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How Long Do Background Checks Take?

When going through the employment verification process, you might wonder how long do background checks take? Many types of background checks exist, including employment screening and criminal background checks. The time needed to complete these depends on various factors such as the type of check, requested information, source, and legal requirements in your jurisdiction. Delays in the hiring process are common, so it’s essential to know when a background check is taking too long and what to do about it.

How Long Does it Take to Do a Background Check

Background screening can take up to five business days, even when there aren’t any problems. A criminal background check usually takes one to three business days. However, it can provide results much more quickly when only searching a centralized data source like the National Criminal Database. Manual searches can take longer, depending on the source. Federal background checks can often be done in one day. Screening companies like KarmaCheck can provide you with fast background checks with their unique technology.

What Goes into a Background Check?

An employment background check typically consists of searches for your work history, credit history, and credit history. Depending on the employer and position you’re applying for, it can also include checks of driving history, medical history, drug use, and social media use. A criminal background check searches federal, state, and county criminal records, sex offender registries, and terrorist watch lists. A federal background check in the US with the right service provider will search all 94 federal courts for criminal records like federal tax evasion, embezzlement, identity theft, mail fraud, and other crimes committed on federal property.

Why is My Background Check Taking so Long?

Is a background check taking too long? Incomplete or inaccurate request forms are the most common reasons behind answering the question, “How long does a background check take?” In particular, employers often need help to obtain applicants’ authorization, as federal law requires. In addition, most counties still need to entirely digitize their court records, requiring court clerks to perform manual searches. Depending on the county, these searches can require up to 30 days to complete. Applicants who have lived in multiple locations or had many jobs in the last ten years can expect background check delays, especially in another country. The time needed to complete an international background check varies considerably based on the degree of cooperation between the two countries. This type of background check takes at least four to five days, but it can take up to 20 days. 

Additionally, some background check companies are just slower! Find out why our partners trust KarmaCheck for ultra-fast background checks, streamlining the hiring process and reducing candidate drop-offs.

How to Handle Delays

If you have not received an update by the expected time, follow up with the recruiter for a background check taking long. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires prospective employers to inform you of results from a credit check that could prevent them from hiring you. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recommends that employers provide this notification within five business days. This allows you to explain negative information, such as employment gaps and criminal records. Additionally, there are ways that you can ensure swift results when conducting a background check.

Are There Ways to Speed Up a Background Check

Instant background checks, like those available at KarmaCheck, can significantly speed up the hiring process by allowing employers to search online databases. They can typically use these resources to search for criminal offenses, with almost instant results. KarmaCheck’s unique technology allows you to complete the background-checking process in under five minutes for the lowest price. Once you provide basic information, like the candidate’s email address and name, you’re all set. You can then review the applicant’s background details with a simple interface.

Get started with performing fast background checks for your organization by contacting KarmaCheck today!


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