Employment Screening: Really How Long?

Employment screening, or a background check can take anywhere from being an instant search to seven days in most cases. This often depends on the type of background check an employer is running and myriad other circumstances. 

What does an employment background check show?

A background check will investigate a candidate’s background based on criteria determined by their prospective or current employer. A check of a candidate’s background may include employment, education, criminal records, drug testing, credit history, motor vehicle reports, and much more.

How long do they take? 

  1. National Criminal Database—Instant
  2. Education Verification-1-3 Days
  3. Employment Verifications-1-3 Days
  4. Federal Criminal Record-–24 hours
  5. National Sex Offender-–24 hours
  6. County Criminal Record-–1-3 Days
  7. Drug Test- Instant-72 hours 
  8. State Criminal Record-–1-3 Days
  9. County Civil Record – 2-5 Days
  10. MVR – Instant for 40 States; 1-10 Days for Other States

Most common reason for delay:

The most common reason for an employment background check delay is carelessness in filling out and providing the correct applicant information. This often requires placing a hold on the record search while  the required forms and/or obtain additional information is obtained. Such carelessness may also require the running of additional searches.

The next most common employment background check delay occurs when obtaining information from record repositories. Record holders maintain and release data in a variety of ways. While many records are computerized, many others are maintained on microfiche, microfilm, and paper. Third party researchers gather data directly where possible, but some requests for information must be made by mail, fax or voice mail, requiring  additional wait times for the record source to gather and release the data “at their own pace.”

Also, many record sources only provide a name index to identify potential data. Each name variation (for example, Robert and Bob) may be located in a different part of the index and must be searched separately. If an applicant has a common name, the researcher may find many records that need to be reviewed for identification.

Taking longer than expected:

When the background check is taking longer than expected, the likely culprit is a pending county search. Many courts are inundated with requests, have physical record keeping systems, or restrictive requirements, third party researchers are subject to the same wait times as any other consumer reporting agency or member of the general public.

Finally, once the data has been identified, the information must be properly compiled into a report for the employer based upon the various (and differing) state and federal laws, which determine the information that can be reported. *** Keep in mind that courts are closed on weekends, holidays, or for severe weather events … again slowing the research process!

Delays because my current employment screening provider: 

If you suspect the delays are due to your current 3rdparty provider, ask for complete logs which detail a timeline of all actions taken to complete the search. 

There is one other thing that employers should keep in mind as they run am employment background check on a perspective employee. If there is something in the criminal background check or the credit check that prevents a perspective employee from receiving a job offer, the employer is legally obligated to notify them. The job seeker is then offered the opportunity to dispute it.

How far back can background checks go legally?

In most cases, the standard employer background check only goes back seven years from the date of application. However, in some instances, there are exceptions to the seven-year standard. For positions that work directly with money, positions of public trust or positions that work directly with children, the employer may require a more extensive background investigation.

Why Laborchex? 

  1. All work is done in Mississippi. When you call, we pick up the phone. When you have a question, we give you an answer.
  2. For a fraction of the cost of in-house IT, our clients have a dynamic screening platform that’s always up to date and infinitely scalable.
  3. Competitive Pricing
    1. Never any account set-up fees
    1. No monthly dues
    1. No minimum order requirements
    1. Pricing without hidden fees
    1. Order a single level of screening or many
    1. Discounts for bulk orders
    1. Easy invoice billing and payment options
  4. Knowledgeable Staff
  5. In business since 1991
  6. True human resources professionals
  7. Legal compliance team

At Laborchex, we pride ourselves on offering background screening solutions that are fast, accurate, affordable, and compliant. To learn more, call 1-800-880-0366 or visit us at our website laborchex.com.

Contributed by Ricky Rayborn of Laborchex.