How Long Do Background Checks Take? Everything You Should Know


Wondering how long does a background check take? Hiring managers review new employees carefully, not just their education or work experience credentials but also a criminal record check.

Background checks require employers or the human resource (HR) team to go through a stringent process, such as consulting local police stations and cross-checking with previous employers, which is an important aspect of the hiring practice. 

However, there is no specific turnaround time for these background checks to conclude, but mostly this process can range from one week to one month, varies from one employer to another, and factors related to new hires.

While many potential employers seek important background clearance for new employees, some employers follow stringent checks, and some do not. 

Here are how long does a pre-employment background check should take:

How long do employer background checks take through multiple funnels? Every organization has its own set of styles to review an applicant’s history.

For example, a FinTech firm may check an employee’s credit history, but a supply chain company possibly will not. Hence, there is no benchmark for clearing or failing a background verification as each employer sets its criteria. 

Candidates’ Background Screening Process

Employers make sure that the applicants are trustworthy and do not have an undisciplined past. The HR team can reach out to their previous employers and references to verify the last organizational conduct. These hiring managers get enough information from social media platforms like LinkedIn and Glassdoor accounts. 

This complete process does not take more than a day. Also, the previous salary or compensation information is one of the important aspects of the background screening process for the employer before sending the final offer letter.

Employers will also confirm with educational institutions to check that applicants have the diploma or degree mentioned on their resume.

Candidates will need to furnish graduation completion year and grades to provide their academic performances. This process gets a bit extensive as organizations confirm the information provided by a job applicant.

In addition to this, hiring managers may also check other details like their social media handles and criminal record. A background check company could take one to two days.

How Long Do Criminal Background Checks Take?

This process is a bit tedious and consumes more of the background check duration. The maximum goes to receive district criminal records of residences. That is the primary criminal scrutiny that deems the most precise practice.

For extensive search regarding crime and offense will be testified as per respective county, state, and national regulations. 

Hence, the background check for a company needs an ample amount of time. But, if things go under further investigation, how long does an FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) background check take? At least a week, but it happens in extraordinary cases only.

Federal Sex Offender Record Check

Post ‘Me Too Movement,’ sexual harassment check has also been given top priority, and all states provide records of sex offender data publicly. However, the process of this information presented will differ from one jurisdiction to another.

For example, how long does a background check take for a sex offender? This practice of background checks for companies can be concluded within a week.

Professional References Check Duration

This practice is the fastest one and easy to execute if the candidates provide genuine references. Else, it could backfire for the potential employees. That’s why employment background checks are unavoidable.

While reaching out to provide professional references, employers usually use two mediums of communication that include phone calls and emails. If the candidates give their references a quick heads up, employers often conclude the verification in less than an hour.

How Long Does Health Care Screening Take?

Health care checks and sanction scrutiny can be verified from Medical Registry by using various primary source data. If the candidates provide their medical license numbers, these checks are performed digitally, and results can be availed within a few hours or a day.

In some circumstances, the medical checks can take more than a day when the applicants do not provide their medical credentials. Therefore, employers could take some extra time to verify the medical background check process.

Employers Outsource Agencies for Fast-Track Background Checks

As these processes sometimes take plenty of time, few organizations hire agencies for a quick turnaround. Instead, these agencies offer pre-employment selection screening solutions to employers. They operate through a wide range of search techniques, like digital databases, and manually visit the courthouse to authenticate essential details of someone’s history within a few days. 

Few online portals provide instant solutions, but some of these may not have been legally compiled for pre-employment screening.

Hence, employers must use background check companies that act following the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). The act regulates how background searches must be performed, which incorporates getting the applicant’s permission to check the background and access the results. 


Generally, a background check might wrap up within two to three days. However, the duration mostly varies from candidate to candidate, which is why giving out an accurate time frame would not be so feasible.

First, a different type of resume or curriculum vitae (CV) leads to uneven background verification time. Secondly, some communication gaps or unavailability of proper information could spike the reasonable average time to more than three days. 

Having a well-coordinated human resource team can minimize the average turnaround time for the hiring process. Else, employers should have trust in hiring agencies to deliver background checks efficiently. However, the turnaround time for a background check could not be accurate even after hiring an agency.

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