There are many factors that may result in delayed background checks received from a consumer reporting agency (CRA). The most common reasons include international screening, employment and education verification, validation of public records, and required searches such as live scan and fingerprint.
1. International Screening
It is important when screening job applicants to take into account where they previously resided, where they were employed, and where they went to school when determining jurisdictions to search in for public records (i.e. criminal, civil, verifications, etc.) What if it is found that the job applicant has either resided, worked, or gone to school in a foreign country? The employer must do their due diligence and search in those respective countries for any potential adverse information, especially if the background is for a senior level position.
International background checks notoriously take longer to complete than domestic searches due to certain country requirements. An example of this would be an education verification in India requiring an additional notice to be dropped off at the school and picked up at a later time, which in some cases may be up to 12 business days later. Additionally, international criminal records are generally delayed due to government standards. In the UK, government agencies take up to 15 days to return results.
2. Employment and Education Verification
Employers that elect to conduct a background check outside of the standard criminal records search usually want to validate and verify the applicant’s education and job experience. This is achieved by reaching out to the employers and educational institutions associated with the applicant to acquire verification of a degree, employment dates, and position held.
This process requires engaging the previous employer or institution and providing information including the applicant disclosure form. Once the employer receives the request for Verification of Employment (VOE), they will then release employment information. Background screening companies must constantly follow up with the verifiers to ensure completion of the verification in a timely manner. If the employer or educational facility is unresponsive or delayed in their response, this will delay the completion of the background screening report.
3. Validation of Public Records
Since background screening companies have a duty to ensure maximum possible accuracy with the most current information from public record sources, additional research may potentially be needed if adverse records are received. Criminal records for example are held by a full name and a date of birth (DOB) match. Records should not be reported if there is not a name and DOB match.
It is possible to have more than one person with the same name and date of birth, especially in more heavily populated counties. If this is the case, the background screening company must locate a third identifier in order to report the results. The third identifier is usually an address or driver’s license number. This research may involve reviewing the actual case file, which must be requested from the county courthouse of record. The process of ordering the case file and reviewing for additional identifiers could lead to delayed background checks and postponement of the completion for the background report.
4. Required Searches (Live Scan and Fingerprint)
Employers in certain industries such as education, financial, home, and healthcare are regulated by both state and federal guidelines. Those requirements include a fingerprint-based background check of the FBI database and in some cases, the Department of Justice.
These records go all the way back to when the applicant initially became a legal adult, and include non-conviction information such as arrest records, dismissed records, etc. The completion of these fingerprint reports could take upwards of 2 – 3 weeks.