Does HR contact you after background check?

When going through the hiring process, many job candidates wonder if human resources (HR) will contact them after completing a background check. Background checks are a common part of the pre-employment screening process that aim to verify a candidate’s credentials, criminal history, and other aspects of their background.

Quick Answers

– In most cases, HR will not directly contact you after a background check unless there is an issue or discrepancy in the results.

– HR typically reviews background check reports internally and contacts the candidate if adverse information is found that may impact their candidacy.

– If no problems arise, HR will usually continue the hiring process without informing you that the background check is complete.

– You may be asked to contact the background check company directly if additional information or clarification is needed on your end.

– HR is more likely to reach out to you following a background check if they are rescinding a job offer based on the findings.

Does HR have to notify you when the check is done?

There is no legal obligation for employers to notify candidates when their background check is completed. So in most cases, you likely won’t hear from HR just to confirm they finished the check unless issues came up.

Background check companies will usually verify any discrepancies in the report directly with you if needed. So the background screening agency, rather than the employer’s HR department, would be the one to make contact.

That said, some employers may have internal policies to follow up with candidates when checks are finalized as a courtesy. But there is no formal requirement to do so.

When will HR contact you about the results?

Here are some of the main situations when you can expect to hear from HR regarding your background check results:

  • If adverse or negative information is uncovered that may impact your candidacy, HR will likely reach out to discuss.
  • If HR needs to verify or get clarification on something in the report, they may contact you directly.
  • If HR decides to rescind a job offer based on the background check findings, they will inform you.
  • Some employers may follow up as a courtesy when checks are completed to move the hiring process forward.

Unless one of these situations occurs, the employer will typically review the report internally without informing candidates of the results.

Will they call you about discrepancies?

If the background check uncovers discrepancies or inaccuracies, HR may need to call you to clear things up. This allows you a chance to explain the situation or provide additional details not captured in the initial report.

Some common discrepancies that prompt follow-up include:

  • Inconsistent employment dates.
  • Education or credential verification issues.
  • Criminal records that may be inaccurate or attributed to the wrong person.
  • Driving records with errors.
  • Discrepancies in your identity information.

Minor issues can often be explained and resolved directly over the phone without jeopardizing your candidacy. But more significant concerns discovered during background screening may require rescinding a job offer.

When do they notify you of a rescinded offer?

If your background check reveals information leading an employer to rescind your job offer, HR will contact you promptly to inform you.

This is done for legal reasons, as there are strict procedures HR must follow under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) regarding background check rescinds.

Some examples of reasons an offer could get rescinded after a check include:

  • Lying on your job application or resume.
  • Serious criminal convictions.
  • Failed drug test results.
  • Not meeting required qualifications.

HR will notify you by phone or email, explain why the offer is being rescinded, and provide a copy of the background check report if requested.

Do they disclose full results to you?

In most cases, employers are not required to provide candidates a copy of their full background check report. They may summarize the results, but rarely share the actual detailed report.

The only time HR must disclose the entire report to you is if they make an adverse decision based on the findings, like rescinding an offer. Even then, they usually only have to share the relevant portions pertaining to the adverse action.

If you dispute your background check results and believe there are errors or inaccuracies, you have the legal right to request a copy of the full report from the screening provider.

What if you need to dispute an error?

If you believe there is a mistake or inaccuracy in your background check, you have the right to dispute it with the screening company under the FCRA.

The process typically involves:

  1. Contacting the background check provider and identifying what you believe to be incorrect.
  2. Submitting written dispute request to the company.
  3. Provider investigates within 30 days.
  4. You receive written results of dispute investigation.
  5. If dispute found valid, provider must correct inaccurate info.

HR may be involved in contacting you if they spot a potential error. But the dispute must be directly handled by the background check company itself as regulated by law.

Can HR legally run the check without telling you?

Yes, employers can legally run background checks on candidates without their knowledge or consent in most cases. An employer must get your permission to conduct a background check only if they plan to use a credit report.

For other checks, including criminal records, employment history, education confirmation etc., formal consent is not required. HR may choose to inform candidates, but they are not obligated to do so.

That said, reputable employers will typically disclose to applicants that background screening is part of their hiring process and gain informal consent even if not legally mandatory.

Do they have to notify you each time they rerun it?

If an employer chooses to rerun a background check on a candidate who previously went through screening, they do not have to provide notice each additional time.

There are no laws dictating how frequently an employer can rerun checks. Some may rerun them annually, while others could request a re-check after the initial screen at their discretion without notifying a candidate.

However, performing excessive reruns without an applicant’s knowledge could be grounds for a lawsuit alleging invasion of privacy or negligence depending on the situation.


In summary, employers are not legally obligated to inform applicants when background checks are completed or share full results unless they make an adverse decision.

HR will typically only contact you if they need clarification, spot an error, or decide to rescind an offer based on the findings. Otherwise, expect background screening to happen quietly behind the scenes in most cases.

While transparency from HR is ideal, employers ultimately have discretion when it comes to checking backgrounds and follow up. Understand your rights and the dispute process if you believe your results are inaccurate.

Situation Will HR Contact You?
Background check completed without issues No
Discrepancy or error identified Yes
Rescinded job offer Yes
Routine re-check No

What should you do if HR doesn’t call after background check?

If you go through a pre-employment background check but do not hear back from the employer afterwards, you may wonder what to do next.

Here are some tips if HR does not contact you following completion of a background screening:

  • Be patient – Processing and reviewing reports takes time. Avoid jumping to conclusions.
  • Focus on other applications – Don’t put your job search on hold waiting for one employer.
  • Check in respectfully – Email to politely ask about status if enough time has passed.
  • Don’t assume the worst – Lack of contact doesn’t necessarily mean bad news.
  • Request feedback if rejected – You can ask HR for background check insights if ultimately not hired.

Unless HR explicitly informs you of an adverse decision resulting from your background check, continue operating under the assumption that no news is good news. Avoid bombarding employers with constant status inquiries.

The best approach is to be patient, stay optimistic, and continue actively pursuing other promising job leads in the meantime.

Do companies let you start before check is done?

Most employers will not allow new hires to begin work until their background check is fully cleared and completed. However, a few scenarios exist where starting prior to completion may occur:

  • Conditional job offer – Employer extends offer contingent on successful check.
  • Delayed start date – Onboarding pushed back several weeks to allow check processing time.
  • Time sensitivity – Role urgently needs to be filled so work begins pending check results.
  • Prior relationship – Candidate is known quantity so lower risk of issues.

Companies proceed with caution if allowing candidates to start before screening finishes. New hires may need to sign disclosure stating offer can still be revoked based on findings.

But in most standard cases, HR will wait for satisfactory check completion before finalizing an offer and green lighting a start date.

Do they do an exit interview if you fail?

Employers typically will not conduct an exit interview if rescinding a job offer due to a failed background check.

An exit interview aims to gain insights from departing talent for improvement. But for candidates who never truly joined the organization, an exit interview offers little value.

Any relevant candidate feedback would have already been gathered during prior interviews and the selection process before extending an initial offer.

Additionally, the candidate may be understandably upset about the situation, making an exit interview counterproductive. The priority for HR is simply notifying the applicant of the adverse decision in compliance with the law.

However, HR may be willing to provide additional details on the check findings if requested by the candidate for closure purposes.


Knowing what to expect regarding employer contact after a background screening can helpCandidates should avoid overanalyzing the situation if HR remains silent after the process wraps up. Patience and persistence in your overall job search is key.

While the waiting game can induce stress, maintain confidence in your qualifications. With a blemish-free background, you likely have little to worry about long-term. Stay focused on seeking promising opportunities both at employers awaiting your results and new prospects ahead.

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