Reference Checks

The final step in the screening process is to check a person’s references. The best references come from a supervisor who has worked directly with the applicant. When you check a reference it is important to ask the right questions. Here are some questions to ask when you call:

• Ask about the most specific information from the job application.

• Ask about the applicant’s last job, using questions such as: “What types of customers did this person serve in their job?” “How much independence did this person have in their job?” “How complex was this person’s job?”

• Ask the person giving the reference to compare this applicant with other employees at their company performing the same job. Example: “If you gave your worst employee a rating of 1 and your best a rating of 10, what rating would you give this person?”

• Ask the person giving the reference to tell you about how the applicant behaved. Ask for specific information. Example: “Describe a situation in which this person performed exceptionally well or exceptionally poorly.”

• Ask specific questions about how the applicant behaved as they did their job.

• Ask if they would ever rehire the individual. If a reference says ‘no’ ask why?

Be mindful that contacting a current supervisor may place the applicant in a difficult position in their current job. Only contact a current supervisor if it is absolutely necessary, and ask the applicant for permission first.

A template has been created to help you develop questions for a reference. Click Here to view the template.



Understand Bias

Attracting Skill and Talent

Screening Resumes


Reference Checks