How Long Does a Background Check Take?

Applicant background checks are essential. The employer has to confirm what you told them on your application. Background checks protect companies from costly outcomes. For example, if an employee was relieved from their previous post due to malpractices, they can do the same to the new employer. In another example, an applicant that lies about their academic qualifications can cost the company thousands of dollars in lost productivity.

Most background checks are facilitated by private investigators or screening organizations. If the position is urgent, the last thing you want to hear is that the background check could take one month. The period varies. Some background checks take only 3 days.

The duration of a background check depends on the individual, the informational needs of the hiring company, and the institution involved.

How an Individual impacts the Duration of a Background Check

If you’re a foreigner or immigrant in a country, your background check could take longer because the employer may want to validate the employment history from your home country. Some of that information may not be so forthcoming due to cultural and language barriers.

How the Informational Needs of a Company Impact the Duration of a Background Check

Some employers want deep background checks on candidates due to previous bad experiences. For example, an employer can ask the screening firm to find out more about your social security history. They may want to know where and when you received your social security number (SSN). The employer may also look into your previous addresses to see if you had any altercations with former neighbors.

If the employer decides to contact references to confirm your employment history, the process can take a little longer. In some cases, the former employer may need your consent to give out information about you. The extra work means more time.

How an Institution Affects the Duration of Background Checks

If the employer wants to know your credit score and history, the bank may not be so forthcoming with that data. To access your records, the screening agency may need approval from more than one department. The bank may also redirect the screening agency to a public institution for more information.

If the employer wants to know whether you have a criminal record, the process could take another three days. Law enforcement officials have a lot on their plate. That’s why criminal searches could take longer.

How to Speed Up Background Checks

You can reduce how long background checks take by gathering as much information as you need during the recruitment phase. Ask applicants to provide you with all the information required to consider them for that role. Be as specific as possible. For example, if you want to know their educational background, don’t just ask them about their major. Insist that they provide the name of the school, the year, and date of graduation. That way, when you begin your investigations, you know which school to visit.

Did you know that a candidate has a right to dispute information discovered during background checks, especially if the data is not true? The process of sorting things out can lead to longer waiting times. Therefore, the employer should be transparent with the candidate and ask them to be truthful. If you are a hiring manager, let the applicant know that you’re going to do a thorough background check on them. Let them know that the process is normal, and they have nothing to fear. You should make them comfortable so that they can be more forthcoming with information.

Finally, if you don’t have experience performing background checks, hire an expert to speed up the process. Ask your friends from other companies for referrals since not all background checking agencies are good. Some have inexperienced staff looking to make a quick buck. Make sure you’re getting what you’re paying for.

All opinions expressed on USDR are those of the author and not necessarily those of US Daily Review.