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Key Questions to Ask When Checking References

By July 8, 2021December 16th, 2022Recruiting

Key Questions to Ask When Checking References

Reference checks or employment verification can provide valuable insight when considering a candidate. The key is knowing what to ask, and how to spot red flags.

Start by creating a list of standardized questions so you can evaluate each candidate equally. Some organizations limit what they will share when verifying employment, we recommend focusing on the topics below:

  • The start and end dates of employment.
  • The last job title held by the employee.
  • The ending pay rate.
  • Indicator of whether the separation was voluntary or involuntary.
  • Indicator of whether the employee is eligible for re-hire.

When contacting each company, confirm you are speaking with a human resources representative. A former colleague or office receptionist does not have access to the information required to answer your questions appropriately. When reviewing answers, here are a few red flags you should watch for:

  • Incorrect or false contact information.
  • Inaccurate descriptions of job history.
  • Unexplained gaps in employment.
  • Documented behavioral issues.

At the end of your call, you should either feel confident in extending a job offer or need to contact the candidate for further explanation.

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