By Mike Wiley


In our last article, we revealed four strategies to achieve faster pre-employment background checks. We weren’t surprised at all at the attention the article received.

We know from speaking with frustrated employers in nearly every industry that turnaround time is always a top concern when it comes to background screening. You can’t afford to wait a day longer than is absolutely necessary to get your new people on board.

So, consider this article a sequel to that last one (and go back and read that piece, if you haven’t already). Except this time, now that we’ve covered the most obvious strategies for boosting turnaround time, we’re going to get down into the weeds a little bit.

Here are our five best pro-tips for improving background check turnaround time at your organization:

1. Ask JobCandidates If They Have Ever Worked for Temp Agencies

Job applicants don’t always list temp agencies on their resumes. Instead, they list their assignments. For example, if a temp agency sent them to work in a bank, they would list that bank as their employer.

This can make it difficult for background screening firms to verify employment. The temp agencies are typically the ones with the employment records, not their clients.

To avoid unnecessary delays and confusion in the background screening process, be sure to ask your job candidates to list their direct employers in their employment histories.

2. Stay Out of the Way

Background screening is like anything else in business; the more people involved, the longer it takes. It’s simply a matter of efficiency.

If your background check provider has to go through you every time they need information from your applicants, and vice-versa, communication can slow to a crawl. Unfortunately, the bottleneck is you.

We encourage our customers to put us in direct contact with job applicants. Usually, the candidates prefer it this way, as well. They appreciate getting their questions answered quickly by the background screener, and they like being able to get started at their new job faster.

3. Be Transparent When You Need a Rush Job

Let’s say it’s Thursday, and you know a background check typically takes four business days, but you really need a candidate to start work Monday. Don’t just hope for a miracle. Tell your background check provider how much you would appreciate their speeding things along this one time.

You never know when a provider might be able to move a candidate to the top of the pile for you to accommodate a special request. This happens more often when you have long-standing customer relationships with your vendors.

4. Include Your Provider as a Strategic Partner in Your Hiring Process

The relationship between employer and background screening firm can go well beyond client-vendor.

The best background screening providers are experts in their field, with decades of experience handling the most complex background screening scenarios. If there are inefficiencies or gaps in your process for running background checks, a high-quality provider can help you locate the problems and iron them out.

If you feel your background screening turnaround time is too slow, set up a meeting with your provider.

Come prepared to discuss your process and to ask questions about theirs. If your vendor knows their stuff, they will work with you to create a bespoke background screening package highly focused on your organization’s specific needs and goals.

5. Prioritize Exemplary Customer Service in Your Choice of Background Check Provider

The customer service team is your main point of contact with your background check provider. When time is of the essence, you want a responsive customer service team that is excellent at communicating, knowledgeable enough to answer your questions, and empowered to help you solve your problems.

  • How can you be sure your provider’s customer service team is up to the task? Ask these questions:
  • Does your customer service team operate domestically?
  • Is there a clear policy for follow-up?
  • Will the customer service reps communicate directly and transparently with job candidates?
  • Do the customer service reps understand the provision of the Fair Credit Reporting Act? (This is an important question to ask to avoid being steered astray by wrong information.)
  • Is there a clear escalation process for resolving problems?

A Complete Guide to Getting Faster Background Checks

So now you’ve learned the basic strategies for improving the turnaround time of your background checks, and you’ve mastered the pro-level secrets. Where do you go from here?

Bring it all together with our free comprehensive guide, “Improving Turnaround Times on Background Checks: Challenges, Opportunities, and Expert Advice.” Click below to download your copy.