Completing a background check is an important part of the hiring process. Verifying information is not intended to imply an employer suspects a prospective employee was untruthful on an application or resume. It is simply the last step in ensuring the employer has performed all the necessary actions to protect the employer from any possible risks. Not conducting a background check is one reason an employer can be found liable for the future actions of an employee.
How Long Does a Background Check Take?
The average time required to complete a background check is between three days and one week, though this time can be shorter or longer depending on the type of background check that is conducted. Some third-party companies may offer a shorter turnaround time, but these often rely upon quick database verifications. Anyone offering an instant check is likely using a database that could be incomplete or have bad information.
There is no point in conducting a background check if the information is inaccurate. It is best to wait a few days for a reputable company to verify the potential employee’s information. Databases that offer instant reports of criminal activity are particularly notorious for errors. It is at the employer’s discretion how vigorous a criminal background investigation is. Information can be searched for certain counties and states, or searches can include national or federal databases.
The type of position applied for will determine the appropriate depth of the investigation, and some searches will take more time than others. For instance, positions in certain industries such as education, health, or finance might require an FBI background check. Those can take up to 30 days because they require fingerprints to verify identity and check all the databases for criminal activity.
What Can Delay a Background Check?
The biggest reason for a delay in completing a check is inaccurate information. Without the right data, the person conducting the check will be unable to verify any of the information. This usually results in delays due to the extra time for back and forth communication between all the parties. It is always a good idea to take the time to be thorough when checking the information on the application.
Delays are also commonly caused by not submitting the appropriate authorization forms signed by the applicant. Some background checks are also delayed due to the source of information required. Investigators have no control over turnaround times for the various agencies they need to contact.
Why Are Background Checks Important?
Though it can be tempting to skip the background check to speed up the hiring process, there are several reasons why this is a bad idea in addition to the legal liability an employer might face for an employee’s future actions. Some employees might embellish qualifications to be more competitive. While this might seem harmless to the potential employee, ensuring job competence is vitally important to the success of the employer’s business. Employers have a right to hire the most competent applicant, and this is only ensured with adequate verification.
Workplace safety also depends on accurate knowledge of an employee’s past. Skipping a criminal background check endangers other workers and puts the business at risk of possible theft. According to some researchers workplace crime costs businesses billions of dollars a year. Even though the background check can seem like a hassle, it protects a business’s reputation, ensures the safety of other employee’s, and decreases the likelihood of employee theft. It is a vital step that should be completed before any new hires are added to the team.