Interview With Meg Wilson - Chief Product Officer at Sterling

Published on: February 28, 2024
Shauli Zacks Shauli Zacks
Published on: February 28, 2024

In a recent interview with SafetyDetectives, Meg Wilson, Chief Product Officer at Sterling, shares insights into Sterling’s mission and strategies in ensuring trust and safety in the hiring process. With a background in leading product teams at SAP SuccessFactors. Wilson emphasizes Sterling’s commitment to simplifying hiring processes while maintaining flexibility, aligning with their mission of providing a foundation of trust for employers. Highlighting the importance of identity verification amidst rising candidate fraud, She discusses Sterling’s digital identity verification services aimed at bridging gaps and protecting against identity fraud in today’s diverse workforce, and more.

Thank you for your time today. Can you talk about your background and your current role at Sterling?

Yes, and thank you for the opportunity to speak to you and share Sterling’s story. I became Sterling’s Chief Product Officer in April 2021 after leading the product team at SAP SuccessFactors for more than 10 years. At Sterling, my primary focus is to bring industry-leading, differentiated suite of screening and identity services to our clients throughout the employee lifecycle from pre-hire to post hire.

When I was presented with the opportunity to join Sterling, I was immediately drawn to their mission of providing the foundation of trust and safety that employers need to create great environments for their most essential resource: people. I also saw great potential to bring innovative background screening and identity services and features that reduce complexity in the hiring process, provide simplified experiences, and maintain flexibility as business needs evolve – both to candidates and clients.

What are Sterling’s core features? With the rise of candidate fraud, what role does identity verification play in hiring?

At Sterling, our extensive suite of identity and screening services can be customized to help foster a foundation of trust and safety.

In 2024, one of our focus areas is continuing to expand and innovate globally with digital identity verification. Identity matters now more than ever. Who employers hire – and who is associated with them – becomes a part of who they are as people and as organizations. Not only has identity fraud tripled in the past decade, but it is also a widely held misconception that identity verification is included as part of a routine background check. It is just not fraud though. Incorrect data entered by candidates – either intentional or accidental typos – can result in missed criminal records or records that cannot be reported during a background check.

Our digital identity verification services bridge this gap by offering an easy, trusted way for candidates to prove who they are through our exclusive, identity-first experience. In return, we help protect companies against identity fraud and inaccurate candidate data in today’s modern diverse workforce.

What are the key challenges faced by businesses and individuals in the realm of identity verification?

We frequently hear a couple of challenges from businesses when adding identity verification that may require education. First, HR professionals may already believe they verify identity in their background check. Some services – such as Criminal Record Checks, SSN Trace, or Consent-Based Social Security Number Verification (CBSV) – are valuable tools when used for their intended purposes in the background screening process, but they do not verify identity. Second, companies have concerns that adding identity verification will slow down their background check and increase their time to hire, but in reality, it does the opposite. By verifying identity first, Sterling feeds the verified candidate data into other hiring processes to streamline the candidate experience and reduce delays due to misinformation. For individuals, identity verification methods are in near real-time. Identity verification results are received on average within ~90 seconds or less.

How does Sterling address and alleviate privacy concerns associated with background screening?

Sterling leverages bank-grade encryption to keep personal information safe, and candidates/individuals always have control over what information gets shared and how they use their digital identity wallet to access benefits and services.

Our partners do not sell, rent, or trade personal information, and will only transfer personal information at the candidate’s/individual’s request, and with their consent, for use by third parties to verify their identity, or as required for the prevention of fraud or otherwise permitted by law.

Can you elaborate on how artificial intelligence is used within the background screening and identity verification processes?

At Sterling, we have launched an AI Steering Committee to ensure we implement technology in adherence to our principles of transparency, privacy, security and compliance. We are currently exploring, testing and actively implementing advanced AI capabilities in adherence to our principles and strong legal, compliance, privacy and security governance. We do believe that artificial intelligence is going to propel the background screening industry with both quality and speed, which will ensure that our clients, and their candidates are getting a frictionless, seamless screening experience. And we look to do it in a considerate and responsible way.

About the Author
Shauli Zacks
Published on: February 28, 2024

About the Author

Shauli Zacks is a tech enthusiast who has reviewed and compared hundreds of programs in multiple niches, including cybersecurity, office and productivity tools, and parental control apps. He enjoys researching and understanding what features are important to the people using these tools.