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Jessica Elliott | 18 September, 2020

Time is of the essence, and when you're hiring a new employee, you don't want to move onto the next steps until you've received a background check. Which leads you to ask, how long does an employment background check take?

Of course, the answer is that it often depends on the type of check you require and your job candidate's responsiveness. Discover how timeframes vary by the kind of review performed and get tips for reducing delays so you can make a rapid decision and hire your best talent.

How long do background checks take? 

Fortunately, the technology exists to get you the majority of your results back within 72 hours. But some tests deliver nearly-instant results, while others take a couple of days. Some information, such data from an international criminal record search, may take up to two weeks. 

Get Employment Background Checks in 24 Hours

Quick searches can deliver you results in less than 24-hours. These types of background checks usually look at online databases to verify and find records. Fast background checks include: 

  • A basic search for criminal and sex offender records
  • Identity confirmation and address history
  • Driving records
  • Credit reports
  • Global security watch list verification

Obtain Criminal Background Checks in 48 Hours or Less

If you need a comprehensive criminal history check, including data from county criminal courthouses, then you may wait for up to 48 hours for results. This is because many counties don’t offer digital records, so the search process simply takes longer. However, a comprehensive check is the best way to avoid major red flags.

Acquire Pre-Employment Checks in 72 Hours or Less

Various other employment background checks take more time to contact references, previous employers, or access civil court case data. Record verification and pre-employment services that take up to three days include:

  • State criminal records 
  • Education verification 
  • Drug tests
  • Reference verification
  • County civil courthouse search
  • Employment verification 

Practical Tips for Quick Background Checks

Prepare your job applicants for a pre-employment background check by giving them some information about the process and expectations. Candidates who misrepresent data or refuse to cooperate may result in your screenings taking longer than expected. Three crucial ways to speed up the process are: 

1. Tell your applicant what information they need. 

Your candidates must provide dates of employment, phone numbers or business addresses, and former salary information for reference and employment checks. 

2. Emphasize the importance of accurate data. 

According to the Fair Credit Reporting Act, background check providers often must verify adverse information or give the applicant a chance to dispute it. 

3. Ask job applicants to be ready for the email or phone call. 

Sometimes screeners can't get ahold of a previous employer, reference or college for verification purposes. In these cases, your candidate may be able to provide further information to assist with the process. 

Ensure a Smooth Hiring Process Using Reputable Providers 

Are you ready to save time screening your job applicants? Find out how long your employment background check will take by exploring services for small to medium-sized businesses. Find out how eKnowID can help you hire the best job candidates.

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