Reference checking is an important process in the hiring cycle. It helps to ensure that you're making the best possible decision for your company. Reference checks provide insights that go beyond what a candidate tells you in an interview. They also give you a sense of how the candidate has performed in past roles and what others think of their work.
Here are a few key questions you should always ask when reference checking.
What Was the Candidate's Role in Your Company?
When reference checking, you want to get a sense of what the candidate actually did in their role, not just what their job title was. You want to understand their day-to-day responsibilities and how they contributed to the company's overall success. This will give you better insight into whether they have the relevant experience for the role you're hiring for.
In addition, this question can also help to identify any red flags. For example, if the reference says that the candidate was responsible for a task that they later failed at, that's something you'll want to explore further. You want to make sure that you understand the full context of the situation before making any decisions.
How Did the Candidate Handle Challenging Situations?
No matter how qualified a candidate is, they will inevitably face challenges in any role. This reference-check question can help you to understand how the candidate has handled difficult situations in the past. This will give you some insight into how they might handle similar challenges if they were to be hired for the role you're recruiting for.
When asking this question, it's important to dig into the details. For example, you might ask the reference to describe a time when the candidate had to deal with a difficult customer or client.
How did they handle the situation? Did they stay calm and professional? Did they find a resolution that was satisfactory for both parties? Understanding how the candidate deals with difficult situations is important, as this can be a make-or-break quality in any role.
How Would You Describe the Candidate's Work Ethic?
Work ethic refers to the set of values that a person has about their work. It includes things like punctuality, reliability, diligence, and more. This reference-check question can help you to get a well-rounded picture of the candidate and their personal values.
When asking this question, you want to pay attention to the reference's word choice. For example, if they describe the candidate as "punctual" or "reliable", that's a good sign. However, if they hesitate or use words like "sometimes" or "usually," that might be a red flag. You want to make sure that the reference is confident in the candidate's work ethic before moving forward.