There’s one question that seems to make an expert in background checks adjust in their chair – how long do pre-employment background checks take? It’s a difficult question to answer, with many layers, but if you need an answer it’s this: it depends.
Probably not the answer you were looking for, but it’s the truth. It’s because there are such a wide range of checks employers can run on job candidates, that completing a full pre-employment background check has many variables. Generally speaking, however, a typical screening for employers on candidates could take anywhere between 48 hours and five business days.
While this time frame is the typical one employers and hiring managers can expect to receive results in, there are some aspects that can prolong the process. Here are some examples of what can hold up the delivery of a completed pre-employment background check.
What Can Cause Pre-Employment Background Check Delays
When it comes to delays in a pre-employment background check, here are two common reasons that cause a delay in receiving a completed report – and they’re both under the employer’s control. The first is submitting inaccurate or incomplete check request forms. The other is failure to have the necessary authorization and release forms signed by the applicant.
These specific release forms for background checks are required by federal law, and all applicants must also be notified in an individual letter that the background check is going to happen. Employers must remember that either they or an outside agency cannot begin the screening process until they are given copies of both the authorization and release forms signed by the applicant – whether in writing or electronically.
Background checks can also be slowed down by confusion over names. These checks search through large databases for every variant of a name, for example Bill, Billy, Will, William. If the applicant has a common name, the agency will have to review and cross check the records to ensure they have the right person. Often times by middle name, ethnicity, or another unique identifier.
Some universities, colleges, and former employers may not have fully computerized records, which can add another wrinkle and delay in receiving a background check. What’s worse is they are not under any time limit in providing the information and thus may not prioritize the request. State and government departments, however, usually have set turnaround times that are predictable.
3 Best Practices for Smooth Pre-Employment Background Checks
Because there are so many moving parts and elements out of the candidate and the employer’s hands, it’s often times hard to make a pre-employment background check go faster. However, there are some things to avoid that can slow down your results.
Gather all relevant information up front
Often times, these pre-employment background checks require applicants to provide specific information like former addresses, dates of employment, educational degrees and graduation dates. As a hiring manager, it’s important to collect all of this information in one ask from the applicant and to keep it all in one secure location. This will help you avoid any unnecessary inaccuracies that could hold up completing the background check.
Let applicants know what to expect
Even if an applicant has nothing to hide, it’s easy for them to get anxious about the entire background check process – especially if delays occur. Be as transparent as possible with the applicant and assure them that delays can happen. If you’re performing a background check on the applicant, you must be considering hiring the individual. So keep the experience as positive as possible for them.
Encourage honesty throughout the process
Either by mistake or deliberately, conflicting information can turn up in a background check. Because of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, there are extreme rules about accuracy in these reports that employers are bound to follow. Ensure all of the candidate’s information is accurate before submitting for review. Should the candidate find a reason to dispute incorrect or incomplete information in the report, let them know ahead of time they have the right to do so. While a dispute can delay the process, avoiding one when possible, can save both parties time.
Best Way to Speed Up Pre-Employment Background Checks
The best way to speed up the process of background checks is to work with a proven expert in background screening and reference checks. At Barada Associates, we ensure all of the required information and documentation to produce a full pre-employment background check is collected and completed. We also make the results of our checks available online through our gated and secure portal so you can access them instantly.
Ready to start getting the background checks you need for your company on your time? Schedule a time to talk to one of our experts today and learn how we can help you through the entire background check process.