How Long Does It Take To Run an Employee Background Check? 10 Dec 2018


If you’re running an employee background check on your job applicants, then you’re not alone. Many businesses use background checks as part of their hiring process. In fact, a survey by and the National Association of Professional Background Screeners found that 96 percent of businesses conduct some form of an employee background check.

It’s easy to see why so many businesses conduct background checks. After all, they ensure your new employee is qualified for the job. They also protect your business from bad hires. But, an employee background check can seem to slow down the hiring process. Why do background checks take so long to run?

In this article, we’ll learn how much time employee background checks take, why they take so long, why you should wait for the results, and how you can speed up the process.

How Long Does an Employee Background Check Take?

Depending on how you run a background check, the time needed varies. For example, using an instant background check company gives fast results. However, the results could be incomplete or inaccurate. Inaccurate or incomplete background check results could cause you to hire someone unsuitable for the job. For example, someone with a criminal conviction may be ineligible for certain jobs.

Running a background check through an accurate background check company usually takes one to five business days. If any problems arise, the background check could take weeks to complete. When you wait that long, the job applicant could find a different job before the check is complete.

What kind of problems slow down background checks?

Why Do Some Background Checks Take So Long?

Many things can slow down a background check. Here are some of the most common causes.

  • You need to run multiple background checks. You won’t learn everything about a candidate from one background check. Depending on the position, you may need to run several, such as a criminal, education, and license check.
  • The background check company needs to search multiple databases and sources. Getting information from multiple sources increases the report’s accuracy. It ensures you don’t miss any red flags.
  • The background check results need to be verified. Double-checking the results increases their accuracy. Verification can take longer if databases aren’t automated.
  • The applicant’s name has several versions. Checking every version of an applicant’s name shows any records they may have under a different spelling or incorrect version of their name.
  • The applicant filled out their information form incorrectly. Background checks can only be accurate if the information used is accurate.
  • The job applicant lived or worked outside the country. Checking an applicant’s background in all the countries they’ve lived or worked in ensures you get the full picture before you hire.
  • The people providing the records or information have no legal deadline. When the recordkeepers don’t share your timeline, getting information from them may be much more difficult.

Getting all pertinent records allows you to verify the information the job applicant gave. But, if all these problems can slow down the process, why should you wait for an employee background check?

Why Should You Wait for an Employee Background Check?

An employee background check protects your business from making a bad hire. For example, a job applicant with a conviction for a violent crime could put your existing employees and clients in danger. In some cases, hiring someone with a criminal conviction could even lead to negligent hiring lawsuits against your business.

Background checks also ensure the job candidate is qualified for the job role. They will show if the job applicant has the experience and education they need for the job.

While you’re waiting for an employee background check, is there anything you can do to speed up the process?

How Can You Speed Up the Background Check Process?

Person using a laptop to check background check results online

Many aspects of the background check process are out of your control. Still, here are a few things you can do to speed up the process.

  • Have the job applicant fill out information and consent forms as soon as possible. Ask the candidate to double-check the information they provided for accuracy.
  • Use a background check company that offers online reports. Being able to check the results online gives you access to the report as soon as it’s ready.
  • Have your background check company inform you if the process is taking longer than expected. If you know about the delay, you may be able to get the process back on track. For example, you could contact the job candidate to request more information.

You’re now prepared to keep the process moving. But, what if your background check company doesn’t offer online reports? What if they don’t keep you updated about delays? How can you find a background check company that’s worth the wait?

The Wait Is Worth It

If you’re part of the 96 percent of businesses that use employee background checks, then you’ve wondered why they take so long. Now that you know how and why background checks take time, you’re ready to take on this process. But, how can you find a background check company that offers speedy, accurate results?

Trusted Employees can help you run all the background checks you need. We are dedicated to getting results quickly, and our average time is one to three days. We also offer online reports so you can access results right away. Contact us today to learn more about our background check packages.