Most hiring processes require reference checks.  Not all of our employers require reference checks, but when they do, we offer the information below to help them.  We also provide complimentary reference checks for our clients!

  1. Request Professional References Only

Candidates will typically provide you with close friends, however, it is best to have candidates provide professional references only. This provides a more qualified reference since they can provide detail on what the candidate is like in a work-like setting, how they perform and interact with their peers and subordinates.  Some hiring experts recommend getting references from one direct supervisor, one co-worker and one subordinate. By using this method, you get a clearer picture of how the candidate works on every level.

  1. Schedule a Time to Connect with the Reference

Pick a time that works for the person providing a reference.  We know time is of the essence sometimes when you need to make a hire.  However, if possible, it is always good to make sure  the reference you are connecting with has time to talk with you.  We find we get better responses and more detail when time has been set aside for the reference.

  1. Consistency

It is best practice to ask each reference provided the same question.  Of course, depending on how the candidate interacted with the reference questions may change (managers vs. peers vs. subordinates).  Being consistent with questions allows the client to see how each reference responds.

  1. Ask Leading Questions

Instead of, “Did Lindsay exhibit good time management?”, you could present the question as, “Could you describe Lindsay’s time-management abilities?”  This will allow you to get more detail from the reference.  Presenting the question in an open-ended format will prompt the reference to offer specific examples of past events and give context to the qualities discussed.

  1. Ask More Questions

If a reference is giving short answers or not providing enough detail, don’t be afraid to inquire for more. For example, if a reference says, “He was our top performer,” ask more specific questions about what he did well and how he accomplished those goals. By asking more questions you are qualifying your candidate.