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I have recently accepted an offer for employment from a company. I've signed the initial agreement that stipulates time in the office as well as salary. Unfortunately, it has been over 3 weeks (almost 4) since I've sent these documents in and we still haven't even begun to discuss a start date because of a queue holdup with the company doing the background check. The company insists that the process never takes this long. Could this be an indication that they don't want to hire me? Should I start looking for another job?

  • If they outright didn't want to hire you I can't think of a reason to tell you there was just some delay around background checks. It's their prerogative to just tell you they don't want to hire you, they don't need to make up any reason. It is possible that they're holding out for someone else and they're keeping you in a holding pattern as a backup option if their first choice doesn't come through. For that reason alone I'd still be looking for roles even while you're waiting. – delinear Nov 5 '18 at 14:07
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Many things can complicate a background check. If the background check is being done by a third party they have predefined levels of thoroughness depending on what the company has required (and paid for). Generally most background checks will verify a simple check for the past 5 years of employment history, education and possibly a criminal background check. The biggest bottlenecks come from the government agencies (ie police) and universities. which depending on area and their local procedures can very easily take weeks to process. If you have ever worked/lived/studied overseas you can expect an even longer delay depending on how thorough they want to be.

3 to 4 weeks is probably not that unusual for a run of the mill thorough check.

See if you can find out if they are using a third party like HireRight who will give more information about what to expect.

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