How Long Does Sterling Background Check Take?

Last Updated:
August 18, 2023

Background checks are an integral part of the hiring process for countless companies, and they help employers to make sure they are hiring candidates that are the best fit for the position and the corporate culture. One of the leading providers of background checks is Sterling, which is known for its comprehensive yet efficient background screening services. 

We’re going to discuss what a Sterling background check is, what factors can affect the length of time it takes to complete one, and more. We’ll also go over some of the turnaround times for various checks, and go over some easily actionable tips to speed up the process. In the end, we’ll look at a trusted resource for taking legal action to restore your financial reputation.

What is a Sterling Background Check?

Sterling is a global provider of background check and identity verification services. They assist organizations in making more informed decisions about potential employees, volunteers, and contractors. Their services include but are not limited to criminal background checks, employment and education, credit, drug screens, and more, depending on the industry and the role of the position. 

A Sterling background check is a comprehensive investigation into an individual’s background. The check seeks to verify various details of an individual’s personal, professional, and educational history. This process creates a reliable mechanism that helps employers ensure that their candidates meet the required qualifications for the position, and have no disqualifying information in their past that can negatively impact the organization. 

Sterling’s background checks are specifically designed to be compliant with general regulations such as the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), and more specific industry-related regulations. 

Factors That Affect the Timeframe of a Sterling Background Check

Type of Background Check

The length of time it takes to complete a Sterling background check is largely dependent on the particular type of background check being conducted. Some record checks, like criminal history and sex offender status, can be completed relatively quickly, while others like employment or educational verification can take considerably longer. 

Jurisdiction and Geographical Location

The jurisdiction and geographic location of the individual being screened can have a large impact on the turnaround time. Different countries and even states have wildly varying processes for accessing and sharing information. Some locations have modernized and only need a quick database search, while other locations will require manual research into archived records, which can be time-intensive.

Volume of Records

The number of records that are returned for an individual will also affect how long the check takes. If an individual has an extensive criminal or employment history, it can take a much longer time to search, verify, and subsequently compile all of the necessary information.

Manual Record Verification

In some cases, manual intervention is required to either locate or verify specific pieces of information. This can include reaching out to past employers, schools or universities, or even court officials, to confirm or deny the accuracy of the details provided in the application. Manual record verification can significantly increase the timeframe of Sterling background checks.

Typical Timeframe for Different Types of Sterling Background Checks

Criminal History Check

Most criminal history checks take between 1 and 3 business days to complete, depending on the general availability and accessibility of the records involved. Some local and international checks may take longer if records need to be manually researched or inspected. 

Employment Verification

Employment verifications will often take between 2 and 5 business days. The biggest factor in how long this check takes is the responsiveness of the previous employers and the complexity of the individual’s employment history. 

Education Verification

Education verifications can take up to a week to verify but generally hover in the 2 to 4-business-day range. The timeframe largely depends on the responsiveness of the educational institution, and their records accessibility policies. 

Credit History Check

Credit history checks are one of the quickest checks that can be done, and depending on the organization running the check, results are available anywhere between a few seconds and a few hours, but should not take any longer than 2 business days. These checks are generally done completely digitally and are sourced directly through the credit bureaus.

Drug Screening

Drug screening is not a part of every Sterling background check, but when they are, they can take up to 5 business days for turnaround but can be ready as quickly as the next business day. The turnaround will generally depend on the type of drug screen being performed, the work level of the lab that processes the results, and whether or not there is a need for any additional testing or confirmation of results.

Tips to Speed Up the Background Check Process

  • Provide Accurate and Complete Information

 One of the biggest reasons for delays or errors in the background check process is applicants who fail to provide accurate and complete information. This helps cut down on discrepancies, which lead to delays in verification and reduces the chances of failing the background check due to unverifiable information.

  • Prepare Your References

You’ll likely have several references that are going to be checked, not only professional references and past employers but also personal references or character references. Take time to reach out to each of these parties and let them know they should expect a call to verify some information. Encourage them to be ready to respond promptly to any inquiries.

  • Organize Your Documentation

Be sure you have taken time to gather all of the relevant documentation you may need to support your information. Examples are things like diplomas, transcripts, and employment records, and having them organized and ready can help expedite the process if manual verification is needed.

  • Be Proactive

Stay in touch with the organization conducting the background check, in this case, Sterling, and be ready and willing to provide them with any additional information they may need to verify your information. Helping them to promptly address issues that arise during verification can cut down the delay time significantly.

  • Consider Pre-Employment Screening Services

If you are someone seeking a job, you may want to consider using a pre-employment screening service to have a background check done on yourself. This can help you identify any inaccuracies or discrepancies in your records that can lead to verification delays or loss of job offers.

How Fair Credit Can Help

The time frame for a Sterling background check can fluctuate considerably, depending on the type of check, the jurisdiction, the volume of records, and whether or not there is any need for manual record verification. By following the tips we’ve mentioned, however, you can reduce the risk of preventable delays and ensure that your background screening goes as quickly and smoothly as one can expect.

If you discover errors or inaccuracies in your credit report during a Sterling background check or any other background screening process or service, it’s critical to address the issues promptly. If you’ve gone through the dispute process and maybe even filed a complaint with the CFPB, and still haven’t gotten the resolution you need, Fair Credit may be able to help you take effective legal action to reclaim your credit report’s accuracy. 

The experienced team of legal professionals at Fair Credit can help guide you through the process of taking legal action and can help you protect your rights as a consumer. Reach out to Fair Credit today to discuss the details of your case, in a confidential environment, with an expert member of our legal team.

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