Do All Background Checks Take The Same Amount of Time

Do All Background Checks Take The Same Amount of Time?


Pre-employment screenings are becoming an increasing necessity in the professional world, both to verify a job candidate’s authenticity, and to mitigate risk at work. In this world of instant online searches, it is reasonable for employers to expect quick, often instant results. Because of this, it can be frustrating when delays in background checks disturb your hiring timelines.


Read on to know how this can happen and the straightforward steps you can take to avoid this situation.


Can employers cause delays in background checks?


Yes, they can, although not by intention. For instance, if there is any inconsistency in the data provided (like the name, date of birth and address of the candidate), the lack of consistent results can delay the process. Manual data entry is often the primary culprit. For this reason, many employers are switching to online portals that also validate the data at the time of entry.

Another issue could be the lack of consent from a job candidate. State-specific FCRA regulations determine that an employer must first gain consent from a candidate or current employee, for every type of background check, before it is conducted. The absence of consent will invariably lead to delays in the screening process.


Can job candidates cause delays in background checks?


Absolutely, inadvertently or with deliberate intention! This can include instances where the candidate provides misleading information – like an incorrect address or social security number, misspelled names, shortened nicknames, not specifying gender for gender-neutral names, not ticking the consent check-box for a particular type of background check, etc.

Can screening experts cause delays in background checks?


This is rare as it is sure to adversely impact their credibility. However, they are bound to adhere to FCRA regulations, and may hence hold a background check until consent is confirmed.


What background do checks take longer than others?


This often depends on the level of detail expected from the screening. For instance, a criminal background check can be conducted with instant results, when it only touches upon the national criminal database. On the other hand, a county-level check may take up to a week due to the nature of the check and the subsequent intricacy involved.

Also, checks that cannot be conducted online or through local means – like a drug screening based on a urine sample, or even verification of professional references – can take anywhere from 2 days up to a week.


What can employers do to reduce delays?


The first step is to streamline the hiring process. For instance, consider pushing background checks towards the final stages – when you have narrowed down the list of future employees – to save both time and money on your screenings. Also, having an online portal to validate information will reduce the time required to spot and eventually fix mistakes.

Finally, strategically choose the types of background checks you wish to conduct on a candidate or current employee, based on relevance to their job. For instance, an MVR driver verification check on a candidate interviewing for a front-office role may be unnecessary at this time. Therefore, eliminating this check can save you both time and money. That’s just logical.


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