Frequently Asked Questions for Staff
Q: Why is Stanford University implementing background checks?
A: Stanford University wants to ensure a safe and secure environment for all staff, students and faculty.
Conducting pre-employment background checks is considered an employer best practice for hiring.
Q: Does Stanford have a policy covering background checks?
A: Yes. The background check policy provides guidance on who will receive a background check,
discusses the responsibility for overseeing the program and outlines the procedure for final decisions
regarding information surfaced through a background check.
Q: Who will be required to have a background check?
A: All new hires, temporary employees, casual employees and students accepting a staff position in the
Pilot Group are required to have a background check.
Q: What does the background check include?
A: The standard background check includes:
Social Security number verification
Review of national and state criminal records based on place of residence during the last
National Sex Offender Registry search
For some positions background checks will also include:
Verification of highest degree earned
Employment verification for last seven years and/or the last three employers
Additional verification checks can be required if critical to the position. These include, but are not limited
to, credit screening and motor vehicle record check.
Q: Who completes the background check?
A: Stanford has contracted with HireRight, an independent organization, to handle all background checks.
Q: When does a background check take place?
A: At the time a final candidate is selected but before an offer is made.
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Q: What is the procedure for starting a background check?
A: Once a candidate is identified as the “final candidate” for a position, he/she will be required to submit
authorization and disclosure forms. As soon as the forms are received by HireRight, the process is
initiated. Listed are the two important forms final candidates will be required to submit:
Disclosure to Employment Applicant Regarding Procurement of a Consumer Report
Applicants will receive the Summary of Your Rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act for their records
Q: Who determines which positions require more than the standard background check?
A: The hiring department and Human Resources Manager (HRM) determine whether additional
background information is needed based upon the nature and duties of the position.
Q: Who has access to the background check results?
A: Access to the background check results is limited to Central Human Resources and the HRM.
Q: How does the university protect an individual’s right to privacy?
A: Stanford University follows state and federal laws that ensure a candidate’s right to privacy, which
prohibits employees and others from using or disclosing personal information except within the scope of
their assigned duties.
As Stanford University’s vendor, HireRight conducts the background check under the direction of Stanford
University Human Resources. Departments do not receive any details of the background check, only a
notification of whether the screening has revealed results that do not meet Stanford University policy.
Q: How will the candidate and the hiring manager learn the status of the screening?
A: Once the screening is complete, HireRight will notify the person who initiated the background check as
well as the identified hiring manager of the completion of the background check. The hiring manager or
department representative will contact the candidate with the screening results.
Q: What is the cost of a background check and who pays?
A: The hiring department covers the cost of background checks. The cost for a background check ranges
from $49.25 to $123.00. The exact costs will depend on the type of background check ordered based on
the nature of the position as well as the number of additional verifications needed to get the requested
Q: How long does a background check take?
A: The normal turnaround time for a standard background check depends on the complexity of the
background check. Basic background checks (which includes criminal felony and misdemeanor
conviction search, social security number trace, national criminal search, and the national sex offender
registry search) take approximately two to three business days to complete. The time to complete the
background check begins when the vendor receives the necessary information from the applicant.
Q: Can employees be hired before the background check has been cleared?
A: No. Under no circumstances should a new employee begin their employment until the background
check process has been completed and status has been set to “Meets Company Standards.” The
preferred timing is to conduct the background check when a final candidate has been identified and in
advance of the offer. As an alternative, a background check may be done post offer, but before the
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employment start date. If the background check is done post offer, then the offer of employment is
contingent upon the successful completion of the background check and the offer letter must explicitly
identify this contingency. Under no circumstances should the employee start working for Stanford until
the background check process has been successfully completed.
Q: What happens if negative information regarding the candidate is found?
A: On behalf of Stanford, HireRight will communicate directly to the candidate. The candidate will have
an opportunity to challenge/appeal any findings. HireRight processes all appeals. For additional
information about an adverse action letter, the candidate can send an inquiry to HireRight at 5151
California Avenue, Irvine, CA 92617.
Q: What happens if Stanford receives inaccurate information regarding the candidate?
A: If the candidate feels there is an error or inaccurate information on the background check, an appeal
must be filed with HireRight within five to seven business days of receiving the notification from HireRight.
Stanford will give the candidate 30 days to rectify any erroneous information. If the candidate is unable to
rectify the error within 30 days, the hiring manager should move forward with another candidate.
Q: Will a criminal record automatically disqualify a candidate from obtaining a position at
A: Not necessarily. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has held that a candidate
cannot be denied employment based on a criminal record alone. Instead, the decision to hire or not must
be based on “business necessity” which requires the university to consider:
The nature and gravity of the offense(s),
The time that has passed since the conviction and/or completion of the sentence, and
The nature of the job for which the candidate has applied.
Q: Do candidates have the right to receive a copy of their background check?
A: Yes, candidates are given this right under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). To receive a copy, the
candidate will need to request one when completing the authorization form with HireRight.
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