Reference and background checks

Reference Check

Prior to making a job offer, you should conduct a reference check on a selected applicant.  Reference checking allows you to speak with previous supervisors to discuss performance related to the position for which the applicant is being considered.  For more information, visit the Reference checks webpage.

Background Check

Northern Arizona University takes steps to ensure a safe working and learning environment for all employees, students, and visitors. The university requires a minimum of a criminal conviction investigation and an employment investigation for all regular full-time and part-time positions. An education credentials investigation is required on all regular faculty and administrator positions. 

The hiring manager is responsible for ensuring that a background investigation is completed before a job offer is made.  Background investigations are initiated online through our vendor, A-Check Global's website. If you need access or need training please contact our Background team for assistance. They can be reached by email at A fingerprint check will be required for all individuals hired into a safety and security sensitive position and/or in the event of the disclosure of a prior criminal conviction by a candidate for employment during the hiring process.

Volunteers placed into safety and security sensitive positions, or who disclose a prior criminal conviction must also undergo a background check and/or fingerprint check. 

More information about managing volunteers

Background Check Exemptions

Current regular employees are exempt from this process with the following exceptions: 

  • When an employee terminates employment with the university and returns after six months, a background investigation, and possibly a fingerprint check, must be completed regardless of whether an investigation was done previously. 
  • Current employees transferred into a safety and security sensitive position or that have disclosed a conviction may be required to complete a background check and/or fingerprint check if the check(s) had not been completed in a previous role.

Background check procedures

Background and fingerprint investigations are used to identify prior criminal convictions, confirm the candidates' qualifications, and credentials.  Visit the Background Investigations webpage for more information.

Processing Background Check:
  1. The initial job posting and any job advertisements will include a statement regarding the required background investigation and possibly a fingerprint check, as applicable.
  2. Certain positions requiring the management, expenditure, and investment of large sums of funds on behalf of Northern Arizona University, in addition to all police officer positions, will require a credit background investigation.
  3. Departments can contact HR's background team ( for account set-up and training.
  4. Background investigations should be initiated through A-Check Global's website using the yellow EasyApp function. Login credentials are separate from NAU login information and can be obtained through the background team.
  5. Upon submitting the EasyApp, the final candidate will receive a link to the background investigation in their email. They will have three days to fill out the required documents. The candidate will also be provided with the  electronic Background Check Release and Authorization form and a copy of the Summary of Your Rights Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).
  6. A standard check or a standard check without employment is the minimum requirement. When selecting this package, the hiring department is responsible for verifying seven years of employment history. This option is required for all regular full- and part-time hires. Additionally, faculty must require the standard package that includes a credentials check and employment check.
  7. The final candidate will be sent a link for the background release and authorization and submit it directly to the background check vendor electronically. Refusal to electronically sign this authorization will remove the individual from consideration.
  8. If the final candidate is filling a position that has been identified as safety and security sensitive, a fingerprint check is required.
  9. You will receive results within three to five business days. Depending on the complexity, such as the number of counties and/or employers that must be investigated, response times may vary. Requests that include investigations in foreign countries can take considerably longer.
  10. The results will be reported to Human Resources, who will contact you with the results of the investigation. If the results prove relevant and negative, a Human Resources specialist will contact the hiring manager to discuss the results. It is important to remember that any individual has a right to privacy and the information contained in these investigations should not be shared beyond the responsible hiring manager. The screening committee’s desire to know the results of the investigation is in direct conflict with the legal responsibility of the institution to protect the rights of the individual. The screening committee will be informed by the screening committee chair or the hiring manager that the results of the investigation cannot be made available to the committee, but that the investigation uncovered information that, should the applicant be hired, would put the university and its students, staff, and/or faculty at risk.
  11. The hiring manager is responsible for removing from consideration any individual whose background investigation information proves to be unacceptable. Exceptions must be approved through the appropriate Vice President or Provost.
  12. Once acceptable results have been communicated to the hiring manager, an offer can be made. An offer contingent upon satisfactory background investigation results may be made by the hiring manager prior to receiving the results from Human Resources. Human Resources recommends that these contingent offers be made in writing. However, in no case can the employee begin working prior to receipt of the investigation results.
  13. The original signed authorization and release/consent forms will be returned to the Human Resources/Equity and Access Office along with the Hire Smart packet or faculty job search information and will be subject to the Arizona state records retention requirements. The results of the background investigation will be retained with the hiring packet and will not become part of the new employee's file. 

A-Check Global Background Check


Invoicing is completed by A-Check Global Background as follows:

Billing Period

Mailing Date (Approx.)

16th (previous month) – 14th



A-Check Global Background Customer Services
Phone: 1-877-345-2021


If it is determined that an initiated background check needs to be cancelled, and the notification to cancel is within a reasonable amount of time, please contact A-Check Global Background at 1-877-345-2021.

Departments will otherwise be charged any applicable fees.


Human Resources

Human Resources is responsible for:

  • maintaining a continuing contract for background investigation services with a reputable external firm or firms
  • assisting and educating screening committees on their responsibilities and liabilities relative to background investigations and the information contained therein
  • instructing screening committees on the process
  • maintaining a web application that is as user friendly and confidential as possible to provide on demand background check forms and information, and that includes types and costs of background investigation services available
  • assisting hiring managers in identifying risk factor criteria related to positions for which extra levels of background investigations would be prudent
  • maintaining an interface with the designated background investigation company related to the request and receipt of information
  • legal compliance as well as modifications of the program based on changes to the law, and assurance of confidential handling of the materials obtained through background investigations

Hiring manager

The hiring manager is responsible for:

  • ensuring that a background investigation is completed before a job offer is made
  • utilizing risk factor criteria in assessing the relevancy of specific background investigation findings for the position being filled
  • consulting with the Human Resources Department to determine if an additional level of background investigation is warranted above the mandatory criminal and employment investigation
  • verifying seven years of employment history

Investigation company

The selected background investigation company is responsible for:

  • accurately reporting findings to the university within the timeframe to which they have contractually committed
  • informing Human Resources of any legal requirements or changes to the law that impact background investigations
  • operating within legally-defined boundaries regulating the industry
  • generating a billing report twice monthly