How Long Do Background Checks Last: Validity & Expiration

November 10, 2021
Checkr Editor

Editor’s note: Nothing in Checkr’s Blog should be construed as legal advice, guidance, or counsel. Companies should consult their own legal counsel about their compliance responsibilities under the FCRA and applicable state and local laws. Checkr expressly disclaims any warranties or responsibility or damages associated with or arising out of information provided.

If you’re part of the hiring process for your organization, you’re familiar with conducting a background check to secure talent. But do you need to continuously rescreen tenured employees? Or perhaps you offer seasonal positions, such as annual events or summer camps. Do you need to run a background check every year? Naturally, you’d like to avoid repeatedly screening trusted employees, so how long do background checks last? Let’s look at what a background check entails and how frequently you should rescreen employees.

What does a background check involve?

A background check looks into a candidate's history based on criteria selected by a potential or present employer. An investigation into a candidate's background will typically include:

Each class of background check will disclose information specific to that category and carry its own criteria for validity. Background checks should be tailored to the company and position the candidate is being screened for. The candidate should be informed of the background check and will need to provide written consent. To understand what particular searches are being requested, candidates should seek clarity from their employer.

What is the purpose of a background check?

During the recruiting process, most companies pre-screen potential employees. Conducting pre-employment background checks allows organizations to confirm information regarding a candidate’s application. However, background checks are also performed during an employee’s tenure to confirm requirements continue to be met. Some industries have requirements for continued employment, such as a clean driving record for delivery drivers.

How often do employers do background checks?

So, when do background checks expire? Most HR experts advise that organizations include a rescreening requirement every two to five years. This practice ensures that management is up-to-date on current employees at all times. It's also advised that the rescreening process be implemented across all departments and seniority levels.

How long do background checks last?

Let's go back to the example of summer camp earlier. Let’s say you have a trusted camp counselor that everybody knows and loves who comes back every year. Background checks are especially important when it comes to positions that involve vulnerable populations like children. So now you’re wondering: how long are background checks valid and do you need to rescreen your star camp counselor annually?

Running background checks can take up time and resources, so how long is a background check good for? It depends, as there are specific instances worth noting. Although experts advocate for rescreening every two to five years, no federal or state regulations require it. However, some instances of essential rescreening include employees who:

  • Handle a vulnerable demographic, such as children, the elderly, or those with an ongoing medical condition
  • Are taking on new responsibilities outside those for which they were hired
  • Have access to financial and sensitive data
  • Have been engaged in a workplace accident
  • Shown (documented) signs of substance addiction or criminal conduct

It’s worth noting that Checkr provides continuous checks for companies looking to upgrade their safety standards. From the moment a background check completes, a gap in information about your candidates’ record begins to form. Even if you re-run checks annually, you still lack visibility into candidate behavior between checks. Let’s dive into two types of continuous checks: Continuous Crim (criminal records) and Continuous MVR (motor vehicle records).

1. Continuous Crim

Continuous Crim is a subscription service that keeps you up to date on your active workforce.  It runs in the background and notifies you of reportable changes to your active workforce’s criminal records in real time, surfacing any new, reportable criminal records.

Why continuous crim?

Background checks are critical to gaining an understanding of your risk before hiring a candidate, but once a background check is complete, the results remain static and soon become outdated. And according to Checkr data, recent behavior is far more reflective of current risk than past behavior. Continuous crim allows you to protect your brand’s reputation by keeping you in the know about your workforce so you make smarter and safer hiring decisions.

To learn more about continuous crim, find more information here.

2. Continuous MVR

As the driving economy expands, safety innovators are using continuous MVR to meet the new standard in driver safety. With continuous monitoring, you’ll be notified when your drivers have had their license revoked or suspended. Continuous MVRs give you the ability to identify the most at-risk drivers by automatically running MVRs on drivers who have had a violation or status change

Why continuous MVR?

Drivers with violations in the past year are 43% more likely to get in an accident. But getting an up-to-date look into new incidents isn’t easy. An annual MVR often doesn’t surface violations until long after they’ve happened. With Continuous MVR, find incidents 4+ months sooner than an annual MVR. The benefits of continuous MVR include keeping your customers safe, reducing insurance costs, reducing risk, and improving your brand by showing customers you care.

Learn more about continuous MVR here.

FCRA and rescreenings: how long does a criminal background check last?

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) prohibits consumer reporting agencies from including criminal histories older than seven years and employers must take into account not only the type and severity of the conviction, but also the amount of time that has elapsed since the candidate was convicted. So, how long is a criminal background check good for when considering the seven-year rule? If the seven years have passed, the conviction cannot be used in hiring or firing decisions. It only accounts up to the date that it's requested, and rescreening should be scheduled based on job duties.

Build a better future with fair background checks

Checkr believes that all candidates should be given a fair opportunity at employment because a background check shouldn’t block the future for individuals looking for employment. At Checkr, we simplify the background check by removing friction from your hiring and rescreening processes. Contact us today to learn more about how our API solution can help with your hiring decisions.

Want to dive a little bit deeper on the topic of criminal background checks? Checkr's blog has resources covering compliance, fair chance hiring, candidate experience and more. Click here to explore today!

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Ready to give us a try?