Corporate Screening: How Long Should You Wait?

When it comes to making hiring decisions, corporate due diligence gives you peace of mind, helps prevent fraud, and mitigates risk. In the world of sales, mergers, and acquisitions, these intensive yet crucial investigations help you understand the full picture of the transaction and the people involved.

Because of the various parts of the process, corporate screenings can take some time. While this can greatly depend on your selected screening service and chosen company, there are several key factors that can impact the timeframe of your background check.

Elements of a corporate screening

Before we dive into the estimated timelines, let’s break down what a corporate due diligence screening entails. This can vary based on your selected package (we offer basic, standard, and premium packages), but most due diligence searches contain some or all the following screenings.

County civil court record search

County civil searches are conducted at the county level. They date back as far as seven years for employment purposes (but go back even further when done strictly for due diligence). These searches will receive a result of “clear” or “not clear”, including a detailed report of any records found, including but not limited to, the relevant dates, case type, parties involved, and case resolution.

There are key differences between county civil and federal or criminal searches. With county civil searches, the potential charges made against the client are by the plaintiff, as opposed to a federal, state, or local prosecutor. Often, these cases don’t result in incarceration and aren’t criminal, and tend to result more frequently in a financial settlement.

Typically, county civil court record searches take between five and seven business days.

County criminal court record search

As opposed to civil searches, criminal searches include felonies, criminal traffic offenses, and misdemeanors. These occur at the district, superior, supreme, and justice or municipal court levels.

While most record searches take 24-48 hours, our average turnaround is eighteen hours.

Federal district criminal searches

Federal criminal searches will investigate whether there are prior criminal charges by the federal district court, and outside of local and state jurisdiction. Federal crimes can include fraud, embezzlement, copyright law, insider trading, and more.

When investigating a federal criminal record, it can take under 24 hours if there’s no relevant (or potentially relevant) match. For those with potential matches, it can take longer. As with county searches, EagleScreen averages eighteen hours for criminal record checks.

Nationwide criminal record locator

Nationwide criminal record checks will scan federal criminal records, as well as county records throughout the country. These checks also typically take around eighteen hours.

Nationwide bankruptcy search

Bankruptcy records are available through Public Access to Court Electronic Records (or PACER). These records go through a nightly indexing process and are available immediately when searched.

These records will show bankruptcies filed in the last ten years, if present.

UCC / lien / judgments

This type of state-wide security check reviews a business’ history at a deeper level. A Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) check searches for any filings made by a lender about the financing of a business or individual’s assets. This is a legal notice the lender has made to the secretary of state, and can greatly affect a business’ credit score. Our searches also include the ability to locate Federal or State level tax liens levied against an individual or business, as well as any financial judgments levied in local or federal court. 

Depending on the jurisdiction, a UCC check takes 24-72 hours.

Social Security trace

Social security number (SSN) traces are crucial to learning the most about who you are screening. SSN numbers are a primary source of identification, and most major applications (credit cards, rentals, major purchases) require them. Having an SSN traced will allow you to see where your applicant has lived in the past, and thus where to search for past criminal and civil records. These traces generally go back as far as ten years.

SSN traces usually take one business day but can take as little as a few hours.

SEC / FINRA searches

The Security and Exchanges Commission (SEC) and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) are often tied together, although they do operate as two separate financial agencies. Both SEC and FINRA protect investors against securities fraud (AKA investment fraud), and both agencies handle insider trading, omission, stock manipulation, and pension fraud, as well as Ponzi and pyramid schemes.

FINRA and SEC do take proportionally longer with background checks. These checks are typically completed in 48 hours.

Education, employment, and professional license verification

Education verification can aid in protecting your organization against liability claims. By proving the degree, training, and education claims of the candidate, you can feel confident in your business decisions. Education verifications check past universities, colleges, high schools, and more for enrollments, degrees, major completion status, and dates of attendance and graduation.

As with education, employment verification investigates and proves (or disproves) the prior employment claims made by whoever you are screening. This is a deeper dive than simply references—it requires official records of employment from prior workplaces.

Like educational and employment screenings, professional license verification confirms whether the screenee holds the professional credentials they claim. This type of background check is particularly important as it protects your company from participating in fraudulent business, subsequently making you liable for legal action or penalties.

Generally, these types of verifications can take 2-3 days. Most of this is dependent on the responsiveness and cooperation of the institution. It also depends on the level of access to their education, employment, or professional licensure records, as well as whether hard copies are required.

Turnaround times can vary

So far, we’ve covered what a corporate due diligence check can include (depending on your selected package), as well as timelines. These timelines aren’t always set in stone. A variety of factors can affect the turnaround time for a corporate screening.

Missing/incorrect paperwork

Human error is a huge cause of delay when it comes to background checks. Missing paperwork, incorrect information, or information that is missing altogether can result in a delay in your turnaround time. Here at EagleScreen, we make it easy to avoid this issue with our electronic capture of paperwork, cutting down significantly on any potential delays.


With background checks, compliance is undeniably the most important component. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) gives the applicant protective rights as to how their information may be handled. Those screening a candidate or business transaction applicant must provide documents requesting background check permission.

They must also include fair reasoning for not moving forward with the transaction if it is due to something in the check, as well as a summary of rights. Ensuring background checks are 100% accurate to avoid errors (and therefore, non-compliance) requires an experienced agency that can ensure compliance is followed at every step of the process.

International checks

An international check, particularly in a remote location or in a different timezone, can result in delays of your screening process, especially concerning communication.

COVID-19 and unforeseen circumstances

Unforeseen circumstances such as natural disasters or global health emergencies such as the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic can result in delayed timelines for your screening.

Background check company

Your chosen screening company can play a role in the timeline of your corporate due diligence. Choosing EagleScreen can ensure you receive accurate, real-time screenings for a smooth transaction.

Speed up the process with EagleScreen

While elements of a corporate due diligence screening can be lengthy, EagleScreen averages 18-48 hours for a full corporate screening. Choosing the right package and screening service for your business is crucial, and with EagleScreen you can receive real-time updates for quick, accurate, and efficient background checks.

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