13 Questions To Ask During A Reference Check

Hiring a new employee is a big deal. After taking all of the time and energy to post a job ad, sift and sort through resumes, interview candidates, and run a background check, you still need to check a job candidate’s references. Luckily, it’s an easy part of the screening process and requires minimal effort.

Eight Hands Giving Thumbs Up Picture

As you whittle down the candidate list to pick the best person for the job, reference checks will become an invaluable part of the job screening process. Checking references is usually one of the last steps in the screening process. If a job candidate makes it this far, they most likely have a lot going for them. But don’t let that stop you from making a few simple phone calls to double check that you’re making the right hire. You might be amazed at what a reference check will ultimately reveal.

It’s easy for job candidates to look great on paper and to perform well in a job interview, but a reference check dives even deeper into what type of future employee this job candidate might actually be by talking to a real person who has actually worked with the candidate.

With a reference check, you can:

  • Learn more about candidate’s professional background
  • Validate their resume and work experience
  • Check up on their personality skills
  • Ask about their work performance
  • See how they will fit into the company’s culture and with co-workers
  • Find out if they have the skills to do the job
  • Get a second opinion on what a candidate is really like

To get this type of information, you must require that the job candidate supply you with references. It’s smart to always require candidates to supply multiple references. This way you can call more than one. You can also use LinkedIn to find common connections and expand your list of references that you can contact.

Once you have a list of references, take the time to learn more about them to ensure they are legit. Feel free to Google them. Then pick up the phone and give them a call, or better yet, meet them in person if possible. Then it’s time to ask in-depth questions that reveal everything you want to know about a candidate.

Use these reference check questions to learn more about a job candidate:

  1. How do you know the candidate?
  2. How long have you known the candidate?
  3. What was the candidate’s job title and dates of employment?
  4. Describe the candidate’s day-to-day job duties.
  5. Describe the candidate’s work performance.
  6. What are their strengths and weaknesses?
  7. Is this candidate qualified to do this job?
  8. Why did the candidate leave that job?
  9. Where do you see this candidate in five years?
  10. How did the candidate interact with co-workers? Guests? Management?
  11. What else should I know about the candidate?
  12. Would you hire them back?
  13. Should I hire this candidate?

It’s your goal to determine if the reference gives the candidate two thumbs up. The more thumbs up you get, the better your chances of hiring a stellar employee. At the end of the day, a reference check can make or break a candidate’s chance of getting hired.

It’s your duty as a hiring professional to find out as much as you can about a candidate before you officially hire them. You’ll be glad you did when you hire the best person for the job.

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