You have qualified candidates in mind for an open position at your organization and it’s time for you to call on their references. Before you pick up the phone make sure you’re prepared with appropriate and detailed questions to help you make the right decision for your company.
“Tell me about your work together. When did this take place?”
This verifies the relationship between the reference and the candidate. It also confirms whether the dates they gave for their work history are in fact accurate.
“We are looking to hire _______ for ________ position. It will require this skill set _______. Can you rate how he/she on these competencies?”
This question is important because although a candidate may describe how they are qualified, they may not actually have relevant work experience. This allows a previous manager to give honest feedback you can use to determine if the candidate is suitable for the job.
“What would you say are his/her strengths and weaknesses?”
Many hiring managers will also choose to ask the candidate this exact question. But, it is well known that job seekers often put a positive spin on their work ethic. This will give you a clearer view of the candidate’s abilities.
“Can you tell me about their departure?”
This will allow you to understand the conditions of why they left and whether it aligns with what the candidate previously described. You will be able to get a grasp on whether they left on good terms and if they were well thought of at their previous place of employment.