Why Is My Background Check Taking So Long?

May 23




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Background checks can be delayed for various reasons. Learn about some of the most common reasons for background check delays.


Have you been wondering,Why Is My Background Check Taking So Long? Articles “why is my background check taking so long?” If so, you're in the right place. Background checks can take anywhere from three days to over a year, so there is a lot of variation in how long they take to process. Knowing what type of background check you're going through and how long it should take can help you prepare for any delays.

Read on to learn about why background checks might face delays.

What Is a Background Check?

Background checks help employers verify someone's identity and other public records. They can help an employer determine if someone is a good fit for a company based on how their records stack up to company policies, which is known as adjudication. Most employers and government agencies will run these checks as part of the application process.

How Long Does a Background Check Take?

Background checks don't usually take a long time to process. In most cases, a Social Security background check can take as little as one day and criminal records can become available almost immediately.

For these reasons, most background checks won't take more than a few business days. So, if you have a background check done on Monday it can be done by Wednesday or Thursday. However, if you start the process on Thursday or Friday you might have to wait until sometime the following week.

When Should You Follow Up on a Background Check?

If you're going through a basic background check process and it's taking more than two weeks, it's a good time to follow up. We recommend sending an email to the hiring manager or calling the background check agency to check on the status of your background check.

Acting too soon can raise concerns, and not following up at all can result in you being overlooked for another candidate.

Reasons for Delayed Background Checks

Background checks can face delays for several reasons. However, the most common reason for delays is an issue with information or red flags that employers find during the search. Learn more about some of the most common reasons for delays, and how to resolve them, below.

Information Problems

The biggest problems are a lack of information, the wrong information, or a miscommunication between the employer and the agency when doing the background check. When someone in the process provides the wrong information, your typical 3-day background check can turn into a 3-week background check.

To avoid this problem, make sure you check your records, resume, and references to ensure that everything is accurate. This might seem counterproductive, but if you've moved in the last eight years, this is something you'll have to put down in some states.

Red Flags

Red flags are another common reason for issues during the background check process. If a company runs a background check on you and it reveals your criminal record, employers will look through the details of your crimes. This can add a few days or weeks to the process, depending on how extensive your criminal record is.

However, red flags can also speed up the process. For example, companies that don't hire sex offenders will immediately send out a notice that the background check failed. If you have a criminal record, we recommend being honest and upfront about it to prevent delays.

Drug Testing and Additional Checks

Drug testing or any additional background checks, like a motor vehicle report (MVR) can add additional time to the background check process. Expect these processes to add an extra two to four days to the background check process.

However, if a company finds a red flag in your driving records or financial background it can delay the background check further. Being open and honest about your past will help here.

Prepare for a Background Check Today

The best way to prevent background check delays is to be prepared. You can prepare for a background check by running a background check on yourself with an online tool like USPeopleSearch.

When you run a search with such comprehensive tool, it will reveal everything that's on the public record. This can help you check for any discrepancies that you can dispute before applying for jobs. Furthermore, you can use this tool to search for old coworkers and educators to make sure your references have the correct contact information.

While looking into your records will help you prepare for a background check, you still need to be honest and upfront about them. This will prevent any delays in the process.