• Carlos Crameri

How Long Does An Employment Background Check Take?

Updated: Dec 15, 2020




You want to hire the right person in your business, and probably thinking of conducting an employment background check on promising job applicants. With the short time available to hire, knowing how long does a background check take will help you work with your schedule.

Depending on your requests and the time available, there are various ways to perform


background checks. These factors determine whether it will take just a few minutes or a few weeks.


On average, a pre employment background check can take two to five business days. Sometimes it may take longer to complete the whole process and get the results.


Turnaround Times For Employment Background Checks

An employee background check turnaround times vary depending on the type of information you need. A check can include work history, education, credit history, driving record, criminal history, medical history, social media, and drug test.

Identity Check

While some identity checks are nearly instant, so can take up to 48 hours to get the report. It involves checking the detail of a candidate by using their passport, ID, or Social Security Number (SSN). The results of such background checks could take up to 48 hours to be ready.

Credit Check


Credit check request may are typically done within 24 hours. It involves searching on the Credit Bureau database for any record about a candidate's credit history.


Employee Verification

Employers may call the past employers of the job applicant to make sure the information they have provided is true.

Criminal Background Check

Criminal background checks take between 24-72 hours, depending on location, possible records and if you have a common name.


The reports on this check can be returned faster depending on the type of database being searched, such as the National Criminal Database. Criminal background checks can be conducted instantly through instant background checks where the criminal records can be retrieved from online databases just by using the applicant's Social Security Number (SSN). Verified background check providers have access to these databases and therefore, it takes a very short time to run the check.

Professional Qualifications Verification

This includes trade organizations membership, and other certifications. A background check to verify the professional qualifications of a job candidate could take two business days.

Academic Background Checks

A background check company takes two to three business days to get the complete report on the academic verification of a candidate. It could take even longer when schools are on holiday or when the institution requests a release form to share the records with the employer.

Federal Background Checks

When you need more information on the candidate's criminal records, you can go further and request a federal background check. The check sources information from sex offender registries, criminal court records in counties, terrorist watch lists, and federal criminal records.

The average turnaround time for federal checks is one day.

A federal background check search in all the 94 federal courts in the US. It checks for violations of federal criminal laws, embezzlement, identity theft, and interstate trafficking.

Terrorist Watchlist Global Sanctions Searches

The employer can also request for applicant screening on a global watchlist database that has a list of potential terrorists, fraudsters, and people that have been sanctioned. It takes one to two days.

Motor Vehicle Records

The time depends on which state you are searching for the records of an applicant. It is usually a few days to some few weeks.

Fingerprint Background Checks

A fingerprint background check is required by government-run institutions like schools and hospitals.

Many employers require fingerprint background checks on the job applicant if they will be caring for vulnerable people.

The background check process depends on the quality of the fingerprints you submit. If the quality is poor, it could take longer to process the report or even make you start over.

Why Do Background Checks Take Long?

Your background check may take longer than the average maximum turnaround time, 5 days. If this happens, here are some reasons why:

  • Providing inaccurate or incomplete information when filling the forms. This may happen if the employer has not provided the authorization and release forms signed by the job applicant. These forms are a requirement by federal law for any background screening process.

  • If you have ever lived outside the U.S in the last 10 years, an international background screening may be required. On average, these checks take anywhere between five to 20 days depending on the country's laws and protection.

  • With most court records still being operated manually, the county clerks can take up to 30 days to complete the check.

  • Incorrect Identifiers such as name variances could cause delays and force manual background check process.

  • The number of background check requests by the employer. A background check may take longer depending on the number and type of background check the employer has requested. Results of different background checks take longer to be complete. For instance, an employee background check takes longer since it involves calling the human resource teams of the employee from previous companies.

  • In addition, academic verification involves calling institutions which could take two to three days to get the report.

Is It Possible To Speed Up The Background Check Process?


Where there is no specific way to speed up the process due to some factors that are out of the employer's control, there are still some things you can advise the candidate to do during the hiring process, and help reduce the waiting time for the results.

  • Provide all the required information. Ask the applicant to gather all the necessary information that would likely be needed during the employment screening process. This includes simple things like adding the middle name if the applicant has a common name like Michael Johnson. The information may include past employment, applicant's former addresses, previous salary information, and employment dates.

  • Be Honest. Normally, when conflicting information pops up during a background check, providers like GlobalBackgroundScreening.com are bound by the Fair Credit Reporting Act to verify that the information provided is accurate before including it on the reports.

  • Work Together With The Screening Provider. Screening companies may sometimes contact an applicant directly to see if they can help speed up the background check process. This is common when the background check provider encounters an unresponsive information source like the previous employers and educational institutions. The applicant can work together with the screening company and provide them with copies of relevant documents like diplomas or W2s.

Speed Up Your Employment Background Checks!

Let GBS Do It.

Global Background Screening LLC (GBS), is an international background check provider that conducts fast and accurate background check services.

Whether you are an employer or the applicant, GBS, provides several employment screening services such as pre-employment background checks, drug testing, and criminal record, among others.

Why Use Global Background Screening LLC?

When you need a screening company to conduct an employee background check, GBS is the go-to place. Our services are unique and leading in the market.

  • GBS provides industry-specific screening solutions to help employers make smart hiring processes and decisions and reduce the time spent on hiring.

  • GBS uses modern technology along with an experienced team that has worked for over 2o years gathering employee information and provide you with accurate reports to help you evaluate candidates.

  • Easy to use dashboard with status updates, comprehensive legal background tools, and same-day screening.

  • Fast results through the use of electronic forms and signatures. The average turnaround time is 2 days. The reports are also easy to read.

  • GBS screening services are reliable and of top quality but stays affordable for every employer. Customize your needs to meet your budget.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does a background check take for a job?

A background check for a job takes between two and five business days. Background checks are part of the hiring process and could even take up to 30 days for higher-level government positions like the FBI.

What do employers look for in a background check?

Employers search for past employment history (previous job), academic verification, criminal record, and credit information.

Make sure that the information provided in your resume is accurate.

Why is my background check still pending for a job?

It could be for a simple reason like the report is not yet ready. It could also mean that the employer (The job you're applying for) has found a red flag in the report and they are reviewing it.

Why Is My Background Check Taking So Long?

If the check is taking long, like more than two weeks, it is possible that the provider company found issues with your background check. If there are issues with the search results, the employer may contact you for clarification. Make sure to always check all your emails and spam emails to make sure you're not overlooking any additional requirements.


Guest Author: Carlos Crameri is the CEO of CuriousCheck, an SEO and Web design company. With over 10 years in the background screening industry, Carlos is on a mission to modernize the human resources and background screening industries with new technology and marketing trends.