Sunday, July 30, 2023

How Long will Your Background Check Take? Find out Here!

Do You know how long your Background Check will take?

Questions concerning Employment Background Checks are common. Job applicants often want to know exactly what employers are looking for, what will they really check, and even what can be discovered that may keep them from getting offered the job!

But it doesn't stop there. Wondering how long it will take to complete and when the potential employer will get the results is often the most frustrating.

These concerns are not surprising. Applying for any job can make a person anxious, and having to undergo a background check only adds to the problem.

So when this question popped up on a popular Question & Answer site, we weighed in ~

“How do I know if my employer got my background check back?”

“Depending on the scope, a good background check can take anywhere from days to weeks to complete, and even longer if security clearances are involved. Most potential employers will contact the applicant once the check has been completed and reviewed. This wait can feel like forever to job applicants. Just know that delays are common and can happen during any employment background check. Court record issues or the need for manual record checks, trouble reaching a reference, and even errors on your resume can cause your background check to take longer than usual. The best thing you can do is to keep in regular, possibly weekly, contact with the company’s HR department or your original company contact”.

Check out the original question and other answers here!

As is often the case, the more you know going in, the better.

When a company orders a Background Check on on a potential employee, in many cases they are completed within 2-3 days. Depending on what needs verified, it can even take as little as 24 hours.

However, there are times when circumstances delay the process. These issues can range from encountering incomplete court records that require more research to not getting the responses needed in a timely manner. 

No matter what the case, it can be frustrating for all parties involved.  

That is why it is best to be aware of these potential delays and understand what can be done, if anything, to get your check back on track.

These are the most common reasons a background check can be delayed:

  1. Resume and Application Errors
  2. Timing of your Request
  3. Manual Court Checks
  4. Individual Court Dynamics
  5. Employment and Reference Checks
  6. Incomplete Case Information
  7. Power Outages and System Maintenance
  8. International Requests
  9. Government Shutdowns
  10. Changing Legislation

Learn more about each and what you can do to mitigate their impact on your background checks here!

While most background checks will not be affected by many of these factors, it is always best to understand what they are and what you may be able to do about them!

Job applicants can often feel like they have no control over the background check process. But that is not the case. Delays due to resume and application errors and past employment and reference checks can all be mitigated to some degree by you, the applicant.

Let’s start with the resume. 

The best thing that anyone looking for a job can do is to be proactive and get their resume “Background Check Ready” long before they even apply!

When you are in the midst of a job search, one thing you can count on is that some type of background check will be part of the equation. Most employers will check to see if you have the education, skills, and past experience needed for the job ~ and your resume will most likely be their first impression of you and your skills!

That is why making sure your resume is completely truthful is the best start, and that begins with verifying that all the information you list is clear and accurate ~ and it will go a long way in helping your background check go as smoothly as possible!

Follow these 5 Rules to Get your Resume “Background Check Ready”:

  1. Make sure your Resume is free of typos and spelling errors and be as detailed as possible
  2. Never List a Degree you haven’t earned
  3. Make sure all past employment are accurate
  4. Make sure you know what your past employers will say about you
  5. Be ready to mitigate any employment “gaps” or inaccuracies

Discover more about getting your resume ready for a background check here!

When it comes to listing your Employment and Personal References, it is once again best to take charge and know in advance what former employers and references will reveal.

While some job applicants may believe they know exactly what information a former or current employer will share, many are most likely not sure.

There are often laws that can limit what employers can say about your job performance. Then there are also companies that choose to place parameters on that information and will only verify dates of employment and most recent job title.

But that is not always the case.

So, what can you do to give yourself a heads up on what past employers will share?

Do a little research! Find out the laws in your state and locality governing employer background check guidelines, along with any state and locality where you may have worked!

You should also check directly with the employer yourself. Find out what their company policy dictates and do a background check on yourself to verify that.

Learn more in "Do You really know what your Employer will say about You?".

You also need to take similar precautions with your References.

Don’t fall prey to one of the biggest mistakes a job seeker can make ~ listing your former employers, supervisors, or professors as references without asking them first!

This simple step can save you from the embarrassment of a less-than-stellar recommendation and give your references a most welcome heads up.

In fact, this common courtesy can greatly increase your chances of getting the job. 

Your references will have had the opportunity to gather their thoughts beforehand and will not be caught off guard ~ giving you the best chance of your references working for you instead of against you.

When references are contacted unaware, they often stumble. Dates and titles elude them. Specific projects you may have worked on or tasks you lead are unmentioned. This can lead to an unimpressive reference report.

These 7 Tips will help you get the most out of your References:

  1. Make a List
  2. Check it Twice
  3. Spread the Word
  4. Fill in the Details
  5. Do a Double check
  6. The Final Draft
  7. A Thank You goes a Long Way

Check out more about these tips in “Your References ~ Be Smart, Ask First”!

For these reasons, and many more, when it comes to the employment background check, it is always best to be forward thinking and informed. 

Your best defense against delays is to know in advance what a background check entails and what steps you can take to help the process go as smoothly and quickly as possible.

Authored by  

Do you need help getting your resume “Background Check Ready”? Contact API Today. We can Help!

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