How Long Should a Quality Employment Background Check Take? Part 1

In business, the profitability of any organization is going to depend on the productivity of its people. Every moment matters to the bottom line, so if something can be done sooner rather than later, it can be tempting to go with the faster option. Unfortunately, in the world of employment background checks “faster” does not equate to “better,” especially when screening candidates for high-responsibility job positions. You risk missing out on valuable information and creating a liability for your clientele and company.

So how long should you expect a quality employment background check to take and is it a time-frame you are prepared to work with?

Results Take Time, But How Much Time?

According to a CareerBuilder survey, 72% of all employers in the U.S. conduct formal background checks on their candidates, which means that 28% of employers do not. This is a staggering amount when you consider what background checks are supposed to do for the employer and their company. As a critical part of the hiring process, the employment background check is intended to:

  • Ensure workplace safety
  • Mitigate liability
  • Protect company reputation
  • Determine professional eligibility
  • Verify candidate claims of experience and qualification

Determining these parameters for any given candidate requires deploying a number of different types of checks. The length of time a background check will take will depend on which checks are deployed, the thoroughness of each check, whether or not any hang-ups or concerns arise, and industry guidelines. For example, an employment background check for a government job that will grant a level of security clearance can take as long as a year, while the standard check for a basic office job may take between 24 and 72 business hours, or as many as 5 business days.