Under Arizona Board of Regents (ABOR) policy 6-709, University departments are responsible for ensuring that a Standard Pre-Employment Screening is conducted on all temporary and regular appointed and classified staff new hires. This includes verification of education credentials, professional licenses and work history.
Departments may conduct their own standard pre-employment screening or use an approved University vendor. When a vendor is used to conduct the basic pre-employment screening checks, departments are advised to also conduct their own professional reference checks since relevant job performance questions are not easily standardized and hiring authorities are in the best position to evaluate the reference information collected.
CONDUCTING IN-HOUSE STANDARD PRE-EMPLOYMENT SCREENING
Obtaining Candidate Consent and Authorization
Applicants authorize the University to conduct pre-employment screening when they certify their information on the last page of the on-line Career Track application form. If an institution or individual requires written consent in order to verify reference information, the department can provide a copy of the certification page of the application or request that the candidate send the department a copy of their completed "Pre-employment Consent and Disclosure Form." (.doc) (.pdf)
Verifying Academic/Educational Credentials
In some cases, you can verify the highest (terminal) degree of final candidates by contacting the registrar or admissions offices of the applicable university or college. Some universities have a dedicated office available to assist with degree checks.
You may also find the web-based Degreecheck.com service to be helpful. Applicable rates and a complete list of 70+ participating schools are available at http://www.degreechk.com
Verifying University of Arizona Academic/Educational Credentials
If your department has access to the Student Information System (SIS/Cosmos), University of Arizona degrees awarded (or current progress toward a degree) may be viewed on screen 136. If you do not have access to SIS/Cosmos, contact the Office of Curriculum and Registration at 626-5303.
Viewing Job Performance Records of UA Finalist
Authorized personnel may view performance evaluations and other job performance-related documents for the purpose of evaluating the suitability of a finalist for a new position by contacting the Human Resources Records Management unit at 621-5970. Access to employee job performance records will only be granted to the hiring authority or a member of the search committee.
Verifying Professional Licenses and Certifications
If a position requires a specific professional or technical license such as a licensed practical nurse, contact the responsible licensing board (local or national) to verify that the candidate has a current and valid license.
Addressing Self-Disclosure of Criminal Convictions
All applicants are required to self-disclose criminal conviction information when they complete the on-line employment application. It is incumbent upon the hiring authority to inquire as to the nature and circumstances of criminal convictions during the interview process. Interviewers should avoid questions that could be perceived as discriminatory (such as “Does this mean you a drug addict”?). Questions should focus on the time frame, severity and circumstances of the conviction and along with other information gleaned from the interview and reference checks, should be weighed and considered in determining the candidate’s qualifications and fit for the position.
Conducting Reference Checks
The best-informed hiring decisions encompass vigorous reference checking in order to achieve best-fit selection and to minimize liability for negligent hiring. It is recommended that the hiring department check the professional references of all relevant positions listed on the application or resume including the work dates and job titles of candidates.
Below are some quick guidelines for conducting reference checks.
- Comply with all federal and state laws and regulations.
- Verify that the finalist has consented to reference checking.
- Identify the relevant references to contact, not necessarily the references the finalist would prefer to have contacted. For maximum objectivity, obtain several references from a cross-section of current and former supervisors, peers, direct reports and customers.
- Inform the finalist when you are ready to begin reference checking.
- Conduct the reference check by phone or in person.
- Plan and ask the same behavior-based and job-related questions of all finalists.
- Do not accept “off the record” statements; ask for another reference who can speak to the issue on the record.
- Ask the contacted reference for names of other collateral references who also know the work record of the finalist.
- Evaluate the information collected that is relevant to qualifications.
- Maintain confidentiality. The gathered information is privy to the selection committee and is to be used only for recruitment purposes. Wherever possible, reference checks should be conducted by the hiring supervisor.
- Document all contacts and relevant information received and retain them in the departmental search file for three years.
USING A VENDOR TO CONDUCT STANDARD PRE-EMPLOYMENT SCREENING
- Send or fax the Candidate Consent and Disclosure Form to the finalist or direct the finalist to http://www.hr.arizona.edu/forms.php#preemp. Instruct the finalist to send the original signed form to Human Resources for the criminal background check and forward a copy to the departmental representative to assist with pre-employment screening activities.
- Access Sterling Testing Services on-line system at http://www.sterlingtesting.com. Contact Sterling at 1-800-899-2272 if you are establishing an account for the first time.
- Check the appropriate boxes to indicate the services you are requesting (education, license, work history, CDL or DMV check. The vendor will bill your department directly for each type of verification requested.
- Fax a copy of the Candidate Consent and Disclosure Form to Sterling Testing Services at (212) 736-0683.
Assessing Standard Pre-Employment Screening Information
- Hiring departments will have direct on-line access to the standard pre-employment report information provided by the vendor. An email notification will be sent to the department when the report is ready for review or you can log directly into the system to access the standard pre-employment reports.
- If information received from the pre-employment screening report is satisfactory and the finalist is eligible for hire based on criminal background, Department of Motor Vehicle and Commercial Driver’s License results, extend the job offer to the finalist and process hiring documents as usual.
- If adverse or inaccurate information identified in the standard pre-employment screening report provided by the vendor will be used to disqualify the finalist from consideration, contact Human Resources to initiate notification to the candidate as required under the Fair Credit Reporting Act. (See Adverse Action Procedures)