Are Background Checks Instant?

Sometimes, employers need to be able to conduct background checks quickly. Perhaps you are trying to reduce your time-to-hire to avoid situations in which top candidates get scooped up by other companies. Maybe you are hiring someone for a time-sensitive role and need him or her to start work—with a background check on file—in just a day or two. In either case, you might be asking: are background checks instant?

The answer is that background checks are sometimes instant but not always. For instance, if you conduct a county criminal history check, you will normally have to wait a few days to get the results. Getting criminal records from individual county courthouses sometimes even involves sending “runners” to those courthouses to request and access the records in person. Such checks are not instant.

The same is true for checks that verify resume information, such as employment history or education. Such checks involve contacting specific sources—often HR professionals or admissions offices—to check records. These checks involve multiple steps and take time to process.

With these examples out of the way, there are some types of background checks that do process instantly. Specifically, background checks that involve searching a pre-compiled database of information process roughly as fast as a Google search.

At, we offer several instant background check products and services. Our US OneSEARCH product is a multi-jurisdictional database criminal history check that combines over 600 criminal records from all 50 states plus Washington, D.C., Guam, and Puerto Rico. It also incorporates sex offender registries and national security sources such as terrorist watch lists. Our US AliasSEARCH adds alias checks, Social Security Number validations, SSN death master index checks, and address history searches.

We also offer specific US Registered Offender OneSEARCH and National Security OneSEARCH checks if you are only looking for that information. As with our other OneSEARCH products, these checks are instant.

Even if you use an instant background check, there are benefits to adding non-instant checks into the mix as well. No database of criminal history information is truly comprehensive. For best results, you will likely want to search county criminal records in your area and near where your job candidate lived in the past. An address history makes the latter much easier.

Verification checks help you to ensure that your candidate is honest about his or her professional and educational history. Searches for things such as driving history and credit history can be valuable depending on the job that you are seeking to fill.

If you are asking, “Are background checks instant?” you will likely take comfort knowing that quick, easy checks such as our US OneSEARCH do exist. If you need to vet an applicant right now and can’t wait for courthouse runners,’s instant background check options will make your life easier. Contact us today if you have any questions.

Get monthly updates on  background check news, industry trends, and changes in laws and regulations.

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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