Last updated: September 25, 2023
Human Resources (HR) is responsible for the hiring process and many companies include a background screening. If your company completes background screenings on potential employees, you know they get costly.
In fact, some larger companies have contracts with a specific background screening company that provides bulk rates. Others pay as they go because they aren’t required very often. However often they’re required, knowing the type of background check you’re looking for can save money in the end.
Where does the information come from?
Keeping everyone safe in the workplace is an employer’s top responsibility. These days, many employers want to be sure that potential employees present themselves honestly on a job application. Someone who misrepresents their qualifications or abuses drugs, perhaps, could put anyone working around them in danger.
It seems as if literally everyone who owns a business is connected to the internet today. Moreover, since the invention of the cloud, many companies process and store their information online as well. With so many sources of data, you would think that tracking a person’s background would be fairly easy.
The problem stems from knowing where to look to acquire the information that you want to know. Government data, at the county, state, and federal levels, is publically accessible and is a leading source when performing background checks. Social media is also another prime source because people tend to let it “all hang out” on their accounts. It often represents the truest picture of who they are and what they’re about.
If someone is hiding a drug addiction or even recreational use, they aren’t going to put it on a job application. However, not being able to resist the impulse to post that rather telling pic on their social media account might be common. Many people don’t think about the fact that their accounts tell a tale of their lifestyle—but companies who provide background checks certainly do.
How long does it take to get the results?
Submitting an online background screening request is a quick and easy process. The key to the turnaround time depends on the type of information requested. It could be available in minutes but could take several weeks for more inclusive requests.
Breaking down the background screening
Background screening is the all-inclusive phase that pulls the industry together. However, it’s no problem whatsoever for employers to differentiate between the types of background checks that they need.
There’s no reason to pay for information that doesn’t benefit you or your company in any way.
Let’s take a look at how it breaks down.
Employment background check
Some employment background checks can literally take minutes to complete. Again, it depends on the amount and type of information requested.
The typical employment background check includes, but isn’t limited to, information such as work history, education, credit history, driving record, criminal record, medical history, social media use, and a drug test.
More extensive background checks might include manual searches or the need to reach out to a specific organization, and, therefore, take longer. Information regarding professional license certifications, degrees obtained at universities, specific details about previous employment, fingerprint background checks, and, even, FBI background checks are good examples.
Employers “mix and match” to obtain the specific information they are looking for.
Here’s a bit of info regarding each one.
Basic employment background check
A quick background check regarding work history, as in did someone actually work at the company listed, is usually obtained quickly. If potential employers need more extensive information that requires reaching out to the business, it depends on that company’s workflow process as to how quickly the requested information is received.
That’s the extent of the background check for some companies.
Education verification background check
Many employers just take the person’s word for it regarding educational background. That makes total sense, of course, because a lot of jobs don’t require having a specific degree in education.
For those employers who look into the degree of education the potential new hire listed, the process is going to require reaching out to the school itself. First, it requires having the potential employee sign a release waiver.
Again, this might slow down response time a bit. However, companies who regularly contact the school or university for information could be on the fast track.
Credit history background check
This type of background check looks at an overview of someone’s credit report. It’s usually obtained in a couple of days. It speaks to how a person handles their responsibilities.
Driving record background check
If your job involves being on the road, obtaining a driving record allows employers to determine if you’re responsible behind the wheel. Hiring safe drivers lower their insurance costs.
Criminal record background check
It can take more than 20 days to obtain the results of a thorough criminal background check if the person has lived internationally. However, if the check is limited to one state or country, the results are typically back in a day or two.
Social media use background check
Googling someone’s name may afford you a wealth of information, but on the other hand, reviewing a person’s online activity in a compliant manner isn’t something the average HR department is equipped to handle.
There are companies that specialize in this type of background check.
When a company is drug-free, people know there is going to be a drug test. The type of drug testing method that the company uses can vary depending on whether or not they are federally mandated. If the company hires the general public, they are free to choose urine, oral fluid, or hair follicle drug test.
The hair test is becoming more widely used as it affords the longest detection period. Employers have a record of any drug use over a three-month period!
Identity verification background check
If employers request identity verification, the turnaround time can vary greatly depending on whether the person has lived internationally, and whether or not the employer requests Social Security number tracing.
If all your looking for is a driver’s license or passport check, the wait is usually short-term.
Fingerprint background check
A fingerprint background check has to go through the proper channels of law enforcement within your state. Moreover, the person must show up at a designated place to submit their fingerprints in person.
As a rule, the results don’t come back for several weeks.
FBI background check
Identity History Summary Checks are provided specifically by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). People often refer to the report as a “rap sheet.”
It can take up to a month to receive the report.
Why employers check-up
People who are high on drugs or who haven’t got the background that they proclaim could cause a serious accident.
Employers who want to keep the workplace as safe as possible perform background checks to ensure people are who they profess to be. Moreover, it’s the same reason they drug test employees.
Subsequently, employees who work for them know their employer cares about their well-being. That knowledge affords them peace of mind and a sense of security. It flows out of them in ways that benefit their employer. Productivity increases, absenteeism goes down, and the positive flow of happiness spreads through the entire company.
The word is going to get out if it hasn’t already, and trustworthy, ethical people will be lining up hoping to land a job.