How Long Does a Pre-Employment Background Check Take for a Job?

Conducting a background check on a potential employee is an essential part of the hiring process. Employers need to know about a candidate’s history in order to make the best hiring decisions and to prevent future problems. A background check can enable an employer to assess a potential employee’s history and character, which can help to predict whether he or she will be an asset or a liability to the company. Failing to conduct a background check can lead to poor performance or potential dangers to other employees and can even open an employer up to the possibility of a negligent hiring lawsuit.

The Importance of Background Checks for Employment

A background check can provide a hiring manager with several types of valuable information about a potential employee. A thorough background check should include an applicant’s criminal history, driving record, sex offender status, employment history, education and degree verification, and credit report.

How Long Employment Background Checks Take to Complete

The length of time required to complete a background check can vary since many types of records need to be accessed from a variety of sources. Each agency, institution, or other source of information has its own policies and procedures that it must follow to access the requested information and report it to the background check company.

Some background checks can be completed quickly, while others will take longer. Criminal records checks can take up to four days, since both state and federal records must be accessed. This time may be increased by factors such as holidays or a court’s delay in obtaining information from archives. Some states require that an applicant’s release form authorizing an employer to conduct a background check be mailed, which can increase processing times. Some employers and schools require that a request be faxed. Employers conducting background checks on potential employees can be updated on the status of the check and any potential delays.

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