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Background Checks

Program directors and administrators are responsible for ensuring compliance with the background checks requirement of the Minors at Northwestern Policy.

Once a program director or administrator registers a program or activity using the online registration form, background check requests of program directors, supervisors, and those who regularly spend time alone with minors as part of their job responsibilities or role in a program will be coordinated automatically by the University Compliance Office and Office of Human Resources. Program staff should expect a link from HR that outlines instructions for the background check process. Please note that once program staff receive links to initiate the background check process, they will have 3 business days before the link expires. 

Should individuals be required to undergo a background check after initial program registration, they can request one by emailing At a minimum, requests should include the employee name, employee ID, and email address.

Background Check FAQs

Who must complete a background check?

Background checks are required for all faculty and staff (including temporary or contract staff) participating in programs involving minors as outlined in the Minors in Programs at Northwestern Policy; the requirement applies to University-sponsored programs and non-University sponsored programs. Background checks are required before an individual begins working with minor(s).

How often do individuals need to undergo a background check?

Background checks should occur prior to beginning work with minors. Most Northwestern staff hired in the last five years have undergone a background check as a condition of their employment. Staff and faculty who have not previously undergone a background check as part of the hiring process are required to have a new background check processed prior to engaging in programs with minors.

It is recommended that program directors with long-term staff have background checks updated on a regular interval, such as every three to five years.

What does the background check include?

The background check includes:

  • County and State Criminal Felony & Misdemeanor records
  • National Sexual Offender Registry Search

Where are the results stored?

Results are stored with the vendor and reviewed only by the Office of Human Resources.

How long do background checks typically take to complete?

Background checks typically take 48-72 hours to complete. You should inform those who are undergoing background checks that they will receive an e-mail directly from HireRight, Inc., the University's background check vendor, asking them for information to complete the check. We recommend leaving 10 or more working days from the request to the anticipated date of direct interaction with minors that prompts the background check.

Will Northwestern run background checks for non-Northwestern programs?

No, that remains a responsibility of that third-party program.

If a background check reveals a criminal history, will the applicant be immediately denied to work in a program or activity involving minor(s)?

No. If a background check reveals a criminal record history, the applicant will be notified and the application will be reviewed by the Office of Human Resources consistent with University policy.

Non-Northwestern organizations and entities that operate programs or activities involving minors on campus must conduct criminal background checks of their employees, volunteers, and representatives who meet the above criteria. The University may request any additional information it deems necessary.