How Long Does a Background Check Take?

November 9, 2017 by Verified First
How Long Does a Background Check Take_

Background checks are an essential part of the hiring process. From reducing liability to streamlining hiring, and more, background screening is important for organizations across every industry. 

Successfully passing a background check is often the final step in a candidate’s journey. Employers are eager to onboard new employees through quick screening, but speed needs to be balanced with accurate and thorough results.  To help employers assess their screening program and improve hiring efficiencies, it’s important to understand the many aspects involved with pre-employment screening. Different types of background checks can and should be conducted based on industry, position, and job duties. Typical background checks can include criminal searches, driving record reports, drug testing, education and employment verification, and reference checks. 

Below, we’ll explore things that can slow down the screening process plus how to improve the candidate experience with a streamlined background screening program. 

Reasons for Background Check Delays

To allow employers to make safe hiring decisions, background checks must be conducted properly without cutting corners. While it’s common to look for ways to work around steps of the screening process to improve your hiring time, this can actually cause more wasted time and money in the long run. 

Here are some examples of delays that could slow down the screening process:

Limitations at the county court level 

Researching a candidate’s criminal records at the county court level is one of the most effective because most crimes are prosecuted at this level. However, there is no centralized nationwide database to pull criminal records, so records must be obtained in person. Additionally, some courts mandate that research must be conducted by a local clerk, which could delay the process even further.  

Turnaround time from employers or educational institutions. 

If a past employer doesn’t quickly respond to a screening request, it will add extra time to the screening process. Additionally, it’s common to expect delays when trying to verify high school education during the summer or holidays, when institutions lack the staff to quickly respond to requests. 

Specific jurisdictional requirements

Some jurisdictions require unique authorization forms or additional screening processes to be compliant with state laws. In this case, it may require more time to complete the necessary components of the background check.   

Data entry errors or incomplete candidate information. 

Even the smallest error will cause delays when your screening partner needs to follow up to verify the information. The most common errors are entering a wrong SSN or misspelling an applicant’s name. Also, if you have a candidate with a common name, forgetting to provide a middle name will increase the time it takes for your screening company to find and verify information.  

Special considerations for screening 

There are a few additional factors that may delay turnaround time:  

  • If a position requires several different types of screenings, it will take longer to process.
  • If a candidate has a history outside the United States, it requires additional time to manually check records, interview authorities in that country, and conduct in-depth research.
  • Finally, if a candidate has a common name, such as John Smith, it will take longer to search because of additional records associated with that name.

Ways to Improve Your Background Screening Process 

Streamlining your background check process doesn’t have to be as difficult as it sounds. There are a few different ways to improve your hiring process through efficient background screening, including streamlining the candidate experience, partnering with the right technology providers, and more. Let’s explore some steps you can take to strengthen your screening process:

Focus on the Candidate Experience

Although some delays may be inevitable, it’s important to remember the candidate experience. Even with candidates with nothing to hide, it’s natural for them to feel anxiety about the background screening process. You can help your candidates feel comfortable moving forward through open communication and transparency about what they should expect.

Let your candidates know what you are screening for and reassure them you have a written process to verify that information is accurate and complete. If you experience unanticipated delays, your screening provider should communicate updates to you in a timely manner. An experienced background screening company will let you know what delays have come up and give a projected timeline to resolve them.

Partner With a Background Screening Provider

Recruitment and hiring is complicated. Partnering with the right technology partners can help take some of the heavy lifting off your shoulders, giving you more time to focus on more important tasks. 

The right background screening provider will understand your organization’s unique business needs and integrate with your chosen tech stack. A screening provider like Verified First will come alongside your organization to help facilitate your screening needs, help you stay compliant, and better manage your recruitment and onboarding efforts.

Verified First Can Help Improve Your Hiring Process

In today’s talent market, speed and agility are crucial aspects to recruit and retain top employees. An efficient hiring and onboarding process can be the difference between an exceptional new hire and a lost employee. Verified First can help make that happen. 

We offer background screening packages for every industry, including drug screens, criminal background checks, civil records, and more. Our screening capabilities can integrate into your chosen ATS platform, improving communication, efficiency, and productivity. Partnering with Verified First can take some stress off your shoulders and improve your hiring process through efficient, effective background screening. 

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About Verified First
Verified First is known for delivering streamlined background screening backed by the best client support, and for developing the easiest, fastest HR system integrations, for free. Our client support team is U.S.-based, answers calls in seconds, resulting in hundreds of positive testimonials and a 96% customer satisfaction. Verified First's patent-pending, award-winning integrations include over 100 applicant tracking systems, and provide clients a turn-key experience.

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