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Inside Iowa State, a newspaper for faculty and staff, is published by the Office of University Relations.

Oct. 10, 2008

Background checks get council's OK

by Erin Rosacker

Professional and Scientific Council members endorsed a policy draft Oct. 2 that would require employment verification and background checks of new hires. The resolution passed 35-2-1.

Discussion centered on the possibility of slowing down the hiring process with this additional step. But Carla Espinoza, associate vice president for human resource services, said it's not the background check process that has the potential to stall -- it's the availability of the hiring officers and HRS personnel involved.

"It's always speaking time and meeting time, it isn't necessarily processing time, where the delays are," Espinoza said. "When there is a hit, there will be a conversation with the hiring officer."

One solution could be automating this part of the process through the online hiring system HRS already is using. If no flag is raised during the check, the process would move forward without interruption. If something turned up during the process, that's when a conversation would happen.

Espinoza said her office has performed limited background checks through HireRight, a California-based online employment screening company. HRS is exploring the integration of this service with the existing online hiring system.

The current plan would limit background checks to the successful candidate, not the pool of finalists. Departments could request additional verifications and background checks if they wish, Espinoza said.

The policy draft, which was available for public comment last month, now moves back to the policy development group. That committee will consider campus input, the council's resolution and feedback from the Faculty Senate.


"When there is a hit, there will be a conversation with the hiring officer."

Carla Espinoza