POLICY 28
REFERENCE CHECKS Revised 2/18

Effective Date: January 1, 2015

SECTION INDEX:     Reference Checks

1    Purpose

2    Reference

3    Application

4    Guidance

4.1    When Will References be Checked    

4.2    How Many References be Checked

4.3    Who Should be Contacted

4.4    What Should I Ask

4.5    Criminal Background Checks

4.6    Results of Criminal Background Checks

4.7    What Forms Does an Applicant Have to Sign    

4.8    What Else Should the Hiring Manager Check

4.9    What Should I Require for Positions that Require a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL)

5    Forms

5.1    City of Olympia Reference Check Form

5.2    City of Olympia Release and Verification Form

5.3    City of Olympia Form for CDL Holders

1. PURPOSE

As a condition of employment, the City uses reference checks as one part of determining the suitability of a candidate for a position with the City.

2. REFERENCE

3. APPLICATION

This Policy applies to all individuals employed by the City of Olympia. This Policy does not apply to the Olympia Police Department (OPD) because OPD has its own reference checking process. Failure to comply with this Policy may result in disciplinary action including termination from City service.

4. GUIDANCE

4.1. WHEN WILL REFERENCES BE CHECKED

References will be checked, reviewed and considered on the applicant that the hiring manager elects to fill a position prior to any offer of employment being made.

4.2. HOW MANY REFERENCES WILL BE CHECKED

For an applicant hired from outside of the City, the hiring manager (or designee) must contact at least 3 references for the applicant. These can be references supplied by the applicant or other references identified by the hiring manager who have knowledge about the applicant’s ability to successfully transition to the City of Olympia workforce. For applicants hired from the existing City work force, the hiring manager must at least contact the manager for the applicant in their current position for a reference.

4.3. WHO SHOULD BE CONTACTED

The hiring manager (or designee) should consider contacting: 1) The names provided by the candidate; 2) The candidate’s current or most recent employer/supervisor; 3) At least two references who can attest to the candidate’s work ethic; and 4) Going “off-list” and contacting anyone who might have useful information about the candidate. You should feel free to contact anyone that you think would have applicable information about the prospective employee that would help you make the right decision for the City.

4.4. WHAT SHOULD I ASK

The City has identified certain questions that must be asked of references for any applicant being considered for employment from outside of the City (see Section 5-Forms). If a reference refuses to answer the questions on the form, the hiring manager should contact Human Resources for additional guidance.

4.5. CRIMINAL BACKGROUND CHECKS

Criminal background checks must be done on all applicants selected for hire before the offer to hire is given. Criminal background checks will be done by:

a.     The Olympia Police Department (OPD):

1.    Prior to hire for positions that have access to the inner offices of OPD;

2.    Prior to hire for applicants for IT positions; and

3.    Prior to hire for applicants for positions that work with children, developmentally disabled, or vulnerable populations.

b.    Human Resources will coordinate with departments on all other positions before an offer of hire is made

4.6. RESULTS OF CRIMINAL BACKGROUD CHECK

If the criminal background check reveals a conviction, the Human Resources Director will consult with the Department Director regarding the applicant. They will consider:

a.    Whether the conviction occurred in the last 10 years;

b.    The facts or circumstances surrounding the criminal offense;

c.    The type of position the applicant is seeking in relationship to the criminal conviction;

d.    The number of criminal offenses for which an individual was convicted;

e.    Age at the time of conviction or release from prison;

f.    The length and consistency of the individual’s employment history before and after the criminal offense; and

g.     Rehabilitation efforts, such as education or training.

4.7. WHAT SHOULD I REQUIRE FOR POSITIONS THAT REQUIRE A COMMERCIAL DRIVERS LICENSE (CDL)

The hiring manager (or designee) must have the applicant’s most recent employer who required a CDL complete the form of CDL holders (See Section 5-Forms).

4.8. WHAT ELSE SHOULD THE HIRING MANAGER CHECK

The City has the right to verify any information the applicant provides that was listed in the employment announcement (current driver’s license, any specific licenses or certifications, driver’s license abstracts for CDL holders, etc.). Some positions have unique requirements that can also be checked if appropriate (criminal history checks, credit history, etc.). If you are uncertain as to what you can check, contact Human Resources for additional guidance.

4.9. WHAT SHOULD I REQUIRE FOR POSITIONS THAT REQUIRE A COMMERCIAL DRIVERS LICENSE (CDL)

The hiring manager (or designee) must have the applicant’s most recent employer who required a CDL complete the form of CDL holders (See Section 5-Forms).

5. FORMS

5.1    City of Olympia Reference Check Form

5.2    City of Olympia Release and Verification Form

5.2    City of Olympia Form for CDL Holders

Revision History: February 2018; May 2016; July, 2011 Superseded: Addendum to Supervisor Corner Recruitment/Reference Checks; December1990