The University of Illinois updated its background check policies in 2015, implementing the new rules in October of that year. Before the shift, the university had only been conducting pre-employment background checks on people whose jobs would involve working with money, children, or hospital patients. Since 2016, U of I has been running pre-hire background checks on almost all employees, including professors and other faculty members.
Two years past the implementation of the new background check policy, the University of Illinois is looking at how the rules have impacted hiring decisions. In 2017, the university conducted about 11,700 background checks. That figure accounts for all the hires or job offers made across U of I’s three campuses: Chicago, Urbana-Champaign, and Springfield. Of those 11,700 background checks, 35 prompted the university to rescind job offers.
The campus-by-campus breakdown of rescinded job offers saw the most red-flag background checks at the Chicago campus. There, U of I pulled 22 job offers due to background check findings, compared to 12 at Urbana-Champaign and one at the Springfield campus. The Springfield campus has about 5,000 students and is considerably smaller than Urbana-Champaign (just under 48,000 students as of fall 2017) and Chicago (where enrollment is roughly 30,000).
The checks that led the university to withdraw employment offers account for 0.3 percent of all employee background checks. The number represents a considerable uptick from U of I’s 2016 statistics. During the first year of the new background check policies, the university conducted slightly more background checks—11,815— but only pulled job offers in 11 cases. Those figures equate to less than 0.1% of background checks leading to job offer rescindments.
One of the big news items when U of I approved the new background check policy in 2015 was the fact that professors and faculty members were not pleased with the change. So far, it appears that the policy is hardly affecting faculty: of the 35 job offers withdrawn due to background check findings in 2017, only one was for an academic profession job. The other 34 were for “civil service or other jobs,” according to the State-Register Journal report.
In addition to criminal record checks, the University of Illinois screening policy includes several other types of background checks. U of I requires candidates for some positions to undergo verification checks for past employment, education, and professional licenses. All three verification checks are available from backgroundchecks.com, as are reference verification checks.
About Michael Klazema The author
Michael Klazema is the lead author and editor for Dallas-based backgroundchecks.com with a focus on human resource and employment screening developments