5 Major Reasons Why Staffing Background Checks Get Delayed

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slow justiceTime to hire is a critical metric that staffing agencies must take into consideration when choosing an employment screening provider.  Crimcheck.com has expertise in working with temporary agencies and PEO’s and can provide the kind of high volume, high accuracy background check that is needed for this industry.

Background checks are invaluable for staffing industry. This is because, given the nature of their business, staffing agencies cannot afford to provide their clients with unscreened employees. Conducting a thorough and accurate background check is essential to the staffing industry.

A specialized screening package for the staffing industry from Crimcheck will:

  • Protect your Brand
  • Protect your Clients
  • Provide a thorough, accurate background check

Fast turnaround is crucial. However,  sometimes, there are delays in background checks.  A typical background check with clear results from Crimcheck takes less than 24 hours. Anything beyond that is considered a delay. These delays can turn out to be extremely costly – especially in situations where recruitment needs to be carried out within a short time frame.

To reduce disruptions caused by background check delays, it is critical to understand the possible causes of these delays. Many of the causes can be eliminated through proper planning and preparation. The most common causes of background check delays are the following:

1. Incomplete Background Check Request Forms

The most common cause of delays is when staffing agencies submit incomplete or inaccurate background check request forms. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) stipulates strict guidelines which must be followed when requesting for background checks. Two key requirements include issuing a written disclosure to, and obtaining a signed authorization from the applicant.

Legally, employers are mandated to receive these signed authorizations before beginning to conduct the background check. In many cases, Crimcheck may have to utilize the signed authorization and if there is a delay in providing this form to us, it may cause delays.

A recent update withing the Crimcheck client portal allows our clients to upload the authorization form at the time that the order is placed, which can significantly reduce the time it takes to process the background check order.

2. Incomplete or Inaccurate Applicant Information

inaccurate-background-check-infoAnother common cause of delays is when staffing companies submit incomplete or inaccurate applicant information. When critical applicant details such as name, middle initial, date of birth and social security number are missing, it can be more difficult to trace the individual. This can cause additional delays to the background check order.

The reason for inaccuracies in applicant details can vary.  In some cases, the inaccuracy isn’t deliberate. For instance, the applicant may be called Steven. Common variants of the name include Stephen and Steve. If, for instance, the name provided is Steve instead of Steven, the investigator may have difficulty locating and verifying records – especially if the records exist under the name name variations. If possible, always provide the legal name, and then include additional nicknames in the alias fields of the order screen.

The bottom line is that when applicant information is incomplete, it makes the search more difficult. This forces the investigator to double-check every result in order to locate the accurate information, and inevitably leads to delays. The best thing staffing companies can do in this case is to ensure that they supply as much detail about applicants as possible.

3. Legal and Institutional Restrictions

At a basic level, background checks involve retrieving information from a variety of sources. Such sources are mostly housed in certain institutions, such as courts. In most cases, the courts place restrictions on the amount of time in which any information can be accessed.

Many county clerks of the court are working with low staff levels and backups of criminal history search requests. There can also be weather and disaster related court delays. Some courts have 7-10 day delays for any type of court search.

When background checking companies have to access information from institutions which have low staff levels or a buildup of search orders, this can lead to delays. This is true especially in situations where weather related situations have caused delays.

Besides institutions, some restrictions are legally based. There some jurisdictions which place restrictions on how soon certain public records can be accessed. For instance, in the State of Texas, getting a driving license report or state-wide criminal report takes a minimum of 48 hours.

In a nutshell, institutional and legal restrictions can limit how fast employment screening companies can access information. This can ultimately lead to delays in the background checking process.

4. Archaic Institutional Records

old-manThe nature of record keeping in the courts which contain criminal records information can have a direct impact on the speed of the background check. If the records are kept in an organized, state-of-the-art digitized system which offers computerized access, then retrieving the information can be completed quickly. However, if the records are stored in archaic, paper-based files, then accessing information is much slower.

The challenge is that some educational institutions, organizations and public institutions such as courts still use archaic methods of record keeping.  Vital information is often stored as paper files, which are then stored in archives which can be offsite.

When employment screening companies have limited access to information from such archaic records, it inevitably leads to delays. This type of information has to be manually searched for by individuals, usually the clerk of courts. In the end, accessing information which could have taken a few hours on a digitized system takes many days.

5. Unforeseen Disruptions

Sometimes, delays are caused by disruptions in the background checking process. An example is unfavorable weather phenomena like blizzards, storms or flooding which limits access to sources of information. Such incidents can make courthouses inaccessible or cause outages which render record-keeping systems inaccessible.

Other disruptions occur when persons who have critical information delay to respond to requests. For instance, if an employer or clerk fails to return phone calls, delays to reply emails or ignores correspondences requesting for info; the employment screening process can be severely slowed down.

In a nutshell, those are the 5 major reasons why background checks sometimes delay. Others include international challenges, poor timing of submissions (e.g. submitting background check requests overnight or on weekends) and contracting a poorly equipped employment screening company. The bottom line is that there are numerous causes of background check delays. However, some of them can be mitigated by proper planning. For those which are unavoidable, the only remedy is to hire a company such as Crimcheck who has technology in place to limit delays as much as possible, and communicate delays in a proactive manner.

This post was written by Brett McIntyre, at Crimcheck.