As globalization has become an integral part of the recruitment process, pre-employment background checks has become one of the significant factors in the entire selection and recruitment process. One may think that in this age of 4G internet and preservation of information through cloud storage and databases, these background checks would be ultra-quick, and they usually are.
However, even then, it may take up to 5 business days to perform all the necessary pre-employment checks required to comply with the federal employment laws.
Table Of Contents:
- How long does it take
- How far back does a background check go for employment?
- How does a background check verify employment?
- What does an employment background check show?
- But why?
- Anomalies and Deference
How long does it take to get a Pre-Employment Background Check?
Let us take a look at the different segments of how a background check is generally conducted.
EMPLOYMENT- The first and foremost is the employment check which takes the most extended duration amongst all the checks unless the candidate belongs to an overseas country from a different continent. If there is fresher working part-time jobs, the school records, education history, credit scores, and medical records would be checked and completed within 72 hours. However, if you have been in employment with a few different companies, it would take a while to verify all the academic and job credentials and the opinion of the former employers or current employer.
BIO-PRINT- This is equally important, especially in the case of international applicants. Within the national periphery, the employers carry out a fingerprint and facial recognition search on the Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System to match the application. Even a minor anomaly would result in the cancellation of the applicant. These background checks are helpful when hiring international employees, and many overseas countries contain their bio-identification system, and the employment services check in with the local authorities of the nations of the concerned applicants. In the USA, fingerprints are compulsory for all government-run institutions and agencies and academic employment. This checking process requires 2-3days.
FEDERAL- This background check is specifically essential for people aiming to get higher and more reputed positions in the company. For designations like financial head or deputy chairman sometimes, companies themselves hire an employment background check firm to verify all the previous records of the potential candidates even before those candidates have even applied. Federal checks generally include driving records, financial fraud, social media and internet scams, involvement with hedge funds, tax evasion, and many more. These checks are generally completed within 24hours unless required to be done manually.
CRIMINAL- This is the most vital eligibility criteria for most companies, and National Criminal Database usually provides all the information needed to do criminal background verification. Slowly, employers are becoming increasingly stricter against all sorts of racism and gender violence. So, even an attempted sex assault can result in permanent disbarment from future job opportunities. Some employment services would ask for a Social Security Number to verify any enclosed criminal history, including substance abuse. Within the national boundaries, it takes up to 3 days to conduct this background check, whereas, for a global employment program, it can take up to a month depending on the international relations and legal complexities.
GUN- the USA as a nation is becoming alert on the acquisition and possession of personal weapons. This check is the shortest and is completed within a matter of minutes. NICS or National Instant Criminal Background Check System allows the employers to access all data regarding the weapon they own, including license and seller/manufacturer information. When in a company's employment, you may require permission to own a gun from the HR head.
How far back does a background check go for employment?
There are 3 How is and 1 What when it comes to pre-employment background checks, and one of the critical questions that the employees ask themselves is how far back do the companies go to do these background checks.
It all depends on the companies that are hiring or on the candidate's records, on which the recruitment is being processed, and can even depend on the recruitment services being engaged by those companies. In general, criminal and several federal records are checked back to 20-25 years. If the person doing the verification check finds something odd then, this check may roll further backward.
In some cases, the unavailability of relevant data may restrict these searches for a limited number of years, mainly for an international recruit. There are several segments where the search needs to be performed manually, and in some instances, these data may have been lost or misplaced thereby, making any verification a distant possibility. For manual labor posts, the verifications are generally conducted up to 5-10 years maximum with minimal or no check into the credit records, but the lack of interest is also reflected in the monthly wages. A credit check is not usually performed for a fresher unless the recruiter possesses any specific reason for doing so. Social media and other personal details are checked only based on the recent past, but exceptions are made in any significant incident or post or when a public figure or high profile is involved or hired.
How does a background check verify employment?
As mentioned above, employment background checks are done through different national and international, federal databases. Though the methods are similar, the verification modes are different depending on the size of the companies and the employers' pockets. Usually, large and reputable companies have contracts with designated employment verification agencies who complete these background verifications on their behalf of them. However, often this involves a large amount of money, mainly if this includes credit histories and information of bankruptcies. For a detailed peek into social media presence, the verification package turns quite expensive. A small or medium company owner cannot afford the services of these agencies, and thus, they usually conduct the background checks themselves.
As most national databases are available online and are under government jurisdiction, small business owners can search. However, academic verifications especially, vocational training, may require an extended response time. A university or college responds much quicker to a reputable company or professional verification services than medium-scale business personnel. In the case of an international hire, it is necessary to engage the help of professional service to get hold of the required verification access of the potential candidates.
A candidate can himself/herself get their data verified by a professional service to assess the realistic probability of getting hired by a company. As an alternative, the candidate can search himself/herself up on the different national databases if he/she has been in brush with the legal authorities over some minor issues.
What does an employment background check show?
An employment background check delves into your lifestyle, the wrong choices you have made, social media preferences, earnings and spending, academic grades, etc. In other words, a pre-employment check consists of all the possible official and visible records available that define and document an individual's past and present. Background verification is a severe issue and should not be taken lightly under any circumstances. Employees with years of outstanding work records have been known to face employment rejection over a minor issue in their background check. One must have a thorough understanding of these essential checklists.
In general, for a lower to the medium designation, identity verifications, a track record of applicant's academic qualification, employment history, criminal records, driving license, and related history are checked. For higher positions, personal opinions, social media representation on personal and personal profiles, credit and debit records, information involving financial assets and personal properties are checked with a fine-tooth comb.
Many candidates may feel that launching a search into their personal and financial histories is unnecessary for providing an employment opportunity; checking social media profiles is an exceedingly over-the-board approach, and it has nothing to do with employment eligibility. Contrary to popular belief, a wrong hire choice can result in a lawsuit that can cost a reputed company millions of dollars. Every year thousands of companies in the USA face legal issues related to their employees, and these altercations, if they lead to the involvement of the federal department, can result in depreciation of brand value. It can even mean a fall in product demand and B2B (business to business) relations for small-scale or medium industries. Moreover, hiring an employee without a detailed background check reflects upon the hiring agencies or the companies directly.
In America, employers bear the obligation of professional conduct of the employees mainly if it encompasses fraudulent activities, workplace violence, and sexual misconduct. Knowingly hiring a sex offender who repeats the same offense in the present workplace can lead to heavy legal penalties. The candidates should also remember that an extensive background check indicates a transparent hiring process and a sign of a non-fraudulent company or employment agency.
Anomalies and Deference
Often a candidate finds that background checks are taking longer than usual, and he/she automatically believes that the companies have indirectly rejected his/her application. However, it may not always be so! In some cases, delays are caused in the verification process, and under this circumstance, the companies keep the applications on hold but do not necessarily reject them. Now, you may think about the exact reasons behind these delays, and the reasons are as follows.
INCOMPLETION- In most cases, the actual forms, whether online or physical, are either not correctly filled or have the issue of missing information. You must remember that the recruitment company is processing hundreds of documents every day as a part of the verification process, and those who do not fill up their forms properly automatically become the last step of the selection process. However, if any piece of misinformation is deemed as a deliberate choice, that application would indeed be canceled.
DISCREPANCIES- In some instances, anomalies in names and addresses may arise like for example, your driver's license may contain your maiden name and address, and the passport contains your post-marriage name and address. While discrepancies like these do clear up with a little more effort and a certain level of inquiry, they do cost time.
MANUAL CHECK- As stated earlier, manual checks are tedious and time-consuming. Any data pre-dating the cloud computing and ample data storage requires an extensive hand check, and they require much time thereby, delaying the verification process. In some instances, the manual data and reports are misplaced, and finding these types of records can often lead to indirect application rejection, mainly if the post is from the lower designation category.
DEFERRED RESPONSES- Sometimes, the former employers or academic institutions respond at a languid pace, primarily if the recruiter is not someone significant. Responses from large companies to small ones regarding verification can also take some time because of the snobbish rub-off from the bigger brother. Institutions that possess no separate personnel for responding to these kinds of verification checks will also give a deferred reply.
INTERNATIONAL POLICIES- As well-known by all the employees and the employers, anything overseas takes an extended duration, primarily if it consists of verifications. The international laws and regulations for trade and employment are different in different countries, and a verification that may seem to be justified and significant on American soil might be insignificant in other countries. In these situations, a very long mail chain continues till both parties are satisfied. Also, in many nations, there is no bio-recognition system mainly, the fingerprint. In such conditions, the companies will try to delve into other verification methods, which might take a lot longer than the general anticipation.
Thus, as it can be seen that most of the background checks are straightforward and fast enough, deference can occur in exceptional circumstances that have nothing to do with the rejection of an applicant. However, if you feel that the turnaround time for a response from your potential employer is a lot more than you expected, you can always enquire about it directly. Moreover, under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, the employer is bound to provide an explanation for the rejection of any application or the reason behind their non-selection.