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How Long is a Background Check Valid?

Posted by Ryan Howard on Fri, Dec 13, 2019

How Long is a Background Check Valid

Most organizations pre-screen potential candidates during the hiring process. They understand that pre-employment background checks minimize the risk to their business, their employees and their customers.  The organization also assumes that a person's history will determine their current and future actions. 

But what happens if a candidate passes a background check and then commits a crime? Can an employer or hiring manager assume a background check is valid for a specific amount of time?

How long is a background check valid?

What Invalidates a Background Check?

Let's say an employee, or even a volunteer, passed a pre-employment screening with flying colors. It's been 5, 10, or even 20 years since that employee was hired. Or perhaps the volunteer returns year after year for the same job such as a youth camp counselor. A lot may have changed in that time period. Are you positive that your clientele is still safe? Are you sure that your business can't be held liable for negligent hiring practices?

A good rule of thumb for the validity of a background check could be 2 to 5 years but again, there are certain circumstances when re-screening may be necessary. 

Cost of a Background Check:  How Much Should You Pay?

How Often Should an Employee Be Screened?

As mentioned, most organizations only do background checks upon hiring. There is, however, a trend of employers running rolling background checks or continuous screens on current employees to avoid any potential claims of negligence or violence in the workplace.

So how often should employees be re-screened? There are too many other unanswered questions to give one answer:

  • Is your organization required to regularly run background checks on employees?
  • Does your staff work with a vulnerable population such as children, the elderly or those currently seeking healthcare treatments?
  • Is the employee taking on more responsibilities that they were not screened for initially? For instance, are they driving for the organization but never had an MVR background check during the hiring process? 
  • Does the employee now have access to sensitive data?
  • Has the employee been involved in a workplace accident or others have noted that they may be drinking or doing drugs on the job?

A background check is a snapshot in time and is only as valid as the information required to perform their daily duties safely and without incident. 

How to Update Your HR Policy to Include Continuous Background Checks

How Expensive are Ongoing Background Checks?

Considering the cost of an initial pre-employment background check, many hiring managers may take pause at the thought of spending more every 2 - 5 years, per employee. When running pre-employment background checks, the candidate was probably screened with an Identity Check, Employment Verification, Education Verification and Criminal Background Check. Since the employee identity has been verified and their employment and educational background has probably not changed, the only background checks that may need to be considered are criminal background checks. If the employee needs their driving record or financial records checked, these would also need to be added. 

Work with a professional employment background check company that is transparent about cost. Contact VeriFirst to see how much it would cost your organization to do ongoing background checks!

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Topics: Employment Background Screening, Cost of a Background Check