How Long Does an Employee Background Check Take?

Press Release from DISA Global Solutions

In the fast-paced sector of talent acquisition, hiring managers and HR professionals are often caught in a race against time to secure the best candidates for their organizations. One of the pivotal yet unpredictable stages in this process is the execution of background checks, designed to safeguard the company by confirming the credibility and suitability of potential hires. Timelines in recruitment are notoriously tight and unpredictable, with every stage of the process demanding swift and decisive action. Understanding the duration of background checks, therefore, becomes imperative for these professionals to navigate through the hiring maze efficiently and effectively.


Understanding Background Check Timelines 

A typical background check, focused on verifying basic information in the United States, can be relatively swift, taking as little as two to four business days. However, when dealing with international regions, the timeline can extend to approximately 10 to 15 days. The reason? Background checks come in different forms, each impacting the timeline and the overall scope of your screening process.

Types of Background Checks:


Identity Checks 

An identity check serves as the foundation for more comprehensive checks. A basic identity check on a U.S. candidate working in a typical industry wraps up in two to four days. However, expect a longer journey if your quest for information delves deeper. For instance, Consent Based Social Security Number Verification (CBSV) used for employment eligibility in the U.S. is swift, taking only a few days. Conversely, industries like finance and healthcare demand more extensive background checks that adhere to regulatory standards, potentially stretching the process.


Employment Verification 

This type of check is one of the most common globally. Employment Verifications may involve contacting past employers' administration or human resources departments and can also include verifying periods of self-employment with the candidate. Typically, this takes two to three business days, but complications like difficulty reaching past employers or outdated contact information can extend the timeline.


Criminal Background Checks 

Criminal background checks are a global staple. Checks conducted entirely in the US usually take one to two business days, although weekends, holidays, and court staffing issues can lengthen the process. However, candidates outside the U.S. should be prepared for a potentially longer journey, ranging from three to thirty business days. This delay can be attributed to manual record checking, communication with authorities in different countries, or in-depth verification when multiple matches are identified.


Education Verification 

Confirming a candidate's academic qualifications can be time-consuming. Researchers often have to contact universities and schools individually. A typical report might take two to three business days, but employers can expect longer timelines during the summer and school vacations. If you need to verify non-U.S. educational institutions, this can further extend the background check timeline. Sometimes, the candidate must sign a release form before the institution shares any information.


Other Background Checks 

Employers may request additional background checks, such as motor vehicle records, social media screening, credit checks, or reference verifications, depending on the position's requirements. Depending on how extensive the employer’s screening process is, these checks vary in comprehensiveness, turnaround time, and potential federal regulations.


Speeding Up the Background Check Process 

Given the variation in background check timelines, it's natural for employers to seek ways to expedite the process. While some elements are beyond employers’ and DISA’s control, both employers and candidates can take steps to facilitate a smoother journey:

  • Advise Candidates to Prepare Their Data: Candidates may be asked to provide documentation to verify. Having this documentation ready, whether it's proof of employment, past addresses, or dates of employment, can significantly expedite the screening process when needed.
  • Utilize Digital Authorization and Consent Forms: Employers can streamline the process by implementing digital authorization and consent forms. This allows candidates to provide necessary approvals electronically, reducing paperwork delays and expediting the verification process.
  • Regularly Update Contact Information: Encourage candidates to keep their contact information current. This simple step ensures that verification teams can reach out promptly, avoiding delays caused by outdated or incorrect contact details.

How Can DISA Help?  

While often straightforward and speedy, background checks can become complex and time-consuming. The depth and breadth of the background check and regional factors all play a role in determining how long the process will take. By understanding these factors and preparing in advance, employers and candidates can help ensure a smoother and more efficient background check experience.

DISA Global Solutions offers a comprehensive range of services, including drug and alcohol testing, background screeningoccupational health, and transportation compliance, empowering employers to make informed staffing decisions while fostering a culture of safety in their workplaces. With a commitment to excellence, compliance, and customer satisfaction, DISA is the trusted partner you can rely on for all your background check requirements.

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About DISA Global Solutions   

Founded in 1986, DISA is the industry-leading provider of employee screening and compliance services. Headquartered in Houston, with more than 35 offices throughout the U.S. and Canada, DISA’s comprehensive scope of services includes drug and alcohol testing, background screening, occupational health, and transportation compliance. DISA assists employers in making informed staffing decisions while building a culture of safety in their workplace.

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