How Long Does A Background Check Take?

How Long does a Background Check Take?

by Alan Jackson — 3 years ago in Development 3 min. read

One of the most pertinent questions related to pre-employment background checks is the one about their duration. How long does it take background check websites to screen job, applicants? The period of time can vary, just like the scope and price of a screening.

In themselves, different background check elements can come with extensive variation in timelines. On average, a background check should take three business days. If you get a company that can complete one in two days, you’ll be lucky – assuming you’re getting a complete and reliable check. It will take longer if there emerges a complication or a circumstance previously not accounted for. Depending on the situation, some components of the screening can take more than a week to establish and clarify.

Can You Speed It Up?

Since there are so many elements beyond your control, this is usually not possible. The best you can hope for is that it will run optimally. Sometimes, it’s hard to find relevant information.

You might ask your applicants for information about their degrees, criminal history, employment dates, and more. It takes time to gather all of these details in one place. On the other hand, you can’t skip this step because the risk of inaccuracies is too great for you to take as an employer.

Employment Confirmation

Employment verification is relatively difficult and can take a long time. Your screening service will have to contact the HR departments at each previous job of each candidate. It gets even more complicated if you have a candidate who was self-employed, not to mention someone who worked abroad.

You can reckon with at least four business days to verify self-employment dates. The term is up to a full month if they worked in a foreign country because of language barriers and the different background check laws in different countries. You need to ask yourself if it’s an effort you’re willing to make.
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Credit Check

You will want to do a credit check if your company is in financial services and/or your hire will be handling money. In this case, their credit history will be relevant. The good news is that credit bureaus can furnish this information in just 48 hours.


The time it takes to check someone’s driving record depends on the state. It ranges from several days to several weeks.

Education Confirmation

Typically, education verification takes two business days on average. Verifying qualifications and credentials goes hand in hand with extensive contact with universities, colleges, or high schools. It can take up to a week in summer or during holidays when schools tend to be understaffed. You can expect a candidate who has studied abroad to extend the timeline by at least two weeks.

Identity Verification

Identity checks take the least amount of time. The maximum duration is two days and they are instant most of the time. This is a very basic process that’s limited to verifying the validity of someone’s driver’s license, ID card, or passport.

Sometimes ID verification includes a Social Security Number Trace, which looks at someone’s address history based on full name verification, credit established, when and where the number was issued, and evidence that this is the person’s actual number.

Verifying Licenses and Certificates

It takes two days on average to verify a license, certificate, or membership in a trade organization.

Criminal Records

In the US, criminal history screening takes up to two days. This timeline is extended if you’re doing the check around holidays or the court is understaffed. If your candidate has a history outside the US, it might take up to a month. Your background check contractor might need to do a manual search or get multiple matches. A language barrier could emerge as an additional confounding variable.
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Global Watch Search

It usually takes just one day to check global watch lists. This search tells you if the person has committed fraud or is facing sanctions. Global watch lists also have potential terrorists’ names.

Mitigating the Challenges of Recruitment

Both employers and employees suffer from misconceptions about background checks. Unfortunately, this can lead to poor hiring decisions. Background checks are becoming more affordable and quicker to carry out.

They tend to reduce rather than add to the many challenges of recruitment. We hope to have dispelled some myths about how long it takes background check companies to collect and verify data.

Alan Jackson

Alan is content editor manager of The Next Tech. He loves to share his technology knowledge with write blog and article. Besides this, He is fond of reading books, writing short stories, EDM music and football lover.

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