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How long do employer background checks take?

More and more employers, having been burnt by employees who falsified information on their resumes, are turning to background checks before making an offer to a potential employee. The checks are far more detailed then simply calling references. Employers can check education history, employment history, credit history, driving records and criminal history as part of a background check. Federal and state laws require background checks for some sensitive positions.


Before running a background check, federal law requires the employee be notified, and, depending on the state, sign a waiver allowing the potential employer to do the background check. Exemptions are allowed if a current employee is suspected of criminal activity. Most employers hire third parties to conduct the background checks.

How Long

Depending on how extensive the background check is, results can come back within a couple of days. If an employer is using a third party to do the research, depending on the employer's preferences for receiving the information, it can take a little longer. Extensive criminal background checks and high security clearance checks can take up to a month.