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Why Some Employee Background Checks Get Delayed

Top 10 Reasons Employee Background Checks Get Delayed

You’re excited about offering a new candidate a full time position with your company; so you follow the process, (including the employee background check), and then…NOTHING! Why? Because the background check is taking longer than expected.

While some of the factors delaying a background check are unavoidable, others are not and require better expectation setting on all sides. Understanding these factors is essential for both employers and candidates to manage expectations during the hiring process. Here are some common reasons for delays in background checks:

  1. Candidate Accuracy and Cooperation: If the candidate provides incomplete or inaccurate information, it can lead to delays as the background check provider may need to verify or clarify the details. Also, if the candidate does not promptly respond to requests for additional information or documentation, it can cause delays in the background check process.
  2. Verification Process: Certain checks, like employment and education verification, may require contacting past employers or educational institutions. Delays can occur if these entities are slow to respond or if the information is not readily available.
  3. Discrepancies or Red Flags: When discrepancies or potential issues are identified in a background check, additional time may be required to investigate and resolve these discrepancies.
  4. Legal or Regulatory Requirements: Some background checks, especially those involving criminal history, may be subject to legal or regulatory requirements that vary by jurisdiction. These requirements can add time to the process, especially if there are delays in obtaining records.
  5. Provider-related Issues: During peak hiring seasons, background check providers may experience high volumes of requests, leading to longer processing times. Also, providers often operate during regular business hours, so weekends and holidays can cause delays in processing.
  6. International Checks: Conducting background checks on candidates with international backgrounds often take longer due to the need to coordinate with foreign entities and access international databases.
  7. Court Records: Accessing court records for criminal background checks in specific jurisdictions may be delayed by court staffing or other issues.
  8. Manual Checks: Some checks, especially in regions (like in developing countries) where comprehensive databases are not readily available, may involve manual verification processes, such as contacting individuals or institutions by phone or email. These checks can be time-consuming.
  9. Additional Checks: Some employers may require additional information, such as credit checks, reference verifications, or social media screening, which can add to the overall timeline.
  10. Custom Requirements: If an employer has unique requirements for a background check, it may take longer to complete the check based on these custom criteria.

It’s important for both employers and candidates to be aware of these potential causes of delays and to be proactive in addressing them. Employers should also work with background check providers to streamline and expedite the process wherever possible. And lastly, good background check providers should be proactive in setting expectations early and often.

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