University of Minnesota  FAQ

Background Check Program


Expand all


Table of Contents

TOC placeholder


Please use the contact section in the governing policy.

  1. What does the standard background check include?

    The standard background check includes:

    • Social security trace
    • County criminal records for the last 7 years (all names)
    • Federal criminal records for the last 7 years (all names)
    • National Sex Offender and Federal Watch List
  2. How are background checks evaluated?

    Per Minnesota Statue 364.01, convictions of a crime or crimes do not disqualify a candidate from public employment, unless the conviction is directly related to the position. If the conviction is directly related, the employer must consider the nature and seriousness of the crime, the relationship of the crime to the position, and the relationship of the crime to the ability, capacity, and fitness required to perform the duties of the position. Competent evidence of rehabilitation may also be considered and provided in the forms listed in the statute.

    Other types of criminal charges that do not result in a conviction will not generally be considered as part of this review, unless they have the potential to interfere with the individual beginning their employment. Those situations will be considered on a case-by-case basis, in consultation with the Office of the General Counsel.

  3. Who is covered by this policy?

    The policy covers:

    • individuals being offered employment in, or being transferred or reassigned to, non-student positions;
    • individuals, including non-employees and student employees, being assigned duties where checks are legally or contractually required;
    • non-employees who are assigned duties including security-sensitive work; and,
    • pursuant to the Administrative Policy: Safety of Minors, paid and unpaid individuals interacting with or overseeing minors in program activities or recreational or residential facilities.
  4. Will any information disclosed in my background check be shared with the hiring authority?

    No, that information remains with the OHR Program Lead, UMD HR Consultant, OGC or designee in order to make any necessary determinations and ensure the candidate’s information is protected. These roles will notify the hiring authority if a background check meets or does not meet company standards, but do not share any additional details. Employees outside of these roles who have access to the vendor’s system also do not have access to view a candidate’s details beyond the status of the background check.

  5. Do I have to have a background check if I get hired into a new position?

    Probably. If you have had a background check completed with satisfactory results within the past twelve (12) months, you do not need to have another background check conducted provided that the new position does not require additional verifications or credential checking.

    If this is a new position and you have not undergone a background check or it has been more than twelve (12) months, then a background check would be required.

    The background check requirement does not apply if:

    • your position is reclassified, or
    • you are being rehired into a previously-held position, have passed a background check for this position previously, the termination date from this position was less than twelve (12) months from the new hire date, and it does not fall under other background check requirements (e.g. Safety of Minors).
  6. I was hired as a temporary employee. Do I need to have a background check?

    Yes, temporary non-student positions are covered by the policy, and a background check would be required.

  7. If I am a student employee, am I required to have a background check?

    Student positions are not covered by the policy unless a background check is required under the law, a contract (such as a research grant), or the Administrative Policy: Safety of Minors. A unit also may determine that it will conduct background checks for all student positions, and are strongly encouraged to conduct them for students performing security-sensitive work similar to those listed in Appendix: Background Checks for Non-Employees. It’s the responsibility of the unit to determine whether waiving a background check would adversely impact the unit and where there is undue liability.

  8. If I am not a University employee, am I required to have a background check?

    Non-employee positions, such as graduate fellows, are not covered by the policy unless a background check is required under the law, a contract (such as a research grant), the Administrative Policy: Safety of Minors, or the non-employee is performing security-sensitive work for the University. A unit also may determine that it will conduct background checks for all affiliated or volunteer positions. This determination is made on the duties and responsibilities of the position, not assessed on an individual basis.

  9. How far back does the criminal background check go?

    The criminal background check reports criminal activity going back seven (7) years from the date the request was submitted.

  10. What is the process for conducting a background check?

    Refer to the procedures within the full policy at Background Checks and Verifications.

  11. If I am an international hire or scholar, am I required to have a background check?

    Yes, the policy covers all new hires into non-student positions.

  12. Can criminal background information be used as a means of non-selection?

    The University of Minnesota presumes that prospective employees are eligible to work here. Criminal convictions do not automatically disqualify finalists from employment. Office of Human Resources staff work with the hiring department to conduct an individual review of background check results carefully looking at whether and how any criminal conviction relates or does not relate to the responsibilities of the position.

  13. If I am a current employee and my position is reclassified, am I required to have a background check?

    No, the background check requirement does not apply if your position is reclassified, such as through a Job Family Study.

  14. If I have accepted the offer of employment, can I begin working while the background check is being conducted?

    No, the background check results need to be completed and the determination of suitability for employment needs to be made PRIOR to the start date of employment.

    In rare circumstances, individuals may be granted an exception by the Office of Human Resources and start their appointment prior to the completion of the background check and verification. Exceptions will only be considered if the required background check and verifications have not completed after 5 days from when the individual submitted their information and:

    • the position provides a service critical to the mission of the University and the delay in their employment impacts the University’s ability to provide this service; or
    • the background check and verification process has been impacted by extenuating circumstances, such as a natural disaster, pandemic, etc.