Background Checks for Employers in Michigan Could Soon Take Longer

Time to hire is one of the key metrics employers use when evaluating the effectiveness of their recruitment process. Minimizing the time a position remains open is key to staying efficient and effective. Likewise, applicants want to move quickly towards gainful employment. In one state, employers may soon see their times-to-hire skyrocketing as recent changes negatively impact background check turnaround times.

What's happening in Michigan?

The Background Behind Michigan's Clean Slate Law

In 2020, Michigan's legislators embraced a growing trend nationwide: expanding access to criminal record expungement. By sealing or expunging certain minor and old criminal records so they do not appear to the public, legislators hoped to expand access to employment and housing. Over the last several years, Michigan has worked to develop the expungement process. It is now in full effect, but not without some hiccups.

Across the state, courts have experienced significant delays in processing background check requests. Some individuals and businesses have waited weeks or even months before seeing their background check requests completed. Naturally, that's causing significant bottlenecks in the hiring pipeline.

What's Causing the Delays?

At issue is the large number of records that must undergo removal from public view. Because state courts do not want to report information that should now be private, many Michigan counties have cut off public access to their record systems. They will remain restricted until the courts feel confident that they've deleted all the appropriate records and implemented a smoother system for removing future records. Unfortunately, these issues have no set date for a resolution. Some employee background checks could continue to take weeks before producing results.

How to Cope With Delays in the Background Check Process

Delays are difficult for both employers and applicants. In situations such as those in Michigan, there is little employers can do aside from delaying or forgoing background checks for employment — not the best idea. You could choose to conduct other vetting elements, such as work and education verification, while you wait for a background check to process. You may also choose to make offers conditioned on the results of an eventual background check.

Whatever route you take, communicate clearly with your applicants. Keeping them in the loop can reduce confusion and keep individuals interested in the position. Working with a background check partner that keeps you informed, in turn, is also a wise move. With the right help, you can ensure that your request will undergo processing as soon as possible.

Be Ready for Any Outcome

Delays happen, but long-term slowdowns such as the one happening in Michigan are rare. When they occur, it's important to have a plan to ensure you can continue to fill positions safely and effectively. Whether you simply wait through the process or provide conditional job offers is your choice. However, don't forget that even a reliable background check process can hit snags. Be sure you have a plan and a vetting partner to help you navigate these rare but challenging situations.

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Michael Klazema

About Michael Klazema The author

Michael Klazema is the lead author and editor for Dallas-based with a focus on human resource and employment screening developments

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