If you’re in the market for a new job, even an entire career change, you probably know how critical background checks are to the process. They can be a crucial determining factor for employability, and many employers use HireRight, a major background check provider, to look into the credentials and background of prospective employees.
We’re going to do a deep dive into the question that’s on the mind of nearly all applicants: “How long will it take?” We’ll look at the typical timeframe for a background check through HireRight, then we’ll dig into the factors that might influence that timeframe. Before we wrap up, we’ll also give you some tips on how to expedite the process.
A HireRight background check is a process designed to help employers make more informed decisions about potential hires, by verifying the accuracy of the information provided to them by applicants. This process is more than a simple criminal record search, let’s take a look.
HireRight background checks are known for being highly comprehensive. Depending on the hiring company’s requirements and the position being applied for, the check may include any or even all of the following:
One of the most common things to verify is the applicant’s employment history. This will often include the dates or period they were employed, the positions held, and what their job responsibilities would have been. This helps employers verify educational requirements.
This step involves verifying or confirming the educational qualifications or experience the applicant listed. This includes degrees, diplomas, and certifications. The institutions listed on the application will be contacted to verify the applicant’s statements.
HireRight does a criminal record check at the county, state, and federal levels to identify any past criminal convictions or open and pending cases. This step can help employers determine if a particular applicant could pose any risk to the organization.
Positions that require any degree of financial responsibility, or access to sensitive financial information. A credit check may be performed to evaluate the overall financial stability and responsibility of the applicant.
Most applications ask for personal and professional references. HireRight, however, will often contact those references to gain additional insight into the candidate’s character, work ethic, and performance.
Many employers will require drug testing as part of their employee screening process, to ensure a drug-free workplace.
For positions that require driving responsibilities, HireRight will pull the motor vehicle records for the applicant. This allows them to assess the applicant’s driving history and safety record.
Many industries, particularly healthcare and finance, will require additional background screening for that sector. This can involve checking with professional credentialing or licensing boards, and obtaining test scores for various industry tests.
While there are many different factors that can impact the length of time the background check takes, the majority of checks can be accurately predicted. Most of the background checks that HireRight performs take 2-4 business days. There are situations, however, where a check may take 5-7 business days or even longer. The individual circumstances of the applicant, employer, and position will also play a large role.
With a spread of 2 days to more than a week, it’s important to understand what can shorten or lengthen that time. Here are some of the biggest factors that determine the length of time the check ultimately takes.
The scope of the background check is the first thing that will impact the length. A more intensive background check will obviously take much more time than a simpler check. Checks that require industry-specific screening or international records, for example, will take longer. A background check for a small retail location with only a few background check components needed, will be a far quicker process.
The applicant is the source of all information, and if that information is inaccurate or incomplete, it can delay things. This is why it’s incredibly important to ensure that the information supplied is as accurate as possible. HireRight may need to research the correct details, which can prolong the process. In cases where it cannot verify something due to lack of information, it can reflect poorly on the applicant.
Another major factor in the timeline of a background check is the responsiveness of third parties. Since Hire Right relies heavily on third-party sources, like educational institutions, prior employers, government records, and more , to verify information, the response time can fluctuate considerably. Previous employers may be contacted with a phone call, but reaching someone in a government office to verify information can be a much lengthier process.
Depending on the industry the employer and applicant are in, there may be substantial additional regulatory requirements or compliance requirements that can affect the speed of the background check. Some jurisdictions even have waiting periods that must be adhered to when requesting criminal records
One of the factors that very few people consider is the applicant volume for a particular position. While HireRight is a large service, a large number of applications coming in over a short period can lead to a significant increase in the turnaround time needed.
The process that HireRight goes through can vary depending on the factors included, but most of the background check processes will process like this:
Initiation is when the process begins, and the employer requests a background check for a prospective employee. The applicant will need to provide consent, as required by the FCRA.
HireRight then collects all of the necessary information from the applicant. This will include personal identification details, employment history, education history, and any other relevant information that will be needed for the various background check components.
After the data is collected, the verification stage can begin. This will often involve contacting previous employers, educational institutions, and other relevant third parties. All contact will be in an effort to confirm the data provided by the applicant.
HireRight performs a search at the federal, state, and county level to find any past convictions or pending cases. While not required by every employer, most will require a criminal record search for felonies. Depending on the jurisdiction and the record request, this stage may have a legally-mandated waiting period.
Once the information from all of the relevant search components has been verified, HireRight will create an extensive report detailing their findings. This report will highlight any discrepancies or concerns based on the data provided by the applicant, and the subsequent search results.
Once the report is compiled, it is then delivered to the employer, often digitally. They can then review the findings and make decisions as they see fit.
The final step is an incredibly important one. If there is adverse information found that may affect the applicant’s prospects, the employer is required by law to notify the applicant and provide a copy of the report. This is a right guaranteed by the FCRA.
While there isn’t a lot you can do as an applicant to speed up the process, there are a few things. Here are some tips to do what you can to expedite the process.
Errors can produce conflicting information or create delays.
With an up to date resume, you can ensure that all needed information is readily available for verification.
Contact your references, previous employers, and educational institutions to let them know they may be contacted. This can help make sure they are ready to respond, or are available for contact.
Stay in touch throughout the process, but don’t be pushy. Make sure you’re available to communicate about any discrepancies that pop up.
In cases where your background check contains inaccuracies or errors, those errors may have a negative impact on your standing with your potential employer. You have the right under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) to have correct information reported. If your background check contains inaccuracies, contact HireRight immediately, as they are bound by FCRA regulations to investigate and correct them.
Sometimes, however, you’ll go through the entire dispute process, still not finding resolution. If this sounds like your situation, you may be able to take legal action to have those errors either corrected or removed from your report entirely.
To do this, you’ll need to partner with a trusted legal credit resource, like Fair Credit. Our team of experienced professionals can help you navigate the often complex world of credit lawsuits. Reach out today for more information or to get started.