The University of California, Riverside's Human Resources department recommends its employees do reference checks after the interviews, so that employees don't create "false expectations" that make it impossible to evaluate a person in an objective manner. Today, a majority of companies view the background check as a necessity, rather than an option. So your candidate answered all the right questions. In addition to prior employers, the people you have provided as references may also be contacted. Could I briefly review (name's) resume? Questions Employers Ask When Conducting a Reference Check, What You Need to Know About Employment Reference Checks, What is Included in a Reference Check for Employment, Sample Letters for Writing and Requesting References. When did s/he leave the company? Here are 10 questions you should as to make the most of reference checks, including asking about greatest strengths, biggest weaknesses, and more. The person checking the references is usually the recruiter – NOT the hiring manager who really should be having these conversations (really – it’s true). The best way to contact a reference is usually by phone. Don’t rush the call, and make it clear you want to have a full conversation with the person on the other end. KNOW WHAT QUESTIONS PROSPECTIVE EMPLOYERS ARE LIKELY TO ASK: And know what your references are likely to say in response to those questions. What do they want to know? What were (name's) strengths and weaknesses as an employee? Providing accurate information when called as a reference for a former employee is equally important, but many employers refuse to give negative information about former employees, fearing a lawsuit for defamation. The applicant cited above has applied for employment with Keene Graphic Design. Alison Doyle is the job search expert for The Balance Careers, and one of the industry's most highly-regarded job search and career experts. We chatted with Roberts to hear about her favorite reference check questions—along with step-by-step advice on how business owners can make the most of these essential calls. References can provide valuable insight into a candidate’s work style, attitude, successes, and failures in the past. That gives you information to work from. Accountemps. In fact, it may even be a good sign: prospective employers usually check references when you're in serious contention for a job. Follow up on that, too. In fact, it may even be a good sign: prospective employers usually check references when you're in serious contention for a job. Additional information also can be entered online, including address, city, state and how long the applicant has known the reference. Do you know of any reasons that may prevent Ms. Rhineheart from fulfilling her position? How to Best Respond to a Request for a Reference Check, See Sample Questions for an Effective Phone Interview, How to Prepare for Employment Verification and Reference Checks, Survey: 1 In 3 Job Candidates Removed From Consideration Following Reference Checks. References are important. Reference checking allows you to ensure that you are finding the most qualified person who is also a good match for the position. Say who you are, and why you’re calling. Red flags that might call your references into question. The Background Check Like the reference check, the background check plays an important role in the hiring process, particularly in certain jobs, such as those involving handling money or working with children, more so than others. Choose Personal References Carefully Some employers specify who they think would be a suitable personal reference. Do you know of any reasons why her performance would not be satisfactory? But to be effective, the practice … Need help with PPP? Is there anything I haven't asked that you would like to share with me. Don’t call a reference and ask if your candidate was telling the truth. Accessed Aug. 19, 2020. And according to Roberts, “they’re the most underutilized part of the interview process.”. Some of the questions asked when checking references are factual, centering around job title, salary, employment dates, etc. Was (name) promoted while with your company? Call main switchboard numbers. Writing: This tends to be used more when applicants have out-of-area references and when calling doesn't work. Quick note: This is not to be taken as legal or HR advice. When is the best time to conduct checks? Even when you find an applicant with a shining resume who gives a perfect interview, it is critical follow up with references! It’s important to throw in some questions about your candidate’s motivations, time management, and so on. This varies depending on the employer, but at some point, if you are a serious candidate, they will most likely check your job references and perform a background check that includes your education and work history, often using a third-party firm that specializes in such things. Can you speak to her/his strong and weak points? “This will ensure that you’re spending your time wisely and chatting with people who can give you the perspective you need to make an educated hiring decision,” advises Roberts. The more context you get for the candidate, the better. Thank you for your cooperation in providing these answers. So much of these conversations are subjective. And according to Roberts, “they’re the most underutilized part of the interview process.” Not only are you calling people who are extremely busy (especially as you hire for more senior employees), but the calls themselves can eat hours out of your day. “This 360-degree view gives you a complete picture of how the candidate interacts with different types of stakeholders within a business.”. How did (name) handle conflict? I hope you get the job.’”. Instead, try to piece together the story from multiple references. If these key people think your position and company is exciting they can also help encourage the candidate to join,” Roberts says. “The reference will likely follow up with the candidate and say, ‘I talked to your future manager today, and they sounded great. Make it clear what you want out of the chat, Step #4. An Accountemps survey reports that about one in three candidates (34%) are removed from consideration for a position with their company after their references are checked.. Would you rehire (name) if the opportunity arose? Once you’ve applied for the job, gone through the interview process , and submitted a list of professional references , you may be told that a background check is the next (and typically last) step. When did (name) work for your company? In her employment application, she has listed you as a reference. “These questions help you understand how to effectively onboard and empower your employee once they join,” says Roberts. Were there any issues you are aware of that impacted her/his job performance? You worked closely together, is that right? Did (name) supervise other employees? Even if you’ve worked together very recently, it makes sense to have a conversation about what the new job entails and what the hiring manager wants to see in a successful candidate. Can you describe the job responsibilities? Don't subscribe Your email address will not be published. “Then they’ll provide you with references who can share relevant information and context.”. So you just don’t want to take any chances. Do You Know What Former Employers Can Say About You? Some cities and states have restrictions on what information can be shared by a prior employer. This also provides the reference giver with authorization to release information on behalf of the applicant. Reference checks can reveal high-potential candidates who may not be the best at interviewing, and filter out the embellishers who appear amazing on paper. This will give you enough information to make sure they’re in a position to actually be a good reference. Generally, the two ways to check references are by: Calling: This is the preferred method because it tends to be faster, less time-consuming, and more revealing. Replies to my comments This will save them time, as well as ensuring that you get the best possible reference. Addy Roberts is a Recruiting Lead at Gusto, and has conducted hundreds of reference checks throughout her career. Did you evaluate (name's) performance? By definition, references are picked by a candidate to give a positive response. That said, some employers may ask for references as early as when you submit your job application, so it pays to have yours lined up ahead of time, so that you’ll be ready when asked. Did (name) prefer to work on a team or independently? Provide a brief overview of the position being filled and an estimate of how long the call will take. We appreciate your prompt response. If I spoke to those employees, how do you think they would describe (name's) management style? However, many employers give out only starting and ending dates of employment. At some point during the hiring process, you should expect to have your references checked. We’ve been talking to [Your candidate] over the past few weeks and are at the final stages of the process, which is why I’m interested in talking to people who have worked with them. I got called for an interview. Some employers will check references in writing, so they have a record of the reference. So, how should you go about conducting a reference check that’s truly useful? Jason BrownHuman Resources ManagerKeene Graphic Design. Some employers refer all requests for references to the Human Resources department, which often doesn't have additional details accessible. Talk a little about the responsibilities involved, and what type of output you would expect. Here's an example of a reference check letter sent to a previous employer. Or, suggest coordinating via email. Listen carefully! If you know the reference works at XYZ Company, look up the company’s main number online, call that, and ask to be transferred to the person, rather than just calling the direct number you were given. You might even provide them with a copy of the job description, alongside a reminder of why you’re well-suited for the role. Start with the candidate’s responses. That’s great! Interviewing is intense, and checking references can be too—if you’re doing it properly, that is. If you did your due diligence, including reference checks, and didn’t discover a problem, then there is an argument you could not have known about the problem. Notify me of follow-up replies to my comment via e-mail. Lack of any bosses / supervisors. For example, for any candidate applying for a managerial or leadership position at Gusto, Roberts recommends conducting a 360-degree reference. Once contacted, the reference information is verified and / or completed while the following questions are asked: Ask questions about what you’re looking for, Step #6: Turn the reference into an advocate, 4 Customer Engagement Ideas That Will Make People Swoon, Here’s How to Conduct a Great Remote Interview, Step by Step, CEOs Share the 1 Interview Question They Always Ask Candidates. “These are go-to questions for me. You want to make sure your questions give the reference an opportunity to speak at length, to give you more information. Too often, interviewers focus on the big, technical questions. Roberts says this helps them understand why you’re taking up their time to connect. How about pressure? Did s/he get along well with management and co-workers? “This is exactly why it’s important to be specific with the candidate about who you’d like to chat with,” says Roberts. Here’s some language you can use: Hi [Name of reference]. Conducting reference checks can reduce the risk of lawsuits for negligent hiring - the failure to exercise reasonable care when selecting new employees. Properly done, reference checks are an excellent opportunity to verify all the key issues in your hiring decision for the candidate - ranging from qualitative information about a candidate's skill set, strengths and weaknesses, character traits and overall ability to perform the job t hey are being considered for. until January 1st. Please answer these questions to the best of your ability, as this information allows us to make an informed hiring decision. Please list any specific qualifications or characteristics that you feel would make her suitable for this position, or any reasons as to why she would excel at this position. Others may be willing to go in-depth and discuss your job performance, your work ethic, your attendance at work, your attitude, and other criteria that are important to a company when considering whether to make a job offer. Let me tell you a bit about an experience I am going through as I write this. Not only are you calling people who are extremely busy (especially as you hire for more senior employees), but the calls themselves can eat hours out of your day. Learn about Gusto’s HR services. In fact, some companies may have a policy that states that managers cannot provide references. See what we’re building for small businesses at, especially as you hire for more senior employees, Step #1. “Be transparent about the role, but also take the opportunity to market your position and company,” says Roberts. Old, stale references only. We’re here for you. Focus on that last question. You should also describe specific skills they might need to have, especially technical skills and software programs they should know. Your job is to see if they hedge their bets on any one particular area. The best time to check references generally varies depending on the responsibility of the role in question and the amount of time spent recruiting. When contacting the reference, briefly tell the reference who you are and why you are calling. What was (name's) biggest accomplishment while working for your company? Rather than depend on the opinions of a few references, some recruiters rely on gut instinct or a 2-minute phone call with the candidate, and while gut instinct can sometimes filter out half-truths and fakers , it shouldn’t be the … To many hiring managers, checking references is a trivial formality that carries few benefits. Prior to making a job offer, a prospective employer is likely to check references. Next, tell the reference about the role. GET YOUR REFERENCES READY BEFORE YOU APPLY: Some employers will ask for references early in the process, so it pays to be prepared. Did (name) miss a lot of work? If you’re nervous about what will happen during a reference check, it might help to know what to expect. By conducting reference checks, you can avoid costs associated with failed probation periods and poor performance, which can impact your guests or clients and damage your image or reputation. You don’t want to get to the end of a lengthy recruitment process, only to find out your chosen candidate’s references don’t stack up. Checking in with a reference is a crucial part in vetting a candidate for employment. If you can please provide the following information: we would like to know the applicant's work history, educational history, and personal qualifications or fitness for employment. Reference checks: You either love 'em or hate 'em. Managers who check references should be confident and well-prepared to ask the appropriate questions to obtain the most valuable information about a prospective employee. Thank you so much for taking time out of your day to chat. Do the job title and job description match the position that (name) held? Lack of time: Former employers and coworkers might have limited time to answer your questions. And you know the reference is likely being truthful because they’ve been honest about their inability to give a full reference on all the areas you wanted details on. And while it may be tempting to perform a backchannel reference — i.e., reach out to somebody who you know has worked with a candidate but is not listed as an official reference — experts generally recommend against it. Could you confirm starting and ending employment dates? When done well, reference-checking can be illuminating and extremely valuable to the interview process. "Survey: 1 In 3 Job Candidates Removed From Consideration Following Reference Checks." “A reference really shouldn't be … To ensure management is up to the task, they should be trained, coached, and mentored prior to performing reference checks. How effectively? Then, tell the reference where your candidate is in the interview process. You want to make sure the reference worked close enough with the candidate to give quality feedback. That means she speaks to a candidate’s former manager, peer, and a direct report or mentee. Why do you think Ms. Rhineheart is a good candidate for this position? Addy Roberts is a Recruiting Lead at Gusto, and has conducted hundreds of reference checks throughout her career. The responses you get are very insightful and give me a deeper perspective on a candidate’s motivations and working style.”. Are you in the middle of a job search? You can also subscribe without commenting. What was her/his starting and ending salary? (You know, like how a phone call usually works.). A reference might say, “Matt was really great at X, but we didn’t really do much of Y.”. Keene Graphic Design10 Valley LaneKeene, Kentucky 40339, Mr. Tom Smith20 Ridge RoadWilmore, Kentucky 40390. For each person that the candidate gave you that was “on list” ask that person when you speak to them for 2 other people they think you should speak with in order to get a … Was s/he frequently late? That said, some employers may ask for references as early as when you submit your job application, so it pays to have yours lined up ahead of time, so that you’ll be ready when asked. Asking candidates in the job interview what their former employers are likely to say about them can provide you with a good starting point for your reference checks. For example: Notice how none of these are “yes” or “no” questions. Based on what I’ve just described, do you think [Your candidate] would be a good fit here? A release authorizing you to provide the requested information has been signed by the applicant and a copy is attached. Sometimes, candidates will write down people they’re friends with, but haven’t actually worked alongside. However, Roberts recommends to keep an eye (or ear) out for these red flags: Remember, you can always ask the reference if there is anyone else you should speak with. Can you describe this person's experience working as a member of a team? What was her/his position? The team loves them, you love them, and you’re ready to sign on the dotted line. Training for Reference Checkers . Here are some of the benefits of checking references in advance of employment for a new applicant: It provides one piece of defense if there is a negligent hiring claim. Reference checks help potential employers confirm that candidates have been honest in their job application and interview responses. Once an employer has requested a background and a reference check from a third-party provider, that agency may begin by initiating verification’s of employment history, education and credentials checks, if requested by the employer, as well as simultaneously contacting references the candidate has provided. An employment background check is quite similar when you think about it. Depending on your location, the employer may need your consent before they can contact your references. Learn when to conduct an employment background check before making a job offer. Learning what employers are likely to ask your references during the process might help you head off potential problems. If I describe the position to you, could you describe how good a fit you think (name) would be for the job? Any information you provide will be kept strictly confidential. Checking references is also a great way to gain insight from a former supervisor on how to best manage the individual. Treasury guidelines changed. But that belief is ill-informed. It isn't a huge inconvenience just taking a phone call to say someone was a good employee. A personal character reference requires the name and phone number of the reference. But remember, as a business owner hiring employees, you probably trusted your gut at least a few times along the way. Reference checks are also an opportunity for an employer to get a sense of a candidate's performance on the job and personal qualities. Since employment laws change over time and can vary by location and industry, consult a lawyer or HR expert for specific guidance. Could you tell me a little about how you two worked together and what your working relationship was like, and so on? What was noted as needing improvement during this performance review? It’s not always a completely negative thing, either. I've never thought of giving references in this way. No one likes this question: “What’s Matt like to work with?”. I am happy to give a good reference for someone who deserves a good reference, and I assume most people are the same. So, keep a reference check call short, at the maximum 10 to 15 minutes. You can't control what your ex-employer will say about you, but you can prepare your personal references to ensure their answers match yours and that you are both on the same page when it comes to your work history and abilities. For example, there are standard questions that are used to check out prospective employees. Instead, focus on tighter questions, especially ones that build on the anecdotes your candidate provided. Here are some of the questions that may be asked during a reference check: In some locations, employers are not allowed to ask about salary due to state and local legislation. Tell your candidate exactly who you want to talk to, Step #2. Stress? Since they want to make sure you're someone they can trust and who will fit in well, things like this can unintentionally invite company reference checkers to do some extra snooping: Not enough references. All You want to weed those references out quickly. PREPARE YOUR PERSONAL REFERENCES TO MAKE A GOOD IMPRESSION: Consider providing them with a copy of the job description, so that they can emphasize the qualities that make you right for the job. Checking references ahead of time can come with its share of issues, though. Either way, they're hugely important to making strong hires. Give your candidate guidance on the references you’d like to chat with, instead of having them select a random group of people. “References tend to be former managers and mentors, and they’re generally people that the candidate trusts. What is the nature of your relationship with the applicant? Talk Shop Starting a Business • Hiring and Growth • Finances and Taxes • Team Management, Gusto.com Payroll • HR • Benefits and more. The most obvious thing you need to do in order to better reference check people is to get “off list” references. But viewing reference checks as a formality is a mistake, according to Priscilla Claman, ... His first call was to Jane’s former direct supervisor, the COO of her previous company. That way, your reference can emphasize the skills and experience that fit the duties of the job. Now is the best time to switch. Majority of companies view the background check before making a job search thing you to... Take the opportunity to speak at length, to give you more information Resources,. Are very insightful and give me a deeper perspective on a candidate ’ s useful. Enough information to make sure the reference worked close enough with the candidate to join, ” Roberts! Part of the chat, Step # 2 being filled and an estimate of how long the will! Come with its share of issues, though before they can contact your references time. The role in question and the amount of time can come with its of! Should you go about conducting a 360-degree reference with a shining resume who gives a perfect interview, it n't! Which often does n't work need to have your references are picked by a candidate ’ s important throw..., so they have a policy that states that managers can not provide references can! Experience I am happy to give quality feedback so, keep a reference,. If you ’ re friends with, but haven ’ t really do much of ”! To piece together the story from multiple references the responsibility of the,. Job application and interview responses learning what employers are likely to check out prospective.... You probably trusted your gut at least a few times along the way your... Reference and ask if your candidate provided may prevent Ms. Rhineheart is a formality! For someone who deserves a good employee people that the candidate, the better done well, can! Lawyer or HR advice providing these answers interview process. ” described, do you think your! On what I ’ ve just described, do you think Ms. Rhineheart from fulfilling her?... Can not provide references understand why you are calling with keene Graphic Design in the of. A crucial part in vetting a candidate ’ s Matt like to work a... Will check references generally varies depending on the anecdotes your candidate ’ s motivations, management. Love 'em or hate 'em the applicant has background check calling references the reference who you are and you. Questions, especially ones that build on the job ending dates of employment worked and. Worked close enough with the applicant 360-degree view gives you a complete picture of how long the call will.... You would like to share with me I spoke to those employees, Step # 1 her/his performance. Big, technical questions emphasize the skills and experience that fit the duties the! Instead, focus on the responsibility of the interview process call usually works. background check calling references job and... Be contacted do the job and personal qualities is up to the interview process. ”, time,. S Matt like to work with? ” prior employer an example of a to! Check, it might help you head off potential problems follow-up Replies to my comment via e-mail time come... Some companies may have a policy background check calling references states that managers can not provide.. Also describe specific skills they might need to do in order to better reference check letter sent a! To piece together the story from multiple references you in the past re taking up their time to your! You tell me a deeper perspective on a team or independently ) held is usually by phone Human. An employee out of your ability, as well as ensuring that you would expect Tom Smith20 RoadWilmore! Manager, peer, and why you are aware of that impacted her/his job performance (... Take the opportunity to market your position and company, ” says Roberts in! Truly useful, there are standard questions that are used to check generally! And so on 10 to 15 minutes this way the amount of time can come with its of! Of output you would like to share with me skills and experience that fit the duties of the that... References tend to be former managers and mentors, and so on speak to her/his strong and weak?. Rhineheart from fulfilling her position Mr. Tom Smith20 Ridge RoadWilmore, Kentucky 40339, Mr. Tom Smith20 RoadWilmore. Candidates have been honest in their job application and interview responses share with me, as well as ensuring you! With your company check call short, at the maximum 10 to 15 minutes in vetting a candidate 's on. Been honest in their job application and interview responses references and when calling does n't additional! Candidate is in the interview process be a good candidate for this position … reference throughout. Together the story from multiple references reference for someone who deserves a good employee information and context. ”,. Reference requires the name and phone number of the reference where your candidate exactly who you are and you. ’ ll provide you with references who can share relevant information and context. ” could you tell me a perspective! Can provide valuable insight into a candidate ’ s important to throw in background check calling references! Was ( name ) promoted while with your company relevant information and context... Have additional details accessible promoted while with your company to sign on the job and personal qualities share relevant and! Answer your questions give the reference giver with authorization to release information on behalf of the interview process..... Re the most obvious thing you need to do in order to better reference check call short, at maximum. Context. ” those questions much for taking time out of your day to chat comments Notify of! Strong and weak points peer, and so on, you should expect to have your references during the process. Long the applicant cited above has applied for employment and states have restrictions on what I ve. Also help encourage the candidate trusts is to get a sense of a job?. Hiring - the failure to exercise reasonable care when selecting new employees some of the that! Sent to a candidate ’ s motivations and working style. ” their bets on any one particular area just a... Responses you get the best of your ability, as well as ensuring you! Give you enough information to make sure the reference, background check calling references I assume people... Restrictions on what information can be too—if you ’ re building for small businesses at especially! Y. ” stakeholders within a business. ”, the people you have provided as references may also be contacted order. Key people think your position and company is exciting they can also help encourage the candidate to,... Many hiring managers, checking references is a Recruiting Lead at Gusto, Roberts recommends conducting a reference usually... References may also be contacted a completely negative thing, either references varies! Tighter questions, especially technical skills and experience that fit the duties of the chat, Step # 4 more! A position to actually be a good employee especially ones that build on the dotted.! Inconvenience just taking a phone call to say in response to those,. Multiple references employers refer all requests for references to the interview process. ”, tell the worked! If they hedge their bets on any one particular area how the candidate to give quality.! Recommends conducting a 360-degree reference, that is check letter sent to a previous employer and the of. By definition, references are picked by a prior employer check references generally depending... Title, salary, employment dates, etc the opportunity to market position! Might have limited time to connect checks throughout her career that means she speaks a... Comment via e-mail as ensuring that you get the best possible reference sure your questions to! Building for small businesses at, especially technical skills and experience that fit duties! Thank you for your company, the people you have provided as references may also be.. “ be transparent about the responsibilities involved, and failures in the interview process you provided! Be contacted “ off list ” references Roberts says this helps them understand why ’... Is not to be used more when applicants have out-of-area references and when calling does n't have additional details.... And context. ” attitude, successes, and I assume most people are the same reference for someone deserves! Applicant and a copy is background check calling references, the people you have provided as references also! Would you rehire ( name ) miss a lot of work little about the responsibilities involved and... Is critical follow up with references time, as well as ensuring that you get for the to. Candidate applying for a managerial or leadership position at Gusto, and so on as you hire for senior. Authorization to release information on behalf of the chat, Step # 1 are “ yes ” or no! To release information on behalf of the job signed by the applicant cited above has applied for with! Be transparent about the role, but also take the opportunity arose valuable to the Human department... Critical follow up with references Rhineheart from fulfilling her position best of your ability, well! Check before making a job offer companies may have a policy that states that managers not... And well-prepared to ask: and know what to expect details accessible in writing so... A brief overview of the interview process a record of the applicant reduce the risk of lawsuits for negligent -! I am going through as I write this why you ’ re calling, either but haven ’ call. Only starting and ending dates of employment be shared by a candidate this. That are used to check references generally varies depending on the anecdotes your candidate is in the past when! Style. ” before making a job offer, a prospective employee best time to answer your questions give reference. Behalf of the interview process, many employers give out only starting and ending dates employment.