Saint Louis University




It is the policy of Saint Louis University that no offer of employment is made to any candidate for a staff position prior to reference checks being conducted and reviewed with the hiring supervisor. It is also our policy to cooperate with other employers, including local, state, and federal agencies in providing factual, job related information on current or former employees of Saint Louis University.


This policy applies to all staff of Saint Louis University with the exception of faculty employees. This policy does not address verification of employment (see the Verification of Past or Current Employment policy, 3.5.5)


Reference Checking: Reference checking is defined as the verification of work history or performance with current or previous employers; verification of college and/or university attendance and degree(s) earned; verification of license or certification; and other verification based on business necessity.


1. Reference Checking: In all cases, a minimum of one reference check (preferably two) will be completed on the candidate of choice prior to a job offer being made. Reference checking should be conducted by the Human Resources Department representative responsible for the recruitment effort.

In some cases, it may be necessary for a supervisor to conduct a reference check on an applicant, particularly when questions of a more technical nature need to be asked to adequately assess the applicant's skill level. In those cases, the following guidelines should be followed:

a) When discussing an applicant's job performance, the questions asked should be job related. The information received should be documented, to include the name and title of the individual releasing the information, the name of the company, date, and a summary of information received. This should be forwarded to the Human Resource representative handling the recruitment effort.

b) Internal applicants applying for other positions within the University must be afforded respect for confidentiality of their applications for transfer/promotion. In those cases in which a recruiting manager needs to determine an applicant's skill level, the employee's supervisor should only be contacted when that employee has become a serious candidate. The information received should be documented and forwarded to the Human Resource representative responsible for the recruitment effort.

2. Releasing Reference Information: If a supervisor or manager receives a request for reference information on a current or former staff member there are two options that he or she can consider:

a) The manager may respond to the inquiry, using the following guidelines

1.) The information should be released only by former supervisors who have personal knowledge of the employee

2.) The information released must be factual, addressing the employee's level of performance and skills. There must be sufficient documentation in the employee's personnel file to support the information released. Supervisors must avoid comments regarding their personal feelings about the employee.

3.) A written record must be forwarded to Human Resources for the employee's personnel file which contains the information released to other employers, as well as the name of the employer, date, name, and position of the individual to whom the information was released.

4.) A misstatement of fact negligently made could result in legal action against the manager and the University. Therefore, a manager should comply carefully with the guidelines presented in this policy.

b) The second option is that the manager may refer the reference request to the campus Human Resources office. This would be appropriate for all requests, and especially if the employee left under less than desirable circumstances.

If the manager does not have direct personal knowledge of the former employee, he or she must refer the request to Human Resources.

The Human Resources office will only release factual performance-related information from official records or from personal knowledge. Very often, that means that the Human Resources office will be able to release only the employee's dates of employment, job title, and whether the individual resigned or was terminated from Saint Louis University. Human Resources will normally respond only to reference requests received in writing.