TecHR Interview with Evan Dalton, C3O at Certn

Know My Company

Tell us about your journey into Technology. What galvanized you to start at Certn?

All three of the C3O’s have a history of entrepreneurship in Technology, between the group we have successfully (and sometimes unsuccessfully) started and grown companies in the tech, hospitality, property management, action sports and consulting. Our last venture was in the payments space and that inspired our original goal for Certn; to better assess applicant risk. While helping banks, insurance institutions and property management companies look at their applicants differently using AI we saw the enormous opportunity in pre-employment screening. Our clients helped us see this opportunity by repeatedly asking us to run the same (or similar) search process on their employees.

Certn was born!

What does the C3O mean? Why pick this unique title?

I co-founded the company with my two best friends Andrew Mcleod and Owen Madrick. We had recently been down to Las Vegas and were on a Tony Hsieh kick. C3O is kind of a pared-down version of his flat organization model. We are like brothers and we wanted to lead our company and make decisions together. We attribute the management model to our successful growth so far because the weight of our decisions is on six shoulders instead of two. Not to mention winning together is way more fun!

What is Certn and how does it fit into the current Background Screening Technology landscape?

Certn is a pre-employment screening platform that uses AI and machine learning to provide lightning fast and compliant background checks. Many background-check companies are running a “high touch” process that is completely or predominantly manually achieved. By utilizing AI and machine learning we are able to reduce those touch points and deliver a high-quality result, fast. We predominately work with fast-growing companies that value efficiencies through technology and outstanding customer service.

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What is the concept of People Screening? How can HR teams leverage this technology to make smarter decisions during hiring and recruitments?

People screening is about putting the right people in the right positions. As an organization, your job is to assess and mitigate risk. The best and most effective way to do that is to start with your most valuable assets; your staff. A hiring managers ability to quickly and easily select from a list of screens like: Criminal background checks, drug test, MVR etc. and get lightning fast and FCRA compliant results are crucial. Our customers have the flexibility to utilize our powerful data 3 ways;

  • ATS integrations
  • White-labeled web platform
  • API

Which industries are the fastest to adopt and reap benefits from your software?

We have seen heavy adoption in staffing, recruitment, retail, and tech. Through our API, we power many large temporary staffing and on-demand platforms, enabling them to place hires across North America. Our focus has been to target secondary and tertiary markets that have been traditionally underserved by high tech services like Certn.

How is this HR Technology market evolving?

The market-place in the US is still very fragmented with a large number of small regional players. We see this as an opportunity to bring best practices and a more tech-focused solution to underserved markets. ATS integrations have also become important for our growth. There has been explosive growth and competition in the ATS space; making a robust integration program more important than ever.

What are your predictions on the applications of AI and Machine Learning in background screening? How can various institutions prevent fraud and risks associated with fake profiles?

AI and machine learning will become an increasingly important part of background screening moving forward. The power and effectiveness of AI have improved exponentially in the last few years. Effective use of AI can cut down on the amount of manual review in the background check process and helps to eliminate human error. The ability to reference information from public third platforms like LinkedIn is important when running a holistic hiring/screening process.

Applicants are three times less likely to lie on a public profile than on their job application. Using AI to reliably assess and cross-reference information given by the applicant can cut down on risk.

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How can customers connect your technology to CRM, HRMS and Performance Management platforms? Do you offer real-time customer service through your online/ channel platforms?

Certn integrates with most major ATS and HRMS platforms and we are continuing to grow our partner list every day.

We have a real-time customer service through chat, email, and phone. We assign a dedicated customer success representative to each of our clients. That makes sure our customers are properly educated on the platform and they are always on a first name basis with our team. Our reps are so nice I swear people just call to chat.

Tell us more about your vision into growing revenue opportunities for Background Screening Technology platforms?

We see a number of opportunities to grow in the people screening space but one of our more exciting products is our Continuous Monitoring. There are many industries that require background checks on a regular or semi-regular basis and this can be tedious. Depending on the region and with proper consent you are able to rerun background checks and other checks in regular intervals with alerts.

Which Marketing and Sales Technology solutions do you use at Certn?

Our Marketing and Sales platform is HubSpot. We have used the platform from the beginning and it has been a great platform to grow with.

The Crystal Gaze

Which start-ups in the tech industry interest you the most and why?

I am interested to see the success of Hire by Google. It is hard to call Hire a startup, more of a new product but the fact that Google is already so entrenched in many organizations, I am curious to see how quickly they can gain a significant foothold.

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What technologies within AI and HR Technology are you interested in?

Given that we are in the business of people data we focus on technology like natural language processing to accurately extract and tag meaningful data from a variety of sources. Probabilistic techniques in identity resolution to measure entity and event similarity against applicant information to determine risk matches, and to correct malformed data. Machine learning to gauge individualized risk for different customers.

In HR Technology, what are the new emerging markets that you see providing the biggest opportunities?

Many HR tech companies are heavily focused on the US and for good reason but global markets are also seeing HR emerging as more and more important. India, for example, is an enormous opportunity. As it pertains to background checks the quality of the data and accessing what data they have is a challenge. The Indian government is making a concerted effort, like other emerging economies, to centralize this data and improve upon it.

What’s your smartest work related shortcut or productivity hack?

Stay focused in your lane. If you are starting a company you are going to have to wear a ton of hats but find the thing you are good at and put most of your time into that one thing. Find amazing people to manage the other stuff you aren’t as good at. Possibly a couple of C3O’s!

Tag the one person in the industry whose answers to these questions you would love to read:

Steve Cadigan

Thank you, Evan! That was fun and hope to see you back on TecHR soon.

Before co-founding Certn, Evan had nearly a decade of entrepreneurship and corporate sales experience. With a wide breadth of successful ventures under his belt in property management, real estate, and payments he is regarded as one of the leaders in his space. As an investor and advisor, Evan helps some of the most exciting new companies gain access into new and hard to access markets.

Certn helps North America’s largest employers conduct compliant, lightning fast background checks. Certn is a fast, simple, comprehensive solution for applicant screening backed by great customer service. Services include criminal record checks, drivers abstracts, identity verification, employment & education verification, and reference checks.