How Long Do Background Checks Take?

A common question employers hear from potential employees during the hiring process is “how long does a background check take?” Unfortunately, the only answer you can give as an employer is “it varies.” The truth is, it can take anywhere from 24 hours to 30 days depending on how in-depth the background check is and what it includes. A background check that includes a criminal check is going to take much longer than one that is simply an identity check.

How Long Does an Employment Background Check Take?

background check for employment can include a number of different elements, some of which take much longer than others. These elements can include:

  • Identity Check – This part can include a simple driver’s license check, which can be instant or as in-depth as a social security trace that can take a couple of days.
  • Motor Vehicle Records – The DMV is notoriously slow, so this element of a background check can take a few days to a few weeks and is entirely dependent on the state (or states) being searched.
  • Credit Check – Adding this to your background check can take up to 48 hours and typically involves a credit history overview.
  • Global Watch List – This checks the various watch lists of potential terrorists, people known for participating in fraud activity, and those who face regulatory sanctions. This type of check only takes a day or two.
  • Employment Verification – This portion can be a bit more difficult to complete and can increase the turnaround time for a background check by three business days or longer. It involves verifying past employment, and you’ll need to get a signed release from the applicant in order to get certain information released.
  • Academic Verification – Verifying a potential employee’s academic accomplishments can easily add at least three days to a background check, and it can be even longer if the request is run during holidays, school vacations, or summer time. Again, you’ll need a signed release to get a school to provide more information than “yes, the applicant was a student here.”
  • Professional Qualifications – This part can include memberships to trade organizations, licensing and certifications and can take up to two days.
  • Criminal Checks – The turnaround time on a criminal check varies and typically depends on your location. In the US, they usually take about one to two days, not including holidays. Outside the US, a criminal check can take up to 30 days.

A background check for employment is tedious, but necessary. Fortunately, at ARCpoint Labs, we offer efficient and professional background check services that make the process easier. Depending on your location, additional employment waivers may need a signature. Please contact your nearest location for more details. For more information about our other services, contact us today.