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It's been 2 weeks since I provided contacts for background check and as far as I know, no one has been contacted yet. I asked the recruiter if I can help out by providing more information if necessary as well as asking what I can prepare in advance for the next steps. Did I make a mistake?

If it matters: the recruiter is from a local recruitment firm; the company hired the firm to do the background check.

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Is it acceptable to offer assistance for background check?

No, and there's no need to unless they contact you for more information You don't want to make it appear that you're trying to interfere with their process in any way.

Background checks come in all shapes and sizes. Some are very superficial, some start tracking down old acquaintances and go back years. It could be that the company hired to run the background check won't even try to reach your contacts or it could be that they haven't started that part of the process yet. There's no way for you to know and asking about it risks coming across weirdly.

Assume they have all the information they need for the background check and let it go. They'll contact you if they need more information. If you're concerned that you haven't received an update from the hiring manager or HR in a while, you can consider emailing them to request an update.

As for how to check on an application, since it doesn't seem like we have any relevant questions with useful answers, have a look at these articles:

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    I agree, don't get involved, nothing positive accrues from doing so – Kilisi Nov 9 '15 at 9:10
  • This is the time I say "ah ****". What do you guys think about --- "do you want me to provide more info for the background check? also let me know what I can prepare in advance for the next steps" --- ? Thats not too bad, is it? – Kevin D. Nov 9 '15 at 9:19
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    @KevinD. It sounds like you've made up your mind to do it, and are arguing against the recommendations not to. It's your choice, but as a hiring manager I would politely decline your offer and do things in the time frame I had already planned. – Jane S Nov 9 '15 at 10:41
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    @KevinD. To that question, the answer is "no, there is no reason unless you are asked to." Background checks are intended as a way of getting an independent confirmation that you can do what you say you can. As a governance concern, I would want to make sure that I stay out of that process so that the hiring company can come to that conclusion on their own. – Jane S Nov 9 '15 at 10:56
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    @KevinD. If you want to follow up, do it in a generic way using the linked suggestions. Pretend like the background check is some strange foreign ritual and just let them do it their way. – Brandin Nov 9 '15 at 12:22
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Generally speaking a background check will compose, at the very least, checking your school credentials, employment history, check criminal records, and check credit history. With that said, if it is taking 2 weeks then they are probably backed up or having trouble contacting someone in your history (ex. a workplace that has since closed). Of course it depends on the industry you're getting into but it sounds like a normal job at the office.

In all though it sounds very weird to me that you're involved in your own background check. Maybe I'm misunderstanding your question but generally speaking a company does its own background checks on employees and at most takes one or two days to complete. You fill out a form and they - your company - sends it to their checking agency and wait back. You might have to go to a lab somewhere for a drug test. However I never heard of having to physically go to a different location to get a background check. And you going get your own background checked by a recruiter sounds very odd and I doubt any company accept it. Hopefully you didn't give the recruiter your SSN or any private information. It could be a scam.

  • the company is in a different country and hired a local staffing firm to facilitate all necessary processes (venue for on-site interview, processing of VISA, background heck, medical checkups etc2) – Kevin D. Nov 19 '15 at 9:39
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They probably just blew off your offer for help, no harm. They have their processes, however awful they are.

What you can do (US List, other countries may have other relevant docs):

  1. Gather your W2 or paystubs for every job you have had for the last 7 years.
  2. Gather and be prepared to provide all your addresses for the last 7 years.
  3. Gather your tax returns if you were self employed for the last 7 years.

These are all things I was asked to provide for my last background check. Having all that handy is very beneficial if/when they ask. Don't bug them with these though, wait for them to ask for them. But sometimes these can be hard to find on short notice. In the US you can also go to a local IRS office and pull these records, unless the online system is back online.

That said, my last background check was far more thorough than any I have seen before, including government ones. Apparently fraud during background investigations is on the rise. This may be one reason they have not contacted people you provided, they want to try their own independent routes first.

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