Why Background Checks Take So Long?

Why Background Checks Take So Long?

When looking for a new background screening provider, clients often wonder why these checks can take a considerable amount of time to complete. Understanding this process is crucial for those who need a comprehensive, fast, affordable, and legally compliant service. Let’s explore the reasons behind the duration of background checks.

The Process and Timelines

Background checks involve several stages, each contributing to the total turnaround time (TAT). Here’s a brief outline:

  1. Initiating the Check: After obtaining consent, the employer or screening agency begins the process.
  2. Gathering Information: Collecting detailed personal and professional information of the candidate.
  3. Conducting Investigations: Varying levels of checks (criminal records, credit history, education, employment) are performed.
  4. Analysis and Reporting: The data collected is analyzed, and a comprehensive report is prepared.

Typically, the average TAT for most background checks is 24-48 hours. However, several factors can extend this timeline significantly​​​​.

Factors Contributing to Delays

  1. Court Accessibility: Courts with direct electronic access provide quicker results. However, manual courts, where files must be pulled and searched by clerks, take longer. These courts can sometimes be closed for days or even weeks due to various reasons like COVID-19, leading to significant delays and backlogs​​.
  2. Depth of Background Check: The level of detail required (e.g., 10-year, 7-year criminal history) affects TAT. It depends on the candidate’s history – where they have lived, worked, or studied, including international locations, which can take weeks to process. Sometimes, additional documents are needed to validate findings, especially to comply with FCRA or state laws​​​​.

Choosing the Right Screening Partner

While it’s true that comprehensive background checks can take time, partnering with an experienced and technologically equipped consumer reporting agency like EDIFY Background Screening can significantly streamline the process. With EDIFY, you get:

  • Efficient and Accurate Services: Leveraging advanced technology and expertise to ensure fast and precise background checks.
  • Compliance with Legal Standards: Ensuring all checks meet FCRA and local/state law requirements.
  • Customizable Solutions: Tailoring services to meet specific needs, ensuring you don’t pay for unnecessary checks.
  • Timely Updates and Support: Proactively communicating any potential delays and providing regular updates.


Understanding the complexities involved in background checks is key for businesses seeking a new screening provider. While there are inherent challenges that can extend the TAT, choosing a qualified agency like EDIFY Background Screening ensures you receive efficient, affordable, and legally compliant background investigations. Their experience and technology are pivotal in minimizing delays, maintaining accuracy, and supporting your organizational needs.

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