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.
Average Background Check Timeframe
Probably not the answer you were looking for, but it’s the truth. It’s because there is such a wide range of checks employers can run on a job applicant that completing a full pre-employment background check has many variables. Generally speaking. However, a routine screening for an employer on candidates could take 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, some aspects 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?
Here are two common reasons that cause a delay in receiving a completed report – and they’re both under the employer’s control.
- Submitting inaccurate or incomplete check request forms.
- Failure to have the necessary authorization and release documents 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 during the hiring process.
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.
Additional Reasons for Background Check Delays
Background checks can also be slowed down by confusion over names. These checks search through large databases for every name variant, for example, Bill, Billy, Will, and William. If the applicant has a common name, the agency must review and cross-check the records to ensure they have the right person, oftentimes 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 receiving a background check. Worse, 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 predictable turnaround times.
3 Best Practices for Smooth Pre-Employment Background Checks
Because there are so many moving parts and elements out of the candidate’s and the employer’s hands, making a pre-employment background check go faster is often problematic. However, there are some things to avoid that can slow down your results.
- Gather all relevant information upfront
Often, these pre-employment background checks require applicants to provide specific information like former addresses, dates of employment, criminal records, past employment history, educational degrees, and graduation dates. As a hiring manager, it’s essential to collect all this information in one ask from the applicant and keep it all in one secure location. This will help you avoid any unnecessary inaccuracies that could prevent 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 transparent with the applicant and assure them that delays can happen. If you’re performing a background check on the applicant, you must consider hiring the individual. So keep the experience as positive as possible for them.
- Encourage honesty throughout the process
Either 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 being reviewed. Should the candidate find a reason to dispute incorrect or incomplete information in the report, let them know ahead of time that they have the right to do so. While a dispute can delay the process, avoiding one 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 that all 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.
Why Work with Barada Associates?
When dealing with something as important to the success of your business and employment, you do not want to work with a second-rate company. With more than 40 years of experience, our team knows how to handle your background check needs. We are one of the nation’s leading background check companies and are eager to help you find the employees you have been dreaming of.
Contact Us for Premiere Pre-Employment Background Check Services
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.