Enter your search term

Search by title or post keyword

How Instacart Background Checks Work [& Red Flags To Avoid]

Key Takeaways

  • Instacart checks driving and criminal records during background checks.
  • Checks may include DUIs, traffic violations, and criminal records.
  • Process typically takes 3-10 business days, sometimes longer.
  • Failed checks can be due to serious crimes or multiple violations.

What the Background Check Looks For

To ensure it’s hiring honest, dependable, hard-working workers, Instacart takes into account two major aspects when running a background check on prospective employees.

Most of the information they look for has been made available on public databases. This includes anything that can be found in your driving history, such as:

  • DUIs: Driving under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance
  • Traffic violations: Exorbitant and/or outdated parking tickets, road accidents, seatbelt violations, failing to signal, etc.

Background check companies are also obligated to search criminal databases and perform an SSN trace, also known as a Social Security background check, to determine if an applicant has any prior criminal records.

Keep in mind that having a criminal record or traffic violations won’t disqualify you from applying to a top-rated grocery delivery service like Instacart. But it likely won’t leave a good impression on those reviewing your job application.

Another point to consider is that the duration of the background check isn’t limited to a specific number of years. It varies depending on the availability of your records as well as the different policies of your local and state governments.

Bear in mind that, except for a few cases, federal law excludes information about arrests that took place more than seven years ago from showing up on background checks.

That said, however, according to many background check companies, including Sterling Check, juvenile records are never included.

Reasons an Applicant Might Fail the Background Check

Background checks are a way for the grocery delivery company to ensure they provide a safe, convenient experience for their customers as well as their Shoppers. Hiring reliable, hard-working people also means protecting the integrity of the platform to ensure that buyers keep coming back and that grocery stores continue their collaboration.

So, in this sense, you can see that the hiring process is based on a handful of factors, including an employee’s background check. The majority of items on your background check may leave a bad impression on the interviewer.

Others, however, may disqualify you from becoming hired with Instacart, such as the following:

  • A conviction of a sexual or violent crime: If it was recent, it’ll be difficult to overcome on your record, but if occurred more than seven years ago, you could reach out to someone at the background check company or the HR department at Instacart and explain that you’ve worked hard to turn your life around since then.
  • A history of DUIs: One DUI isn’t a general cause for concern, but if five or more show up on your record, it’ll be difficult to try and convince them that you’re a careful driver.
  • A string of traffic violations: Failing to properly change lanes, crossing the yellow lines, or driving in the carpool lane once or twice are all examples of minor traffic violations, which aren’t generally anything to worry about. But, if there’s a string of them, especially recently, that could be a likely reason for failing a background check.

The Process of Getting Background Checked

Part of becoming an Instacart Shopper means agreeing to a background check once when you first sign up with the platform and every year after that.

New hires should be aware that not every application will receive a response from the company. Yet, if you’re one of the lucky ones who meet their preliminary criteria, you’ll receive a conditional offer to come on board.

The next step is that you’ll be asked to download the Instacart shopper app where you’ll be sent your personalized Instacart card. Once the card has been activated, you, as a potential hire, will then be redirected to a third-party website of a partnering background check company to input your personal information. This will include everything from your full legal name and date of birth to your address and social security number.

You’ll also be asked to enter your education, employment history, references, and professional licenses.

If you’re applying to be a full-time shopper and delivery person, you should also have a valid driver’s license.

Instacart is known to outsource its background check to two major companies: Sterling Check and Checkr, Inc. Once you’ve entered your personal info, the background check company will take this as permission to proceed with the verification process.

As for those already working for Instacart, finding something on your background check can lead to the deactivation of your Shopper account and you could be fired.

Understanding Different Background Check Statuses

Now that you’ve applied for the job, sent your info, and learned how to deliver with Instacart, it’s time to wait for the results of your background check. When you log into your Instacart Shopper account, you may notice different statuses popping up, including:

  • Background Check in Progress: This means the background check has begun.
  • Pending/Suspended: If you log into your Instacart Shopper account and find that the background check has been suspended, or pending, it means that the company needs more information. This could be any form of documentation you need to send over or something you can tell them over the phone or online.

Either way, make sure you send them all the information they need so they can get started with the background check as soon as possible and your application process isn’t delayed any more than it needs to be.

  • Complete: The third-party company, which in the case of Instacart and its competitors is either Checkr, Inc. or Sterling, has concluded the background check and hasn’t drawn any inferences from it. So, prepare to get waitlisted until you get approved by Instacart.
  • Clear: Your background check contains no violations or offenses.
  • Consider: Some type of violation or offense was found during the background check and the company has yet to decide whether it’s enough to rule you out as an Instacart Shopper.
  • Dispute: This status means you’re currently in the process of disputing the results of your background check.

Timeline: How Long Does an Instacart Background Check Take

Most Instacart new and current employees state that their background check took between 3–7 days to get processed. Yet, there’s always the risk of a slight delay due to temporary closures or high volumes. As a measure of precaution, expect to wait an average of 10 business days for your background check to be completed.

However, it’s worth noting that some applicants have reported waiting for months with no word back from Instacart. So, if 10 days go by and you don’t hear back and you don’t hear from either Instacart or the company running the background check, try reaching out to either one to see what’s delaying the process.

Many times we get nervous when a background check is delayed and we fear the worst. Yet, oftentimes, delays are caused by unexpected office closures or a backlog of applications that the company is trying to get through as quickly as possible.

What to Do If You Fail the Background Check

Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), you have the right to have mistakes, like inaccurate or incomplete information on a background check, fixed and updated.

Therefore, if you fail a background check and aren’t satisfied with the results, you can always file an appeal and ask for a do-over.

Yet, before you can do that, you have to be aware of some of the possible reasons you failed the background check because not all disqualifications are due to a traffic or criminal violation.

It could be that the names on your documents don’t match up, you didn’t provide the correct social security number, or you didn’t meet Instacart’s age requirement of being at least 18 years old.

Whatever the reason, you can dispute the results and have the background company look into it for you in the hope of reversing their findings.

The Appeal Process (If Applicable)

The first step when filing for an appeal—when applicable—is to request a copy of the results. If you find that the reasons cited for the disqualification aren’t clear or accurate, you can dispute their findings.

To do this, you’ll need to get in touch with the third-party background check company and file a complaint via their customer service as soon as possible.

If they find that your case is solid and that you’ve provided enough supporting evidence to support your claims, they’ll investigate the issue within 30 days. Then, they’ll notify you of the results via email.

In the event they find that the information on the background check was, in fact, incorrect, they’ll reverse the initial results and update the check accordingly.

However, if they find that the results are accurate and clear and you’re still not satisfied, the next step is to file a complaint with the Instacart support team. Present them with all the evidence and if they find your case compelling enough, they’ll look into it and get back to you with their findings.

If everything goes according to plan, you can reapply to Instacart for a second background check. And if you were already employed by Instacart, it’s possible to get rehired.

Conclusion: Preparing for Your Instacart Background Check

The Instacart background check is carried out on all prospective hires to gain insight into their driving and criminal histories. This ensures that the platform is operated by trustworthy, upstanding members of the community and helps provide a safe and convenient shopping experience for its customers.

Minor offenses don’t necessarily mean automatic rejection. However, Instacart won’t allow those with an ongoing pattern of driving violations or those who have committed serious crimes to join their team of Shoppers.

To ensure a quick and hassle-free background check process, make sure you provide accurate information and follow the necessary guidelines.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Instacart Do Identity Verification?

Yes, Instacart collects various documents to verify your identity, such as a personal photo and a scan of your driver’s license. You may also be asked to provide a government-issued identification number like your Social Insurance Number or Social Security Number.

How Long Does it Take to Get Started with Instacart?

After submitting a job application, and signing an offer letter as well as a W-4 tax form, Instacart will then begin the background check process, which can take anywhere from 5–10 business days.

How Long Does Instacart Take to Identify?

The identity verification process usually takes anywhere from a few minutes to an hour. Once the process is completed, Instacart Shoppers will be notified via email.

How Long Is an Instacart Under Review?

After submitting the necessary paperwork and documents for the verification process, the status on your page will change from ‘Submitted’ to ‘Under Review.’

The information will, then, undergo a thorough review, which can take between 1–3 business days. Once everything is approved, you’ll be notified via email.

Leave a Comment