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Why Do Some Background Checks
Take Longer Than I Expect?

By Glenn and Rose Maree Hammer

Why some background checks take longer than expected
The most common reason for Background Check delay is carelessness in filling out and providing to A Matter of Fact the correct background check request and/or applicant information. This often requires our staff to hold the order while we obtain the required forms and/or obtain additional information or clarification. Such carelessness may also require the running of additional searches.

The next most common Background Check delay occurs when obtaining information from record repositories. Record holders maintain and release data in a variety of ways. While many records are computerized, many others are maintained on microfiche, microfilm, and paper. Our researchers gather data directly where possible, but some requests for information must be made by mail, fax or voice mail, requiring that we wait for the record source to gather and release the data "at their own pace." Some organizations close for extended periods of time during holidays or between school terms, again slowing the research process.

Many record sources only provide our researchers with a name index to identify potential data. Each name variation (for example, Bill and William) may be located in a different part of the index and must be searched separately. If an applicant has a common name, the researcher may find many records that need to be reviewed for identification.

Finally, once the data has been identified, the information must be properly compiled into a report for the employer based upon the various (and differing) state and federal laws, which determine the information that can be reported.

The Authors: Glenn and Rose Maree Hammer, founders of A Matter of Fact, a California-based employment background check firm. www.amof.info

For more Background Check Frequently Asked Questions, see Background Check FAQ.

Note: This information is for educational purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for professional legal advice.