Background Checks

Higher education background checks are an important part of the employment process for colleges and universities. Whether you are hiring new staff or wish to screen existing faculty members, learn factors to examine, how regulations apply, and simplify the process with professional assistance.

What Should Higher Education Background Checks Include?

Simple background checks really aren’t effective for the needs of higher education hiring. Colleges and universities seek individuals who hold specific degrees, who have completed exact courses, who have accreditations or are published, and more.

Candidates may be considered from all over the world. A quick public record search simply does not present the type of information required in higher education background checks. 

Your higher education background checks should examine the following areas of any individual considered for hiring:

  • Criminal history checks
  • Education verification
  • Identity verification
  • Previous employment verification
  • Drug testing
  • International screening
  • Financial 

As the higher education job market becomes more and more competitive, organizations must protect themselves from the risk of fraudulent activity by candidates. Another growing concern in higher education is the safety of students and staff. 

Establishing a safe environment for all who attend led by a quality workforce is a priority. The right processes deliver higher education background checks with the information you need to make appropriate hiring decisions.

Regulations Concerning Higher Education Background Checks

While federal laws require criminal background checks for educators in public school systems in efforts to protect minors, there are no such laws for higher education institutions. Only certain states require a form of criminal background check for new hires or individuals in certain positions. 

Though most students attending colleges and universities are adults, some freshmen students enroll and attend while still minors. Plus many higher education organizations take part in programs involving minors, such as dual enrollment/credit partnerships and other youth programs. 

State regulations for higher education background checks do apply to college and university staff in many cases, depending on how state laws are written.

Why Institutions Need Credential and Employment Screenings

While not a legal requirement in most states, higher education background checks are still smart policy for all colleges and universities. Comprehensive higher education background checks that cover the areas mentioned above aide educational institutions in a number of ways:

  • Reduce liability for negligent hiring decisions
  • Help satisfy heightened security concerns
  • Reduce workplace safety issues
  • Safeguard against “resume scandals”

Special Cases: University President and Other High-Profile Roles

Institutions from two-year colleges to nationally-recognized universities have endured scandals when a president became a liability or ultimately, regarded as irresponsible. 

In an article from The Chronicle of Higher Education, Wallace D. Loh said of the office of university president, “I sit over a number of dormant volcanoes. One of them is an athletic scandal. It blows up, it blows up the university, its reputation. It blows up the president.” 

Loh, former University of Iowa provost and at the time, President of the University of Maryland at College Park, would ultimately retire after an athletics scandal at the school. In the cases of athletic scandals, presidents are often not directly involved, but may be held accountable if they delay investigations, knew of the wrongdoing or other adjacent crimes. 

In other cases, presidents were guilty of misspending funds, harassing others, conferring special treatment or favors, or mishandling crimes on campus. How does a hiring committee prevent this? Well, it’s tough to foresee every conclusion, but comprehensive background checks provide more information for these and other high-profile appointments

Do the Check, Ask for References

If the candidate is a friend of a trustee or a member of the search committee, don’t skip the check. It’s common for people to feel intimidated to ask for references or ask candidates to submit to checks when referred by an influential person. Don’t be swayed. If the person is professional, he or she understands the need for transparency. If he or she balks at the request, it should be a red flag. 

Related Blog: How to Do Executive Background Checks

Engage Additional Screenings

Some candidates interview beautifully. You may already be picturing them shaking hands with the future biggest donor to the university. Charismatic individuals, however, are not exempt for addictions and other undisclosed behaviors risking scandal. 

In addition to the usual pre-employment screenings, at Barada Associates we offer professional skills, cognitive and behavioral assessments. We also provide social and other media mention searches while staying in front of potential discrimination liabilities as a third party. We use a three-tier approach to reveal a candidate’s media footprint locally, socially and globally. 

Higher Education Background Checks with Barada

The process to complete higher education background checks is often tedious and time-consuming for colleges and universities. Verifying the various credentials and degrees of potential and existing staff members takes time. It also takes a good bit of human power to fulfill the different requirements of higher education organizations. In some cases, the university is no longer active or it’s international, increasing the difficulty.

Outsourcing higher education background checks is a time and money-saving move for higher education institutions. Barada’s comprehensive background check and pre-employment screening solutions help colleges and universities verify details and gain important information regarding candidates crucial, when making hiring decisions. 

We work with you to determine the appropriate services for your higher education background checks to establish a quality workforce and a safe environment for all.

Contact Barada Associates today to learn more about our higher education background checks and other pre-employment services.