University Background Screening Requirements

To promote the safety and security of the Harvard community and to minimize the potential risk of loss to the University, the University requires certain types of background screening for new hires for administrative, professional and non-bargaining unit support staff positions. Screening may also be required for internal transfers, re-classifications, or promotions to such positions.

In all instances, background screening must be instituted on a consistent and nondiscriminatory basis. Only designated human resource officers have access to screening results, with the exception of job skills assessment and reference checks, and may evaluate this information.

Any misrepresentation on the application for employment or transfer or during the application or interview process is grounds for denial of employment, withdrawal of offer or termination.

Harvard may require the following background screening.

A. Background Screening Prior to a Job Offer

The following background screening procedures may be conducted at any time prior to a job offer:

a) Job Skills Assessment

Some administrative positions may require that the applicant demonstrate competency in certain skills, for example, proficiency in various software applications.

To ensure adherence to federal and state laws and regulations, all proficiency testing of applicants for open positions will be reviewed by the local human resources office and by Recruitment Services in Harvard Human Resources.

Testing must be performed on a consistent and nondiscriminatory basis. If one applicant is tested then all applicants under serious consideration for that job typically should be tested.

b) Reference Checks

Careful and objective reference checking provides important information critical in the evaluation of potential employees whose prior education, experience, and/or performance constitute significant qualification for employment. No final offer should be extended to an employment or transfer candidate until previous employment references, including the applicant's current supervisor, have been contacted and the suitability of the individual for the position is confirmed. Generally, this can be done most effectively by the hiring supervisor or department head, since they have the greatest familiarity with the duties and requirements of the position. The local human resources office can provide guidance in checking references and may conduct reference checks if requested. Some local human resources offices require that supervisors contact them prior to calling references.

B. Background Screening Following a Conditional Offer

Harvard may require additional background screening following a conditional offer of employment, or a transfer, re-classification, or promotion for certain types of positions as designated by local departments and schools. In all instances, the screening must be instituted on a consistent and nondiscriminatory basis.

If background screening is required for such a designated position the requirements should be clearly stated in the job posting.

Such screening may include:

a) Medical Review

b) Social Security Number Validation/Verification

c) Credit Record Check

d) Drug Screening

e) Criminal Record Check

f)  License Verification

g) Educational Verification


Last updated: 9/7/18