background check questions

5 Frequently Asked Background Check Questions Answered

Here at PeopleG2, we field a lot of background check questions. For anyone outside the employee screening industry, our process seems cloaked in mystery.

What happens after you submit a background check order? How do we gather our information, and how do you know if it’s current and accurate? What is your responsibility as an employer? How long is all of this going to take?

To save you a little time and research, we’ve gathered the five most common background check questions right here. These answers should give you a clearer sense of the pre-employment screening process overall.

How Long Should I Expect a Background Check to Take?

Many different factors contribute to the turnaround time for a background check. These include:

  • Where your candidate lives
  • The extent of the screening and research requested
  • Whether the applicant has supplied all the information needed to complete the background check

In most cases, it takes 3-5 business days to complete a background check. Just be aware that this turnaround time cannot be guaranteed.

“How long does it take?” is probably the most asked of all our frequently asked background check questions. We understand. There is often a sense of urgency when hiring, whether you need to fill a position quickly or just want to hang on to a great prospect.

While we can’t always control the speed at which we get results, we can help you accelerate other areas of the screening process.

Consider ATS integration so you can order thousands of background checks in a few clicks. Or use Swifthire mobile background checks to make it easy for candidates to initiate screening immediately . . . no paperwork necessary.

This Background Check Has Already Taken Longer Than Projected. What’s Going On?

There may be several reasons for a delay in turnaround.

One common explanation is that we are still waiting for additional information from the candidate. Depending on the nature of the screening, we may have requested documentation such as a driver’s license or social security card. We cannot move forward until the applicant responds.

It is also possible that we are waiting on a county search. Each county is different. Some are well-funded and well-staffed with speedy electronic equipment. In such cases, we see a fairly quick turnaround.

Other counties are burdened with old technology and a serious backlog of search requests. In these cases, it can take as long as three weeks or even longer to receive a criminal record.

We wish we could rush these results for you, but we’re at the mercy of the county. We also cannot bypass this step. If we’re waiting on a county search, it’s because we are obligated to verify your candidate’s records at the county level.

What is Credentialing and Why Do I Have to Do It?

This is probably among our top five background check questions because it is admittedly confusing. You came to us for help learning about your potential hires. So why are we asking for your background information?

Credentialing is a step we are required to take for the protection of your candidates. Reports such as criminal records, driving records, and credit reports should be respected as private information.

This means we have to confirm that you are in the proper position to request such information.

More to the point, credentialing is how we ensure our own compliance with state laws and the FCRA. Fortunately, it’s a fairly simple process. We only need to collect some information from you, then you can order all the background checks you need.

I Have Background Check Questions Regarding Independent Contractors. What Does the FCRA Say About Screening Self-Employed Candidates?

We wish we could offer a clear and simple answer on this one. Traditional wisdom suggests that the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) treats employees, independent contractors, and volunteers the same in terms of screening guidelines.

More recently, however, some courts have ruled that employers are not held to the same compliance standards for contractors as they are for employees.

Many employers still use the same guidelines for all classifications just to play it safe. But now there is growing concern that screening contractors like employees creates evidence of misclassification—a growing concern for employers.

At a time when FCRA guidelines, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission guidelines, and local laws are constantly shifting, we hesitate to give a direct answer.

However, we are here for all your background check questions, including this one. Reach out anytime or request a free compliance evaluation.

What Do You Do if Something Comes up on the National Criminal Database?

A National Criminal Database search is incredibly broad. We query more than 30 million records to make sure we don’t miss any possible offenses. But if we get a hit, we don’t necessarily report it immediately. Often, there is a little more work to do.

In the majority of cases, the records we receive from the National Database are missing some essential information. They may not include important identifying information. The records may not communicate a clear account of what happened or what the end result was.

This means we have to find more information to ensure the report is actually valuable to you. If you’re excited about a candidate, you probably want to know if their case was dismissed.

When we get a hit from the National Criminal Database, we request a record of the incident from the county courthouse involved. This provides a clearer picture of the overall issue.

We also reach out to the applicant with a notice stating what we have found. This gives the candidate an opportunity to correct any misinformation or contact you with clarifications.

Once we deliver the full criminal report, you can decide whether the applicant’s record has any bearing on your hiring decisions. If you choose not to hire that person based on their criminal history, you are legally required to send an adverse action notice. (We help with this, too.)

Do You Have Any Other Background Check Questions?

Whatever is on your mind, we’re here to help. Reach out anytime with your background check questions, and our team will be happy to provide some clarity.

If you are interested to learn more about how our background screening services can help you hire faster, book a demo!