Questions to ask when checking references

According to Le Tote Director of Talent Acquisition Madan Ahuja, checking references will tell you more about a job candidate than the interview. Talking with an applicant’s current and former employers can offer important insights, he says, into whether your target hire is actually a good cultural fit for your team.

Be sure to ask the right questions when conducting your reference checks, as the process can provide important caveats about the candidate’s skills and personality.

  • What is your professional relationship with (candidate)?
  • Why did he/she leave this role?
  • Can you tell me his roles/responsibilities and a brief description of his/her work?
  • What were some of his strengths and weaknesses?
  • How did he/she react to pressure and deadline?
  • How was his/her communication and relationship with peers/supervisors/subordinates?
  • Any successes that can be highlighted?
  • How did he deal with feedback?
  • What motivates him/her?
  • Would you re-hire?
  • Is there anything else you can let me know about him/her?
  • How is his/her management style? How was he regarded by his subordinates?
  • Feel free to let the reference know about our role and see how they (the candidate) would fit in this role?