CUSTOMER STORY: Amnesty International

A global nonprofit navigates the complexities of international hiring with Sterling’s expert guidance

I am delighted to be working with Sterling. It is clear that they absolutely understand the requirements of Amnesty International and, by taking a true partnership approach to their work, have ensured that we have a robust screening program in place that makes Amnesty a safer place to work for our employees, volunteers and those we work with around the world.” 
Sharon Jacques
Head of International Recruitment, Amnesty International

Obtaining candidate references in the past had taken different paths, with both recruiters and hiring managers at Amnesty International working to compile references they believed were acceptable. While this process was considered fit for its purpose, a significant security breach occurred in one of Amnesty’s regional offices. It was vital to ensure this would never happen again. 

The organization also had specific challenges that had to be taken into consideration. For example, it was important for Amnesty International’s checks to be culturally relevant, due to the global scale of its activities. However, global background checks presented a potential pain point, due to their often complex and time-consuming nature. Similarly, manually obtaining references in places like Dakar in Senegal or Lima in Peru could be a challenge. 


Sterling worked closely with Sharon Jacques, Head of International Recruitment at Amnesty, to implement a robust and timely pre-employment background check program and take the burden away from Amnesty’s HR team. Relevant Amnesty team members were introduced to Sterling’s user-friendly platform. The different candidate roles at Amnesty were discussed, and required background checks were included in packages for these roles. Not only did this ensure best practice, it meant that checks would be consistent across the organization for each role going forward. Regular account reviews with a dedicated account manager also took place, which continue today. According to Sharon, moving to an outsourced model was smooth, and the implementation process was swift. 

Key Highlights
  • Time-to-hire has been reduced by 10 days on average  
  • Candidate screening is now consistent and compliant across all regions  
  • Hundreds of hours saved by Amnesty’s HR team in obtaining criminal record checks or chasing job references from across the world 
  • Outsourcing to Sterling has enabled Amnesty’s HR team to focus on other priorities 

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