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Frequently Asked Questions

-For candidates

What is the role of OneHR in a reference verification process?

OneHR has the mandate to conduct the reference verification as requested by the hiring UN entity, but will not make any recommendations to the hiring unit based on the outcome of the reference verification.

What is a reference verification?

The term “reference verification” refers to a set of background checks aimed at validating educational and professional background records as indicated on candidates’ resumes used in the application process. Background checks can be extended to include criminal record, disciplinary measures, sexual exploitation and abuse and professional license check validation.

What is the purpose of a reference verification?

The reference verification process provides an opportunity to confirm important claims made by a candidate during the recruitment process and on the resume and is an important data point in the hiring process. It is contributing to secure the highest standards of competence and integrity of staff members of the United Nations and is therefore a mandatory step in our staff recruitment process.

What is an academic verification?

An academic verification refers to the verification of academic credentials and accreditation of academic institutions to verify that the academic institution was properly recognized at the time of graduation. OneHR verifies the accreditation status against the International Association of University’s Database on Recognized Higher Education Institutions. For institutions which are not found in the Database, additional measures will be conducted to examine the accreditation.

What is an employment record verification?

An employment record verification verifies that the information provided in the candidate’s job application regarding previous employment is accurate. This includes confirmation of job titles, dates of employment as well as request for any disciplinary measures. As a standard praxis, OneHR verifies the past ten years of employment history.

What is a qualitative reference check?

A qualitative reference check, also known as a professional reference, is a declaration from a person who can vouch for your qualifications and work-related qualities such as ethics or demonstrated values. It is an important data point in the recruitment process, as this information can attest to your skills, abilities, past performance, and qualifications for the job.

How many and who is accepted as a professional referee?

OneHR will seek verification from a minimum of three professional references, if possible from the current and two previous supervisors. Former and current supervisors have usually had detailed insight in your work and can therefore speak precisely about your skills and abilities.

Who should I list as a reference?

Current and former supervisors, supervisees and clients who have insight in your work are appropriate choices. Although it might be delicate to approach the subject with your current supervisor, please keep in mind that references would normally only be contacted once you are under serious consideration for a job. Be sure to obtain the permission to nominate a person as a reference before you give out their contact information and make it a habit to keep your references appraised of your progress and a heads up if you think they might be contacted.

Can I access the reference letters submitted by my referees?

OneHR will not be able to release copies of the reference letters as they are confidential and only accessible by the hiring unit and the OneHR agent administrating your case.

Who will have access to my reference letters?

The reference check will be available for the hiring unit and the OneHR agent administrating your case. OneHR will store the reference verification in a candidate database until further notice, but only an employer to which you have applied and for which you are under serious consideration will have access to view the outcome of your reference verification. The purpose of this is to reduce recruitment timelines, increase re-usability of already conducted reference checks and reduce the number of times you would be asked to provide a reference when applying to similar jobs.

What security features are surrounding the candidate database?

The database security features abide to the UN data compliance standards and the common system confidentiality practices.

What is my role as a candidate in the reference verification process?

As a candidate you are responsible for liaising with your academic institutions and former employers to request that a confirmation of academic and employment records is being sent to OneHR within the indicated timeline. You will find a detailed description of your role, together with draft communication messages to the academic institutions and former employers, in the email from OneHR initiating your reference verification process.

Who is responsible for paying fees associated to academic title confirmation?

Any fees related to the reference verification, for example university degree confirmation via clearing houses, should be paid by the candidate.

What should I do if I lost my original degrees?

The verification of academic titles is based on a direct confirmation of title or type of degree and period of studies from the academic institution. Please note that copies of degrees are not a recognized source of confirmation.

Will I get notified about the outcome of the verification process?

Candidates are notified once the reference verification has been completed, due to confidentially issues however without any details related to feedback provided by your professional references.

How does the reference check impact my chances of being selected for the position?

The reference check is an important data as it can attest to the candidate’s skills, abilities, past performance, and qualifications for the job. Together with other evaluation methods such as technical assessments and interviews and standards and rules of the hiring office, it will form the outcome of the talent acquisition process.

What happens to my application if my references are incomplete?

Your application may be considered without a complete reference check however please note that your appointment will then be subject to satisfactory reference checks.

Who shall I contact if I need more information or assistance with regards to my reference verification?

Please feel free to contact your designated OneHR agent who’s contact details are listed in the email initiating your reference verification.

-For employers and professional references

The information OneHR has requested is confidential and not authorized to be released to third parties.

Please note that candidates have given their consent to the full release of information about their past work experience, education, performance, and ability. This includes information provided by employers, academic institutions, professional references, governments, law enforcement authorities, the International Criminal Police Organization, the United Nations system and related organizations. A consent form signed by the candidate is available upon request.

What should I take into consideration when providing my reference?

We ask you to be as honest and as specific as possible about the contributions made by the candidate to your organization. As you will notice the standard reference template includes a battery of questions and when filling in the form we ask you to please consider:

  • What made this candidate good at their job?
  • What did the candidate achieve during their tenure?
  • What do you consider being their strongest attributes and where could they improve?
  • What types of assignment would they be a good fit for?

How will the information I provide be used?

The reference check will be made available for the hiring manager and the HR focal point from the organization to which the candidate has applied as well as the OneHR agent administrating the case. It will furthermore be stored in the OneHR database and might be revisited if the candidate applies for another job for which the reference is deemed relevant. The purpose of this is to increase re-usability and reduce the number of times you would be asked to provide a reference for the same candidate applying to similar jobs.

Will the candidate be able to view my reference?

No, the information provided will be treated strictly confidential and will only be made available for the hiring unit from the organization to which the candidate has applied as well as the OneHR agent administrating the case. Candidates are notified of the overall completion of the reference check without any details related to feedback provided by respective referees.

I would like to amend a submitted reference. Is that possible?

Please note that it is unfortunately not possible to add or amend information once the reference is submitted.

I could not complete the reference check within the requested timeframe. Is it possible for me to provide it after the deadline?

Please note that references must be received by the application deadline for the reference to be considered.

What are the implications for the applicant if I do not provide the requested confirmation?

Reference verification is a mandatory step in the staff recruitment process. Incomplete verification could impact the selection decision of candidate.

I have been requested to provide a reference, but I do not have insight the candidate’s direct work or cannot remember the details of the candidates work as many years have passed. What should I do?

If you are not able to act as a referee, we would kindly request that you let the applicant know directly, for them to arrange alternative referees.

I do not feel comfortable writing in English. Can I provide the
reference in my mother tongue?

If you are not able to act as a referee, we would kindly request that you let the applicant know directly, for them to arrange alternative referees.

-For partners

What is the price for each service line?

Kindly contact Mr. Teddy Keya at for a detailed price list.

Is it possible to fast track an important request?

Yes, OneHR is available to attend to fast track requests for certain service lines, please see the service level agreement (SLA) for more details.

For how long will the conducted reference verifications be stored the database?

The candidate database is the main tool to enhance the re-usability of already conducted reference verifications and associated candidate data on file throughout the UN system. Organizations joining OneHR can, as feasible and in discussion with the OneHR IT team, contribute to the database by sharing reference verifications currently on file. As the database continues to get populated it will improve the turnaround time and ultimately costs of the services. It will also contribute to a better experience for candidates and referees. The aim is therefore to store the references for as long as possible, provided consent of candidates and legitimacy of the data.

Will OneHR expand to other service lines?

Yes, this is a possibility as we see and learn from the benefits of working together and delivering as one. OneHR is initially focusing on the two service lines reference verification and job classification given the need for priority mentioned by the Secretary General.

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