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How Fast Can Background Checks Be Done?

By Michael Klazema on 11/11/2020

“How fast are employee background checks?” is a common question among employers and job seekers. When choosing a background check service, employers want to know how fast the checks will process—particularly if they are filling a job quickly. Job seekers want to know how long their job situation may be in limbo, especially when a potential employer makes a job offer contingent upon passing a background check.

There is no easy answer for how long it takes to run a background check. Depending on the type of background check that you are conducting and the sources that you are using to gather data, the results could be instantaneous or take several weeks.

At backgroundchecks.com, one of our most popular products is the US OneSEARCH check, which is a search of our proprietary, multijurisdictional criminal history database. US OneSEARCH checks are instant background checks. You provide us with information about your applicant (including name, birthdate, Social Security Number, and the state that the candidate will work in if hired), and we plug the information into our database search.

Similar to Google, this search executes instantaneously and delivers fast background screening results from our database of more than 650 million criminal records.

Not all the background check services that we offer work this way. Another popular product is our county criminal history search, which allows employers to check candidate criminal records close to home. Because most criminal cases are filed, tried, and convicted at the county level, county courthouses act as the primary source for criminal records in the United States. They are, as a result, always the most reliable and up-to-date place to look for criminal history. That’s why savvy employers include county criminal checks in their employee background checks, even if they are also searching state repositories or multijurisdictional databases.

How long county criminal checks take to come back varies depending on the policies and protocols in place at a courthouse. Some county courts have online databases that are searchable. Others require in-person visits to the courthouse.

At backgroundchecks.com, we have a network of county court “runners” who help us execute background checks at the county level when physical, on-premise visits to the courthouse are necessary. In most cases, these checks take longer to process, simply because there are more steps and logistical hurdles to getting the information.

Multi-step processes are a part of many other background checks. For example, verifying employment history or educational credentials usually involves contacting employers or educational institutions directly to verify the information. How long this process takes depends on the business hours at these establishments, which means that weekends, holidays, or even an HR manager taking a vacation could add a few days to the processing time.

At backgroundchecks.com, we provide fast background screening solutions whenever possible. However, speed is secondary on our priority list—first is collecting the most accurate and complete data that we can provide. While we know that our clients value instant background checks, we also know that having the fullest picture of a candidate possible is essential for every employer. We do our part to bring that information to our clients.

Do you have any further questions about background check processing times? Our product pages include estimates for how long the checks will take. You can reach out to us if you require direct assistance.


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