Reference Checking Guidelines

Reference Check Form

  • Check 2-3 professional references (current supervisor/previous employers).
  • Contact reference(s) by phone.
  • When contacting the reference, identify yourself, where you work, your position,
    the nature of your call and the identity of the candidate.
  • Inquire if this is a convenient time for them to respond to reference questions.
  • Assure the reference that all discussions will be held in strict confidence.
  • Outline the requirements and duties of the position for which the candidate is being
    considered so that the reference can organize their responses.
  • Be consistent, ask the same questions of each reference.
  • Disregard any information that is not job related.
  • If you receive a negative reference, evaluate the information carefully: is it job-related?
  • Ask the reference if you may call back if you have additional questions.
  • Thank the reference for their time and cooperation.

Sample Reference Check Questions

  • Is reference in a position to evaluate candidate's performance?
  • What are the dates of employment?
  • What position(s) have been held?
  • What are the requirements, duties and skills of this position?
  • How would you rate the candidate's performance (excellent/satisfactory/poor)
    and why?
  • What are the candidate's strengths? Weaknesses?
  • How does this candidate interact with peers?
  • Can you provide examples of how this candidate is self-motivated and/or
    takes initiative?
  • Can you provide an example of how the candidate used time effectively?
    Were assignments completed on time?
  • Can you describe the candidate's oral and written communication style?
  • Would you select this candidate to be part of a team to assist with critical projects?
    Why/Why not?
  • How does this candidate handle pressure/stress?
  • How would you rate this candidate's computer/technical skills?
  • Can you please comment on any additional job-related information of which we
    should be aware?
  • If applicable, why did the candidate leave?
  • Is the candidate eligible for rehire?