background checks.



Not every hiring process is the same or requires the same information. You need a software platform that provides flexibility and options for refining your search. While some providers offer different packages or plans, others allow you to customize your search on the dashboard.



Checkr offers lots of customization options so you can conduct screening based on your specific needs. You can choose from different plans within your industry or based on your budget. There are also customization tools for workflows, individual screenings, and API integrations.



Cisive goes in-depth with customization. You can choose your tools and screens based on your business size, industry (such as healthcare), and hiring process. Personalize your workflows based on your latest hiring campaign. There are also plenty of options for API integration.



Sterling Talent Solutions also allows you to customize by industry. You can choose which type of ID verification you want, and you can also create a personalized user portal.


Screen smarter, hire safer. Get the right talent to drive your success. Speak to an expert.


Customer Experience

Regardless of how good the product is, customer service is often the deciding factor when comparing background screening software. 

Background screening solutions are associated with safety issues, compliance, and staffing quality. Therefore, customer service needs to be knowledgeable, responsive, and accurate. Platforms and dashboards must also be user-friendly and mobile-responsive.



According to customer feedback, Checkr provides a user-friendly dashboard that’s fully automated and mobile-ready. However, there are occasional delays in background checks. Plus, there are no notifications, which means you'll have to check in with the dashboard manually. Customer feedback also reports slow customer service at times.



Cisive's user-friendly interface makes it easy to navigate. Reports are clear, precise, and easy to read. Customer service is exceptional, scoring high in knowledge, helpfulness, and responsiveness. The high accuracy rates do come at a price, as some users have cited delays in background checks. Other users have requested more customization features.



Sterling gets good marks for its clean user interface. It also scores high for its quick background checks. The staff is knowledgeable and responsive. However, it gets low scores for overall complex processes from start to finish. Users have also given it low marks for poor API integrations and issues with compliance.



Not every software company discloses their prices online — in some cases, you’ll need to talk to a customer service representative to find out the specifics. However, some companies do share pricing should structure their rates logically and clearly. In most cases, the company will either break down the price per order or per package.



Checkr has per-order and package pricing. The basic price is $29 for a criminal background check. From there, you can add numerous features. The $54 essential check includes an SSN trace and an in-depth county criminal search. The $79 professional check adds education and employment verification. Contact Checkr for rates on orders exceeding 300 checks per year.



Cisive doesn’t publish prices online. However, our pricing structure is unique. Instead of paying a flat rate per order or per plan, you pay a custom price based on your screening needs. That way, you don’t waste money paying for a feature you don’t need. 



Sterling doesn’t disclose pricing. Fill out the online form to get a quote.


Checkr vs. Cisive vs. Sterling: Which Is Best for You?

To find the right background screening software, consider what you need. Do you want fast results? Do you need it to work smoothly with other computer programs? Make a list of the criteria and match it with the products you're comparing. 

Read reviews to see what other users say about a product's reliability and customer service. Try out the software if you can — companies may offer a demo or a trial period. Make sure more than one person in your organization reviews the software before you purchase anything.

Keep in mind that your criteria should focus on ease of use, customization, compliance, accuracy, speed, and software integration. Cisive scores high in each of these categories and is backed by a knowledgeable, responsive customer support team. 


Transform Your Hiring Process With Cisive

When comparing these three solutions — Checkr vs. Sterling vs. Cisive — Cisive stands out. Its advanced screening platform allows you to automate and streamline your workflow while finding the right candidate for the job. It's the ideal solution for any business.

Contact us to speak with an expert and get started with Cisive today.


Screen smarter, hire safer. Get the right talent to drive your success. Speak to an expert.


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