How Long Does a Background Check Take?

A background check can determine if a person is who they claim to be on an employment application or other document. Employers can run these checks on potential employees to look for a criminal record or other information that may make the person a liability if they are hired. It’s a good way to protect your business. Background checks can be done in a relatively short amount of time by hiring a private investigator or background screening company. These checks can be well worth it for the peace of mind it leaves you with, knowing you have hired a solid employee.

Pre-employment background checks average timeframe

If there is one question that is hard to answer precisely, it’s “How long does a background check take?” Pre-employment checks typically take 2-4 business days, but as with everything, there is always an exception. 

You may have to wait to have an employment verified after someone gets back from vacation. Or, if a school is closed for the summer, you may have to wait to have an education verified. Also, while criminal checks within the U.S. happen quickly, if you are waiting for criminal information outside of the U.S., it could take up to 30 days. 

In most cases, however, you should have the information in your hands within a few days. 

How does it work?

When an employer decides to hire an employee and run a background check on them, they often hire a background screening company or investigation firm. Your company can send the information to the investigation firm, including a release the potential employee signed. This shows that the potential new hire is okay with the information being given to your company.

The firm then contacts the appropriate agencies or parties to gather the information and pass it along to the employer. 

What shows up in a background check for a job?

Depending on what you are looking for in your pre-employment check, you can get a person’s criminal background, credit report, employment and education verification, proof of Social Security number, a motor vehicle report, worker’s compensation claims, and the status of any professional licenses they have. Most employers have certain information they look for based on the job function that the potential employee will be performing. For example, a construction worker may need a worker’s comp report, while an accountant may need to have a credit check run. 

What are some red flags?

Almost every background report will have some sort of surprising information on it. After all, people tend to make mistakes from time to time. But there are a few key things to watch for in your background check. These can indicate that something needs to be looked into further.

  • Large, unexplained gaps in employment
  • Criminal records
  • Information that doesn’t match up with what the applicant gave
  • Schooling that cannot be verified
  • Poor credit

Keep in mind that not all of these items are warning signs. Poor credit could have stemmed from a divorce or medical history. A DUI in college doesn’t necessarily mean a person can’t do their job well. Take a minute to look through the findings and understand them before discrediting a person for a job. Background checks can save employers time and money on training an employee that will not be around for long. It could protect your company from liability if something were to happen while that employee is on the job, like the employee committing a crime. And it can give employers peace of mind as to who they have working for them. Ready to hire a private investigator in Charlotte, NC for an employment background check? Contact Barefoot PI today.

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