How Long Does a Background Check Take?

Posted on 06.03.2020

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How long does a background check take?

The answer can depend on many factors, including:

  • What type of background check you are looking for
  • Whether you have all the information needed
  • Where you get the background check from

Let’s explore each variable.

What Type of Background Check Are You Looking For?

There are several types of background checks that consumers or employers might consider, including police record checks (also known as a criminal background check).

However, they also include pre-employment and tenant screening services, including:

  • Credit check verifications
  • Reference checks
  • Education history verification
  • Employment verifications
  • And Driver’s abstracts

The background check you require can determine how long it takes.

Do you have all the necessary information?

One of the biggest causes of background check delays is not having all of the information.

Taking the example of a police record check, most checks require:

  • Your full name
  • Your birth date and details
  • Your full contact information
  • Addresses for the past five years
  • Whether you have ever been convicted of a criminal offence

If you do not have this information upfront, the check can be delayed until you do.

Employers running pre-employment screenings are often required to have consent forms with signatures and photocopies of identification. If these are not available, then the background check could be delayed until they are available.

This is one reason why having a formal method and making background checks a standard part of the recruitment process can save companies time.

Where are you getting your background check from?

This is one of the biggest factors in how long a background check will take — the source of the check.

Background check turnaround times can vary widely from provider to provider, and whether the checks are happening in-person or online.

1. In-Person vs. Online Background Checks

A police record check used to go like this: a person would go to their local police station, fill out a form, and then wait for results. The results would often take days, or even weeks, to be returned.

In comparison, online criminal background checks are much faster. For instance, at Triton, our online police background checks are returned within an hour — and often sooner!

They also enable Canadians to get needed background checks without leaving their house, which is essential while physical distancing.

2. In-House vs. Background Check Providers

Sometimes employers will run background checks in-house, which can often take more time than working with a trusted provider.

This delay can be due to many factors — other responsibilities taking up resources, incomplete information, more time to figure out the process (reinventing the wheel) each time, and so on.

To save time, businesses can work with background check providers that have state-of-the-art systems set up for speedy background checks.

3. Comparing Background Check Providers

The turnaround time for background checks can also vary by provider — even when they are done online.

If you are considering a provider, ask them about their average time for results.

We can only speak to our average turnaround times at Triton Canada. They are:

Criminal History Check: 7 minutes

Credit Check: 4 hours

Reference Checks: 1 – 2 business days

Education Verification: 1 – 2 business days

Employment Verification: 1 – 2 business days

We hope that answered any questions you have about how long a background check takes.

If you still have more questions or would like to access our background check solutions, please get in touch. Call 1-844-874-8667 or visit