The good news is that the US economy seems to be roaring back from the pandemic doldrums and it seems like everyone is hiring—and running background checks on those new hires.
The background check supply chain is under a lot of stress right now and that is causing unprecedented delays in completing reports.
The court clerks are really busy.
Many courts are just now resuming jury trials and other public-facing transactions and their workload and traffic is really high.
Background check research is always their lowest priority.
Because of the current demand for access to their records (most of which are still not reliably available over the internet), some court clerks have limited the number of searches a researcher can conduct each day.
Others have placed limits on access to their public computer terminals.
And if the researcher has to pull a file or request the clerk do any sort of research to clarify information in the computer, it is taking even longer than usual to get a response.
On top of that, many courts around the country—especially in California—are removing dates of birth and other identifiers from their public-access computer systems. This means that searching a common name (e.g., John Smith or Jose Gonzales) may result in dozens of possible criminal records without any way of immediately knowing whether the defendant is your applicant or just someone with the same name. To figure that out, our researcher has to fill out forms or otherwise negotiate with the court clerk to receive that information.
The local researchers are getting clobbered.
Our local researcher providers (the folks who conduct research in each county courthouse for us) are several days behind in many jurisdictions simply due to volume and staffing issues.
They’re getting more requests from background screening companies like us than ever.
They laid people off during the Covid slump and now they’re scrambling to hire and train new people.
This is even more pronounced on our researcher providers, for whom we have very high quality standards. It just takes a lot longer for them to hire and train conscientious researchers.
And we’re drinking from a fire hose.
We’re slammed, too.
We’ve hired new employees and they’re getting up to speed but during the training process, they sometimes slow us down more than they help us.
We’re working a ton of overtime, including the upcoming holiday weekend, to get reports out the door—correctly.
If you’ve experienced unusual delays in getting your reports, I understand that you’re frustrated.
I am, too.
And I’m sorry for these delays.
We’re doing everything we can think of to expedite reports without cutting corners and creating risk for you.
I’m also doing my best to take care of my team. They are working crazy hard to serve our clients and I’m proud of them.
To avoid some of these delays, you might consider starting the background check process earlier or making offers contingent on an acceptable background check. I’d be glad to talk to you about how best to approach this in your situation.
I appreciate the faith you’ve shown in us in the past and just ask for a bit more of it as we work through this.
Thanks again for your trust.