Checking References: 10 Questions To Ask During Your Conversation


When hiring new employees, checking references is an essential part of the process. Speaking with previous employers or colleagues can provide valuable insights into a candidate’s work ethic, skills, and overall fit for the role. However, it’s crucial to ask the right questions during these reference conversations to gather the most relevant information. Here are ten questions to ask when checking references:

1. Can you confirm the candidate’s employment dates and job title?

Verifying employment details is important to ensure that the candidate’s resume is accurate. Asking for confirmation of their job title and employment dates can help validate their experience.

2. What were the candidate’s main responsibilities in their previous role?

Understanding the candidate’s previous responsibilities can give you an idea of their skill set and how it aligns with the requirements of the position you are hiring for.

3. How would you describe the candidate’s work ethic?

Learning about the candidate’s work ethic can help you gauge their dedication, reliability, and ability to work well within a team.

4. Did the candidate meet or exceed expectations in their previous role?

Asking this question can provide insights into the candidate’s performance and their ability to deliver results.

5. How did the candidate handle challenging situations or conflicts?

Understanding how the candidate handles difficult situations can give you an idea of their problem-solving skills and ability to handle stress.

6. Can you provide an example of a project or accomplishment the candidate achieved while working with you?

Asking for specific examples of the candidate’s achievements can help you assess their capabilities and determine if they would be a good fit for your organization.

7. Did the candidate work well with colleagues and superiors?

Gaining insights into how the candidate collaborated with others can help you assess their interpersonal skills and their ability to work within a team dynamic.

8. Were there any areas where the candidate needed improvement or development?

Understanding the candidate’s areas for improvement can help you determine if they are willing to learn and grow in their role.

9. Would you rehire the candidate if given the opportunity?

Asking this question can provide valuable insight into the overall impression the candidate left on their previous employer or colleague.

10. Is there anything else I should know about the candidate?

Leaving room for any additional information can help uncover any relevant details that may not have been covered by the previous questions.

By asking these ten questions during your reference conversations, you can gather valuable information about a candidate’s past performance, work ethic, and overall fit for your organization. Remember to listen carefully to the responses and take notes to refer back to when making your final hiring decision.