First Advantage has gained a reputation as a simple one-stop provider of several types of background checks. Moreover, one of First Advantage’s main selling points is its speed and accuracy.
But are First Advantage’s background checks really among the fastest in the industry as they claim? Especially when they search for several points such as criminal history, social media, and drug testing.
Of course, there’s no short answer to this question since First Advantage provides several types of background checks, each with its methods and parameters to check. And even then, it’ll still depend on external factors like how long the person’s record is, urgency, what the company asks for, and many others.
Regardless, First Advantage’s background checks are very standardized, and we’re here to dissect them and give you an estimate of how long they take.
At a Glance
There isn’t a specific answer to how long First Advantage’s background checks take since they offer several types of checks. And besides the fact that each could differ from the rest, there are factors like the applicant, their background, the contract your company has with First Advantage, the urgency of the check, and more.
And that’s not even accounting for unexpected delays, which could happen due to incomplete or inaccurate information, court or institutional delays, delays from third parties like the applicant or contracted company, and more.
Nonetheless, First Advantage should generally be able to provide some results within a few days. On the other hand, complete reports for most applicants can take about a week or two.
What Is First Advantage?
First Advantage is a background screening company that focuses on large-scale operations for corporations that typically need to conduct many background checks. In other words, they cater to bigger businesses instead of focusing on individual or small business background checks like most screening companies do.
First Advantage has an extensive global reach, not just in the US. They also have offices in Canada, England, Europe, China, India, the UAE, and more.
Overall, First Advantage’s 30 offices across 17 countries handle more than 18 million applicants annually. In the US alone, they conduct more than 40 million checks on 12 million people annually.
And one of First Advantage’s benefits is that they offer a wide array of background checks for various industries, from healthcare to hospitality and restaurants to manufacturing and IT and more.
Factors That Determine How Long the Background Check Takes
We can’t give you a definitive answer on all background checks that First Advantage provides since it’s very variant. So instead, we’ll list the main factors that determine how long these checks should take.
What the Hiring Company Wants
Each company agrees with First Advantage on which parameters they want to check. For example, some companies might want to check for education, criminal record, and financial record, while others might want an employment history and commercial records.
As you might expect, the more parameters the hiring company asks for, the longer the background check will take. After all, First Advantage will have to go around each source to verify the applicant’s information.
The Source of Information
Speaking of the source, each institute could play a role in how long the background check takes.
For example, if you request your applicant’s education background, First Advantage will contact the institutions your applicant attended. At this point, it’s all in the hands of these institutions since First Advantage can only wait for their response.
Former employers can also take a while to reply when you’re checking for the applicant’s employment history.
Depending on where you are, courthouses are also infamously slow sometimes. But that usually happens in big cities where courts have a huge database with hundreds of thousands or even millions of records and cases.
The applicant’s background is another significant factor. For instance, if the hiring company wants to check for the applicant’s background history, it’ll take significantly longer for someone with several pages of previous offenses than someone with a couple of traffic infractions.
In most cases, background checks shouldn’t take more than a week or two.
Naturally, any business delivers faster results on a slack day than on a busy and crammed workday. And the same applies to First Advantage.
First Advantage offers you to pay more to process urgent background checks. However, even when you pay the urgency package, the workload will still affect your turnaround time. And it’s only fair to work on a “first come, first serve” basis.
How Long Are the Background Checks?
As we mentioned earlier, First Advantage has several types of background checks. In this part, we’ll only look at the most common parameters that hiring companies ask for.
Criminal past is probably the most common parameter that hiring companies check. Fortunately, First Advantage can deliver most checks in under a day, sometimes even as little as 12 hours. Regardless, criminal records are at the hands of the courts.
Instant drug tests can come back in just ten minutes, while lab-based tests can take as much as two days.
As for social media searches, First Advantage can finish them in just a day, but this also depends on the applicant’s social media presence.
What Can Cause a Delay in My Background Check?
Despite these general estimates, there can be unexpected delays in the screening process.
For example, if the applicant provided incorrect or incomplete data, First Advantage will likely only discover that when running that information. In these cases, they’ll get back to the hiring company, who should ask the applicant to correct the info.
Of course, the response speed of third parties like the hiring company, the applicant, and sources of information can also be inconsistent and unpredictable.
There are also holidays. If the hiring company asks for information about education or criminal past before the holiday season, they’re out of luck since schools and courts are closed on holidays.