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Reference and Background Checks

Reference Checks

Reference checks are used to diminish ambiguity, obtain specific job-related information, and verify the accuracy of a candidate's background. The reference checks may be conducted before or after the interview. The following are guidelines to check references.

  • Inform the applicant that a reference check will be conducted.
  • Prior to checking an applicant's current employer, ask the applicant's permission because job seeking may place the applicant's current employment at risk. If the applicant objects, contact other agreed upon references first. If the applicant is in the finalist pool or is the finalist being considered, inform the applicant of the need to talk with the current employer prior to the contact.
  • Be sure there is a business-related reason for asking specific questions and use of the information obtained.
  • Inquire as to re-employment eligibility and reasons for leaving previous jobs.
  • Document the references received so that this information can be shared with committee members and the hiring supervisor, President and/or Senior Staff.

Check at least two former employers, including the applicant's direct supervisor if possible. A personnel department or higher-level manager can only speak to generalities about work, employee dates and salaries, etc., while a direct supervisor may attest to job performance and qualifications.

The most effective means for gathering reference information is the telephone because it allows for clarification of comments and voice inflections. If a reference responds, "You'll be lucky to get him/her to work for you," you have the opportunity to probe for the real meaning of the statement; whereas, with a written reference, you could not probe for more information.

Background Checks

In order to protect the health, safety, and welfare of Colorado College people and property, the following guidelines shall be used when reviewing the qualifications of finalists for positions at Colorado College.

  • Prior to extending an official employment offer for positions that have direct responsibility for the welfare of children and/or students, residential halls, health care, security, facilities, and/or fiscal functions, a background check will be conducted. The finalist will be asked to compete a Disclosure and Authorization form (see attached Appendix) that grants Colorado College permission to obtain a consumer/investigative report from an investigative/consumer-reporting agency.
  • CC's HR shall be responsible for coordinating the background checks with the investigative/consumer reporting agency. The established search budget will include costs for background checks.
  • If a background check reveals that a person has been convicted of, pleaded guilty or no contest to, or received a deferred sentence to a felony or misdemeanor, HR and the appropriate supervisor (and in consultation with Legal Counsel) will consider the responsibilities of the position and the health, safety, and welfare of the institution to determine the qualifications and selection of an applicant for a particular position.
  • To the extent permitted by law, all information related to the criminal record of an applicant shall be kept confidential by HR, and shall only be released upon specific authorization by the applicant or in accordance with a validly issued subpoena or lawful request from a law enforcement agency.