What Questions Should You Ask a Candidate’s References?

If you are in the recruitment process for many years, then you know well the importance of checking references before hiring a candidate. Even if the applicants cast magic upon you by a shining resume and an impressive performance in an interview, it is critical for you to follow up with the references.

The work style, attitude, and accomplishments of a candidate should be considered as important references that can provide valuable insight into the candidates overall profile.

In this article, we are going to discuss some questions that you need to ask the candidates to make a wise hiring decision. We’ve divided all the questions into two sections- Introductory Questions, and Skill Assessment. Let’s start with Introductory Questions.

Introductory Questions to the Reference:

  • What is the relationship of the reference to the candidate?

This is the basic question with which you should start the session. The main aim of this question is to know how their relationship can help your potential hire. Based on this relationship, you need to determine your approach. For instance, your conversation with an ex-manager of the candidate will not be like a conversation with one of the former colleagues. In most of the cases, the candidates mention their relationship with the reference on their resume.

  • How long has the reference worked with the candidate?

This question will help you understand how closely the reference knows the candidate. For instance, a direct manager of the candidate who has worked with him/her for 5-6 years would have a lot of information about your candidate.

  • What were the key responsibilities of the candidates?

This question will help you understand whether the claims made by the candidate about his/her key roles are true or not. You should also ask the reference how was the candidate’s performance in those roles.

Skill Assessment

  • What are the strengths and weakness of the candidate?

This question will help you to determine how much the candidate is eligible for the position you are offering and how much the candidate will be able to do justice to the assigned responsibilities.

  • What were the accomplishments of the candidate?

This question is meant to explore more about the promotions or appreciation the candidate received for his/her performance.

  • How’s the communication skill of the candidate?

Good communication skill is a vital requirement for every field and position. It helps to build a network of the potential clients and to maintain a friendly environment in the workplace.

  • Was the candidate independent in taking vital decisions related to the work?

It is not possible for the management to guide an employee in taking a decision related to an important assignment. Therefore, each employee should be able to think and take right decisions independently.

  • Why did the candidate leave the position?

If the candidate is a great employee, then what made him/her leave the organization? You should make sure that the reason claimed by the candidate during the interview is right.

Time for Final Assessment

Now when you have all the aforementioned information, you need to consider them to make the final assessment. Listed below are some questions that you should ask yourself to make the assessment easier for you:

  • What do you think about the skills and knowledge of the candidate?
  • How would you like to rate the overall performance of the candidate?
  • Why should/shouldn’t you hire this candidate?

Do you have any other question that can add value to the assessment of a potential candidate that is not covered here? If so, please feel free to let us know.