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What Questions Should I Ask Candidate References? 

Interviewing in Buffalo New York

When you’re looking to hire a new employee, contacting references is an essential part of the background check process. So, where do you begin? Here are six smart questions you should ask candidate references.

How do you know the candidate?

Before you begin checking references, make sure your candidate gave you an appropriate list. You want to speak with people who have observed this individual on the job and not someone’s friends. Also, keep in mind, people in various positions will offer unique perspectives. For example, a former boss probably could tell you more about this person’s accountability, while a co-worker would be in a better position to discuss their team spirit.

Tell me about the candidate’s job title, responsibilities, and accomplishments?

This is another fact-checking question. You want to confirm what a candidate told you. And although you’ll need to be on the lookout for inconsistencies and possible exaggerations, recognize you could learn new and useful information too. After all, sometimes modest candidates will downplay noteworthy achievements.

We are looking for someone with these skills… (List three to five.) On a scale of one to ten, how would you rate the candidate in each of these areas?

Ultimately, you want to know if the candidate can do the job. Inquiring about specific skills gives you a better idea of an individual’s abilities. You can use this question for either technical or soft skills. And, if you want to get a clearer picture of a person’s strengths, ask the reference to use numbers only once. In other words, the candidate can’t score a ten (or a nine or an eight…) on more than one skill.

What would be the best type of work environment for this candidate?

Requesting information about a candidate’s ideal work environment is a smart way to evaluate for culture fit. If the reference describes conditions much different than what your company offers, this may not be the right one for your organization.

What do you believe this candidate needs to do to reach their full potential?

No one is perfect. So, find out what this person could do to become an even better employee. You’ll have the opportunity to learn not only about a candidate’s weaknesses but also about their coachability. Is this person willing to improve? Plus, if the reference already mentored the candidate, you could gain insights into what instructional techniques were the most effective.

Would you recommend this candidate? Why?

Wrap up your reference check by asking for the other person’s opinion. This question gets right to the point. If someone seems hesitant to give anything less than a glowing recommendation, you may want to reconsider your choice.

Could You Use Help Running Employee Background Checks in Buffalo, NY?

We get it. Checking references takes lots of time. You have tracked down the right people and ask the right questions. That’s why Metrodata Services offers reference checks as part of our background screening services. We can help you uncover information quickly so you can speed up your time-to-hire. Learn more about reference checking through us today!

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