Top Questions to Ask When Checking References

free applicant tracking systemWelcome back! In our last blog post, we began discussing references and why it’s important to check them before hiring a candidate. You’ll gain insight into what kind of asset they’ll be for your company. You can ensure that the information they’ve provided on an application or resume is accurate, and more. We also talked about various questions you might ask while checking a reference.

Today, we will go into more detail offering up the best questions to ask during this process.

The Best Questions for Reference Checking

In our last post, we gave you the following list of general questions to ask:

  • Is the applicant suitable for the available position, in your opinion?
  • Was there ever a need to discipline or reprimand this candidate? If so, could you tell me about the situation?
  • In relation to other employees, would you please describe their absenteeism record?
  • What were their responsibilities?
  • What salary was being offered when their employment ended?
  • What was the applicant’s start date?
  • How long were you associated with them?

Did you know that a bad hire could cost your company more than $20,000? That’s why it’s important to conduct reference checks as well as ask the right questions when talking with previous employers. Below, you’ll find a list of the top questions to ask, so that you’re not only asking general questions, but also ones that will help you make the best decision for your company.

  • Would you please describe the candidate’s work performance from their start date to end date?
  • What is your relationship to the applicant?
  • Were they responsible for performing specific tasks, aside from daily duties? If so, were they accountable for them?
  • What was it like working with the candidate?
  • Were they a respected team member?
  • Did the candidate fulfill their daily duties without issues or hindrance?
  • Did they bring any type of unique skill to the company?
  • Did the applicant receive any promotions while working for you?
  • Were any demotions received during the duration of their time working for you?
  • What were the candidate’s weaknesses?
  • What were their strengths?
  • Was there need for improvement at any point?
  • Why did they leave your company?
  • Would you rehire this candidate? Why? Why not?
  • Does your company policy allow you to rehire them if you wanted to?
  • Is there anything else you’d like to add to this discussion?
  • Is there anything else about this candidate that I should know about?

These questions are important when checking references, as they’ll offer you a better idea of what to expect should you choose to hire the applicant. It’s always a good practice to check with previous employers before making a choice. Some employers will only check personal references, but in the case of making the best hiring decision, professional references from previous supervisors or managers are key. We hope these questions help you in your search for the best candidate!

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