Time to Hire: Pre-Employment Background Check

HR professionals and managers are always looking for ways to cut down long hiring times. According to Workable, the time to hire can vary from a few days to a few months. Poor onboarding structures or an unorganized hiring process can exacerbate long hiring times. But a comprehensive background check isn’t where you want to cut time. By obtaining a full background check, you’ll mitigate future risk and higher turnover rates.

Pre-employment background checks typically take between one and three days, and can be accomplished while the rest of the applicants’ hiring paperwork is processing. Sometimes pre-employment background checks take up to a couple weeks due to a variety of circumstances, some listed below. A thorough, comprehensive report is worth the wait.

Reasons for Long Domestic Times

  • Common names. Your employment screening team uses multiple identifiers to find your applicant’s history. Names are one of the many used, including date of birth and addresses. Common names require more than one identifier to find a match, which can take the researcher time.
  • Dependent on others. Some jurisdictions don’t have their files converted to digital records due to limited access to high speed internet in rural parts of the country. Or the jurisdiction may have limitations as to what information can be accessed in a digital format. Other jurisdictions don’t allow access to files by anyone other than their clerks, so researchers must wait on the clerks to find the information needed.
  • Inaccurate or Incomplete Forms. The information provided by either the employer or applicant to the researcher may be incomplete, lacking some necessary identifying information. This can drastically slow down the process as that information must be obtained before continuing with the screening process.

Reasons for Long International Times

  • Infrastructure. Some countries simply lack the infrastructure for keeping criminal or driving records, for example. If background screening isn’t part of the hiring system in the country, or is a recently available option, researchers may be trying to locate records that simply don’t exist.
  • Policies. Some country policies and systems may bog down the process naturally. It’s easy to forget that we’re in a hurry, not them. So there may just be a natural lackadaisical attitude toward pulling necessary documents and the like. Some countries also have more hoops to jump through than others. Multiple documents to sign, forms to submit, and the like. Canada, Germany, and the UK are are examples in this instance.

Instant Background Checks

There’s a misconception that a comprehensive background check can be instant. Some screening companies tout their ability to turn around a report in less than a few hours. It sounds too good to be true, and too often it is. There is a national database that these searches pull from, including a sex offender database. But because these checks aren’t regulated, sources don’t have to report to them. Those sources that choose to participate report vastly different levels and types of information.don’t look into each jurisdiction at the county level, they typically lack full reports.

The best, most comprehensive information is found at the county level, because that is where the action happens. That’s where the arrest records are taken. It’s the source of most candidate history, so they’re likely to have the most complete records. Many companies, and consumers, see instant, cheap, or National checks, and think that’s the best way to go. But if you’re looking to hire a nanny for your children, someone working with sensitive information, or to understand how the team you’re building will work together, a full comprehensive screen is the best option.

The time it takes to fill an empty position can seem like an eternity for both parties involved. But doing the diligence of a comprehensive background check can make a difference. There’s a variety of factors that play into the time it takes to run a comprehensive background check on an applicant, but the information received is imperative to the safety of the brand and company.


Critical Research is committed to delivering reliable screening solutions wherever you do business. We offer a variety of services, packages, and comprehensive reports to help you make the smartest hiring decisions. Our FCRA-certified team achieves industry-leading turnaround times for comprehensive pre-employment screening. Contact us for more information on how we can meet your screening needs.

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