How Long Does a Background Check Take?

Background checks are still a very common component of hiring new staff, and they are often the last hurdle before you can have a new hire formally start. If the applicant has any criminal convictions on their record, there’s a great chance that they won’t be considered for the job. However, an expunged conviction will not show up on a background check, and it can give applicants a better chance of being hired. Employers can rest assured that not all records can be expunged. Only minor convictions are eligible for expungement, so if convicted of a serious crime, it will still appear on the background check. If you’re hiring for a job and need to fill a position quickly, it can be frustrating to have to wait on a background check. Of course, different levels of background checks take different amounts of time, with cursory checks taking a few days and more serious background checks taking even longer. 

Things can take even more time if the job applicant has filled out part of the background check form improperly, or if other third-party businesses like the Department of Motor Vehicles or a university are needed to provide verification of certain documents. If you’re wondering how long does a background check take, here’s a quick rundown of some of the most common types of checks.

Pre-employment screenings

Pre-employment screenings generally take between three to seven days to complete. A pre-employment screening will assess a job applicant’s employment history, credit score, and criminal record. Some factors that may make a pre-employment background check take longer than one week are if they have ever used another name or if they do have marks on their criminal record. While not all background checks involve an employer calling and speaking with past employers, if they choose to do this it can also slow the process down.

Biometric background checks

Biometric background checks are becoming increasingly common when you work with children or interface with a wide range of at-risk individuals. A biometric background check involves going to a business that can take your fingerprint so that it can be used to confirm your identity. Fingerprinting is generally used because it is the most accurate way of checking someone’s criminal history, since fingerprints are a unique personal identifier. Because of the type of equipment used and deeper research into your identity, a biometric background check may take one to two weeks to yield results. 

FBI background checks

If you ever are applying for a government job, you may have to have an FBI check run on you. FBI background checks are incredibly extensive, and can take up to a month to fully complete. Depending on the level of the position that you are applying for, you may even have friends or family members receive an interview request from an FBI agent. At these in-person interviews, an agent will conduct an audit of the information that you have provided to their agency, asking questions that confirm that you haven’t lied at any point in the application process.

Deep searches provide speed and accuracy

When you need to know information about someone’s identity quickly, it’s best to use an online service like Go Look Up. These kinds of websites offer deep searches based on someone’s first and last name, as well as their location. Go Look Up and other similar websites comb through hundreds of public records databases to find a variety of personal details about someone, including their residence, job history, arrest records, and contact information. You can even see individuals’ mugshots if they have a criminal record. All of this can help speed up your job search, although depending on your business you may still need to utilize a formal background check service, too.

Background checks are an important part of employment screenings, but they can often be cumbersome. If you want a good indicator regarding whether or not someone is worth pursuing for a formal background check, running a quick deep search using a service like Go Look Up is the best way to get the information you need without having to wait around for third party companies to complete their work.

Adam Hansen

Adam is a part time journalist, entrepreneur, investor and father.