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Why Background Checks Can Hold Up The Hiring Process

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A vital part of the employee hiring process is background checks. In fact, 60% of reviews are done during the hiring process, but there are other reasons for doing them to keep the business’s personnel and assets safe.

Did you know internal fraud, i.e. workers stealing from the company is on the rise? We’re not referring items missing from your supplies, i.e. pens, stablers, writing paper and so on but more important things like your products or embezzlement.

Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic is likely to see a rise in this type of crime so checking out your employees and prospective hires with thorough background checks must be a top priority for your business.

What will a background check reveal?

Background checks can reveal a lot of information about a candidate or employee, This intelligence is not what you can get directly from the candidate or employee.

Independent sources can share information on credit history if they have a criminal record or history of antisocial behaviour, particularly in the workplace.

As a hirer, your role is to keep your business safe from activities that may threaten the business in any way including its safety, financial wellbeing and data security.

Why do background checks take so long?

There are many reasons for the process to take longer than a couple of days including the form not completed accurately, lack of sources to contact to speed up the process, and how many sources to respond to your request for information.

Absence of Applicant’s Consent

Most countries have a privacy law, for example in Australia the Privacy Act 1988 regulates how the government and big organizations handle the private information of individuals.

Before conducting the background check, the job hunter must be informed of the process and also give their permission in writing.

If an employer applies for a national police check or other checks, including credit record without submitting the applicant’s authorization, the results of the check will not be released. Attempting to hurry the process through to avoid delays can often ensure the ordeal takes a lot longer than it needs to so always get the applicants permission ‘before’ approaching sources.

Incorrect/Incomplete applicant

When employers and candidates make mistakes or provide partial information during the background check data entry process, it may cause a delay.

Common types of mistakes include the wrong date of birth or the spelling of the job first and or last name of the job applicant. For example, a candidate might be known as Steve, but their legal first name is Stephen.

Running Steve through police check databases like a police record check may not produce the right match. The investigators are then required to reach out to the business for clarity on the spelling and any other anomalies on the application form.

Number of Checks

Some roles require more thorough background checking. For example, a senior management position will have applicants that have a long work history, and more checks will be needed.

Also, any role that includes access to sensitive data. Whereas a receptionist or office junior role will require less background checking as their access to sensitive information will be limited.

Expect some applicants’ background checks to take at least a couple of weeks when the checks include financial, criminal, education and work history as well as motor vehicle records, national security and the usual scanning of social media and personal reference checking.

Education and Employment Sources

Previous employers and educators are not obligated to get back to a screening professional in a timely fashion. If a college administrator or employer fails to return emails or calls, the background check process will be slowed. The same is true of other third parties where crucial information about the applicant will be sourced from.

The best employers can do is start the screening process as soon as possible to account for minor delays in the process.

Unforeseen Disruptions

Delays can also be caused by unanticipated disruptions. For example, weather events like hurricanes, flooding or fires, can limit access to some information sources. Such situations can make the courthouse inaccessible or cause internet access outages that make record-keeping systems unavailable. There’s usually little that can be done in such instances, other than wait until the services are restored to normal.


Most background checks are done during the hiring process. However, they can be useful for checking up on existing employees and workers should they be suspected of wrongdoing.

The more thorough the background checks during the hiring process, the less chance it will be required for an existing employee.

In saying this, we are living in unprecedented times, and if someone in your business is struggling to cope, they may resort to an unpredictable action of wrongdoing.

If you suspect someone within your organization is acting uncharacteristically take the necessary action to ensure, your staff and business are kept safe.

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