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15 Questions to Ask When Conducting A Thorough and Detailed Reference Check

When your company is hiring a new employee in Western New York, you’ll want to run a detailed reference check. This offers insight into a candidate’s employment history, work ethic, and character, and it allows you to bring only the best people onto your team. So, what questions should you ask? Here’s a list of fifteen possibilities.

  1. How Do You Know This Candidate?

    This inquiry is a friendly way to start the conversation. Plus, it provides you with a benchmark. Specifically, is this strictly a professional relationship? Or are the candidate and the reference friends outside of work? Either option is fine. Just keep in mind, if the two people know one another personally, this could slant the recommendation in a more positive direction.


  1. What Were the Candidate’s Dates of Employment, Job Titles, Positions, and Responsibilities?

    Of course, you want to verify what the candidate told you. The reference’s answers should match with the candidate’s resume and interview answers. If you notice any discrepancies, you’ll need to investigate those further.


  1. Why Did the Candidate Leave This Job?

    Once again, the reference’s answer and the candidate’s explanation should be similar. This inquiry can tell you quite a bit about your potential hire’s character too. Is this person primarily interested in making more money, advancing their career, or both? Did they burn bridges or choose a graceful exit? Were they upfront about their desire to switch jobs, or was the announcement a complete surprise to their supervisor?


  1. How Would You Describe This Candidate’s Reliability and Dependability?

    Although this seems like a simple inquiry, it’s important. You may hire an extremely talented individual. Yet, if they arrive to work late and miss deadlines, you’ll have a problem.


  1. What Skills Does the Candidate Have That Will Help Them Succeed in This New Position?

    As part of the discussion, you should briefly outline the responsibilities of the new role. The reference can then help you identify skills that easily transfer from one job to the next. This gives you clues as to how well the candidate could perform for you.


  1. What Are the Candidate’s Strengths and Weaknesses?

    The reference’s responses will allow you to pinpoint top qualifications as well as problem areas. In addition, look for similarities between the references and the candidate’s responses. This indicates not only honesty on the candidate’s part but also self-awareness.


  1. What Was One of the Candidate’s Most Memorable Accomplishments?

    If the reference liked the candidate, they’d probably use phrases like “hard worker” and “team player” throughout your conversation. These glowing reviews are nice, but ultimately, they don’t tell you much. By asking about a specific accomplishment, you can discover something the candidate truly achieved on the job.


  1. How Did the Candidate Handle Mistakes?

    No one is perfect, and even a top-notch employee slips up now and then. Thus, you need to know how a candidate will react when things don’t go as planned. Watch for constructive responses such as “took ownership,” “worked to remedy the situation,” and “learned from their mistakes.”


  1. How Did the Candidate Get Along with Other Co-Workers and Supervisors?

    You don’t want someone who causes friction and division. However, very few people get along perfectly with everyone on their team. Consequently, be on the lookout for overall positive personality traits. You’re hoping for people who are open-minded, cooperative, considerate, responsible, and patient.


  1. What Do You Believe Would Be the Best Work Environment for This Candidate?

    In the end, you’re searching for people who will perform well at YOUR organization, not at someone else’s. Therefore, you’ll need to evaluate your candidate’s work style. For example, let’s say the reference describes the person as “traditional” and “highly-organized.” If your business has a laid-back, open-office format, this may not be a good fit.


  1. What Skills Does This Candidate Need to Work on to Reach Their Full Potential?

    Even though this inquiry may highlight problem areas, you also want to focus on growth and support. If you know where a new employee may struggle, you can proactively provide training and guidance. This, in turn, allows your new hires to reach full productivity faster.


  1. What Advice Can You Give Me to Successfully Manage This Candidate?

    As a person who’s already worked with this candidate, the reference can offer valuable knowledge. You may detect problems and/or receive good advice. For instance, if an individual “works best with some direction,” you may or may not be able to accommodate this management style.


  1. Is There Anything Else I Need to Know That I Haven’t Already Asked?

    You can’t possibly know all the circumstances surrounding a potential employee. Hence, this question serves as a good catch-all. Most of the time, you won’t learn anything new. Nevertheless, it’s worth asking in case you do uncover anything useful.


  1. Would You Recommend I Speak to Anyone Else About This Candidate?

    In almost every situation, candidates are going to list references who will give them positive reviews. As a result, you may wish to talk with someone more neutral. Their original references should be able to point you in the right direction.


  1. If You Had the Opportunity to Rehire This Candidate, Would You? Why?

    While the reference may be able to beat around the bush with the other questions, this is a straight-forward, Yes/No inquiry. Certainly, you’re hoping for an enthusiastic endorsement. If you hear any hesitation or doubt, follow up with additional contacts and/or reconsider your choice.

Do You Need Help Conducting a Detailed Reference Check in WNY?

A thorough and detailed reference check takes both effort and patience. If time-consuming reference checks are interfering with your business’s everyday operations, Metrodata Services is here for you. We’ll contact the right people and ask the right questions so that you can hire the right employees without the hassle. Expedite and improve your hiring process. Learn more about Metrodata’s reference check services today!

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