How Long Do Pre-Employment Background Checks Take?

between two and five business days

Prudent employers thoroughly vet new hires, frequently including a criminal background check as part of the hiring process, either internally or through a third party agency. The turnaround time for background check results can vary depending on a number of factors from one or two days to one or two months. Potential employers have some control over some of these variables, but not all of them.

How Long do Background Checks Take? (ASL included)

Why do employers use background checks?

The background check is a pre-screening procedure that can reduce the likelihood of hiring the wrong person. A hasty or ineffective background check may result in the organization hiring the wrong candidate, which could result in lost productivity or even a needless lawsuit.

Therefore, it is crucial to thoroughly vet candidates after they pass the first round of interviews. Additionally, it ensures that employers don’t waste time hiring again for the same position after discovering disqualifying information after the hiring process is over.

What does a background check include?

An investigation into a candidate’s background verifies the accuracy of the information on their resume. The hiring process involves the recruiter gathering information about the candidate. Education, prior employment history, criminal records, motor vehicle or license record checks, and credit history are a few examples of these variables. In more detail, these factors involve the following:

Identity verification

When it comes to turnaround time, identity verification, like many other factors, varies greatly. While some prospective employers may only require details from your passport or driver’s license, others may conduct a thorough investigation using Social Security number tracing.

Employment verification

This type of check may take two to four days or longer because the recruiter must get in touch with every previous employer or member of their HR department. Consequently, the process becomes more time-consuming the more jobs the candidate has changed between. If the applicant has experience working abroad, the background check may typically take one to two weeks. The applicant can anticipate being asked to sign a release form allowing the business to obtain the necessary information.

Academic verification

This check entails comparing information from the pertinent colleges and universities with the educational experience listed on a candidate’s resume. It can be a difficult task, and the applicant must sign a release form. This type of background check might take several days.

Criminal checks

The timeframe for this check may vary significantly. The background check may take one to two business days if a candidate’s criminal history is restricted to a single state or their country of residence. However, verifying international records takes much longer. This process may take up to or even exceed 20 days if the candidate has immigrated to another country or worked abroad.

Professional certification verification

Verification of any trade organization memberships, as well as any certification or license authorization checks, are all included in this type of check. It might require two business days on average to verify these professional records.

Credit checks

This background investigation aims to obtain a summary of a candidate’s credit history. Normally, it can take two to four days after information has been confirmed with credit bureaus.

Global watch list checks

Employees in any level of government are especially in need of this type of background investigation. Since references for international watch lists are readily available, this search may be completed in a single day.

Driving checks

Due to insurance implications, your employer is liable for you, especially if you are traveling for work. In that case, employers will carry out this kind of investigation to make sure they hire a responsible driver and to reduce their insurance costs.

How long does a background check take?

Candidates may be curious about how long employment background checks will take, which is understandable, but there may not always be a clear answer. This is because, as previously mentioned, different factors affect each background check. A background check should typically take two to five business days. However, because each person’s background is unique, factors may cause this timeframe to be extended.

Fortunately, there are two main strategies for avoiding process delays. First, the process can go more smoothly if the employer and candidate collaborate diligently to complete the necessary release forms and authorizations. Second, candidates can avoid delays by making sure all information provided is, to the best of their knowledge, accurate and correct.

Are background check delays possible?

Background check delays may be caused by foreseeable and thus avoidable factors. Sometimes, however, they are unavoidable and just a natural part of the process. Here are steps candidates can take to prevent delays:

Sometimes, unfortunately, matters are out of candidates control. Some of the most common include:


How long does it take to hear back from a job after a background check?

Even though a background check can take up to five days, you might not hear back from the employer right away once it is finished. Before contacting the candidate, the recruiter may be conducting several background checks on different candidates.

How long do most background checks take?

Most background checks can be finished in three to seven days. FBI checks usually take around 30 days. Despite the availability of some instant background checks, these rely on databases that may be unreliable or inaccurate.

Why does a background check take 2 weeks?

It entails getting in touch with the personnel or HR departments of pertinent previous employers. It might also be necessary to verify a candidate’s self-employment history with their cooperation. Consequently, if there are any international jobs to check, it could take two to three business days or even longer.

Why would a background check take so long?

The most frequent causes of a delay are: A clerk must search for physical records in at least one county on the County Criminal Record Check. County courts experience delays as a result of staffing issues and backlogs, such as seasonal hiring spikes or COVID-19.

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