Background checks often include county criminal records searches. As a result of the COVID pandemic, expected return times on county records during the screening process grew much longer. The news reporting delays in background checks and hiring in Cook County of Chicago shed light on similar counties affected by not only the pandemic, but other factors as well.
Three of the most prominent reasons for delays in your background check’s county criminal records searches are the lack of workforce, reports that don’t produce instant search results, and the legal procedures set by county or state laws.
The nationwide furloughs and layoffs caused by the 2020 pandemic still affect employees and employers on many levels. The standards changed in terms of the number of staff, workloads, and consumer demands needed for businesses to operate successfully.
While some industries recovered quickly, others continued to struggle recovering their original number of employees despite the growing demands. This issue is especially prevalent among county and government jobs. Many counties and courts find themselves understaffed, but potential candidates need county criminal checks run on them in order to become staff that can perform that check.
A conundrum such as this creates a ripple effect on employers from other sectors running background checks on their candidates. County criminal records searches that previously returned within days can now take as long as six weeks. Without a complete criminal background check, employers are kept waiting, unable to make official offers.
2. Records Not Immediately Accessible
In addition to the workforce shortage, not all county criminal records can receive immediate access. The manner of storing documentation for criminal records impacts the turnaround time for background checks.
In today’s digitalized world, almost all information is instantly accessible online. Many courts across the United States transitioned to digitized systems in recent years. This allows criminal records searches with quick and easy results. Unfortunately, more archaic methods such as keeping paper-based archives still exist. This delays your background screening results because the files must be physically accessed in institutions that are potentially under-staffed as well.
3. Processes and Procedures
Another, often overlooked, reason your background check could be delayed is due to counties with more extensive procedures to acquire records. There is no federal standard or national, centralized database for county criminal records. This means that different states set different legal processes for who can access information and how it can be accessed.
Depending on the county where the records are being searched, some results are at the mercy of how strictly institutions restrict information accessibility. Longer processes and varying approval methods can easily delay your background check results further.
Lasting Impacts: What Does This Mean for You?
Such delays in background checks are causing a shortage of workers in nearly every industry. Since employers are unable to make offers to candidates without a complete criminal record check, your business runs the risk of suffering negative impacts.
Alliance 2020 can return expedited results in Washington counties as well as other states. Our methods of data retrieval are among the fastest in the U.S. Unlike most background screening vendors, we log in directly to the centralized court docket in Washington State, therefore bypassing any delays. However, some circumstances are beyond reasonable control. Fortunately, Alliance 2020’s court researchers dedicate themselves to providing you with reliable and up-to-date information while also seeking opportunities to reduce delays.
Learn more about our employment screening services, or contact us with questions about what we can do to help you improve your background check turnaround times.