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How Long Will My Background Check Take During the Pandemic?

By Michael Klazema on 6/16/2020

For several months after COVID-19 hit the United States, one of the many consequences of the pandemic was a slowdown in the employee background check process. While most employers were laying off or furloughing workers rather than hiring, the businesses that were looking for new personnel often had to make do with slower or less comprehensive background checks than they were accustomed to using.

As the economy restarts and employers look to potentially hire again, they may be wondering whether these delays will continue.

Most pandemic-related background check delays are a thing of the past barring another severe wave of COVID-19 cases. These delays were largely caused by closures of the courts, government offices, DMVs, businesses, colleges, and universities that background check professionals must contact to collect background check information.

While many county courts have online databases that allow from-a-distance criminal record searches, others require those searches to be completed in person at the courthouse. Since many county courts closed due to the pandemic, these background checks were temporarily impossible to conduct.

Similarly, verifying employment history or educational credentials is a step that involves contacting the business or institution listed on a candidate’s resume. These communications were also rendered more difficult by the pandemic, with many entities closing their offices, downsizing their staff, or sending employees home to work remotely. As a result, employment and education checks were more difficult to conduct than usual and typically involved at least some delay.

Even with stay-at-home orders lifting and businesses reopening, many pandemic-related restrictions are still in place. Courts have mostly reopened, which means that delays for criminal background checks will be minimal or absent going forward. However, many businesses are still operating on a work-from-home basis, which could mean ongoing delays for verification checks.

The best thing that employers can do at this time is to be patient. The novel coronavirus disrupted many of the systems that we rely on for stability and efficiency in our day-to-day lives, background check system included.

At backgroundchecks.com, we are working to process background checks as quickly as possible, because we know that our customers rely on these checks to make smart hiring decisions. We are also encouraging our clients to utilize some of the checks we offer that process instantly—our US OneSEARCH check, for instance, allows customers to search more than 650 million criminal records in an instant, spanning all 50 states plus Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, and Guam. The database, which we maintain in-house, has remained stable and searchable throughout the pandemic and will be available for quick and reliable employee background checks no matter what happens next.

Feel free to contact us directly if you have any questions about how the pandemic might impact your background check process.


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