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Recruitment: What kind of questions should you ask referees?

by , 27 October 2014
To get useful information about the candidate, there are five sources to get references. You can get information from:

• Previous or current supervisors;
• Employees the person has managed;
• Board members (if the position is senior-level);
• Former colleague; and
• Social networking sites.

But what kind of questions should you ask when you get hold of these people?

Read on to discover some of the questions you must ask referees so you can get the most out of your reference checks.


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When recruiting, ask referees these questions

 
When conducting reference checks, start by confirming you're speaking to the right person.
 
Introduce yourself, state what company you're calling from and the purpose of your call.
 
You can start by asking questions related to the candidates CV. This includes asking about:
 
  • Dates of employment;
  • Official title on leaving;
  • Salary incl benefits; and
  • Reason for leaving.
 
You can then check how the answers compare to what the candidate said.
 
After this, you can ask the following questions. They will help you assess the suitability of the candidate and how he's performed in the past:
 
  • If he had any personal problems of any nature, did these interfere with the job? If so, how?
  • How did he get along with other people, for example, fellow colleagues/peers, management, clients, suppliers, etc?
  • Did he work as part of a team or was he an independent worker?
  • How would you rate his levels of integrity/loyalty/dedication/honesty?
  • How would you describe his work habits?
  • How would you describe the quality of work performed?
  • Can you describe any major accomplishments?
  • Did the candidate learn easily/was easily teachable?
  • How did the candidate handle criticism?
  • What are his strengths?
 
These are just some of the questions you must you ask referees to get the most from your reference checks.
 
We recommend you check out the Practical Guide to Human Resources Management. It has a template you can use to ensure you ask all the relevant questions and can see if the information the candidate supplied ties up with the answers.


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