How long should employment background checks take?
Why do background checks take so long?
Background check results could be received in a matter of moments or weeks. The length of time is dependent on what it takes to obtain the information and verify its accuracy. Some information can be gathered quickly, such as verification of identity and credit history. That type of data can be gathered with a quick search of the credit bureaus. Criminal searches, where information may need to be gathered manually, could take longer. Visit this link to review what to expect for each type of search.
🚦 Other reasons why background check results could get delayed:
Employer requests every background check, including those unnecessary for the job.
Prior employment verification is delayed when the previous employers cannot be reached.
Incorrect or inaccurate candidate information.
The screening provider returns the request because the employer did not obtain the applicant's consent.
Which background check results are the quickest?
As a best practice, it's recommended that hiring managers only run the background checks that are necessary for the job role. There's no need to run an MVR screening on applicants if their job description doesn't require driving or operating heavy equipment. We also advise our clients to narrow their candidate pools prior to requesting background checks to save both time and money. The background checks that can provide "instant" or quick results are:
National Criminal Database and Sex Offender Search
International Watch List Criminal Searches
How can background check delays be prevented?
A good place to start is to match the required job descriptions with the necessary background checks for the position through a background screening policy. Again, review this list to understand what screenings are available and how long they typically take.
Another way to prevent background check delays is to ensure that the applicant's information is accurate. This is often done through electronic applications and forms via an online portal like this one that's free for our clients. The FCRA certification is built right in so that applicant consent and authorization are gathered before running the background checks.
Work with a trusted background check provider that is transparent on costs and what to expect. They should offer guidance through the process to ensure that your hiring managers know what to expect and when. They may even offer volume discounts to save time and money.