6. Reference Checks

A reference check is conducted to obtain relevant position-related information and verify information provided by the candidate during the hiring and selection process to help determine an applicant's suitability for a position.

General Requirement

A reference check process that includes a prior employer must be performed, when possible, on the final applicant for a hiring event (employment or transfer) prior to the start date of the hiring event.

Applicant Authorization

Authorization to conduct a reference check is granted when an applicant submits an application to NU. If an applicant does not wish to have an employer contacted, the applicant must check the appropriate box in their application. 

Information Obtained 

Only position-relevant information such as verification of work history, and professional reference information regarding performance and work behaviors may be obtained. This generally includes the following: 

Work History – Contact at least one employer, preferably the most recent, to verify and obtain the following. This individual may be a supervisor, Human Resources representative, or another employee/affiliate of the candidate's employer who can verify this information.

  • Job title and duties
  • Dates of employment
  • Job performance
  • Potential suitability for the proposed position
  • Reason for leaving
  • Eligibility for rehire

Professional Reference – Contact at least one reference to obtain the following. A professional reference may be a work-related reference such as a supervisor, co-worker, or other colleague.

  • Relationship history
  • First-hand knowledge of work performance
  • Potential suitability for the proposed position 

Position-relevant Information/ Regulatory Requirements and Guidelines 

Information that is protected by federal, state, or local regulations or NU policy shall not be obtained. Information regarding attendance may only be obtained if it is in compliance with applicable regulations. Therefore, absenteeism information protected by the Family Medical Leave Act, Americans with Disabilities Act, Workers Compensation claims, military leave or any other related regulation or protected status may not be obtained.

Unfavorable Reference Information 

If an unfavorable reference check is obtained and serves as the rationale for non-selection, documentation must be in the selection materials.


All reference check materials and information obtained must be kept with the selection materials. If a reference check cannot be completed or relevant individuals cannot be contacted, the reason must be documented.

See:  HR-05 Recruitment and Selection Policy, p. 5