Human Resources

Supervisor Policies and Procedures Manual

II. Hiring a new employee

J. Reference checking

Reference checking can give the supervisor appropriate and accurate information about an applicant’s job history. Information gathered through reference checks is confidential and should be communicated only to those who have a business need to know. 

Some general guidelines that may be helpful when soliciting reference information:

  • Review the completed Reed employment applicaiton for the written release from candidates prior to checking references;
  • obtain an applicant's specific permission prior to contacting a current employer;
  • request job-related information that can be verified, such as dates of employment, job titles and duties, length of service in each position, promotions, demotions, attendance, salary, reason for termination;
  • do not ask for subjective information or information that could be considered discriminatory; if the information is offered, ignore it.

Sample questions

  • What was (or is) your relationship to (candidate)? (If person is a current/former employer)
  • What were his/her dates of employment?
  • Beginning date:                                           
  • Ending date:     
  • How long have you known the candidate?
  • What was the nature of his/her job with your institution?
  • For what reason did he/she leave your employment?
  • For what period of time have you worked together? 
  • For what period of time have you known one another? (If person is a personal acquaintance) 
  • Our position requires a successful, demonstrable track record as a manager of people, programs and budgets.  What can you tell me about this candidate’s strengths in each of these areas?  In which areas could the candidate have benefited from additional training or development?  
  • Our position requires excellent oral communication and public speaking skills, effective writing skills, and the ability to listen carefully and quickly synthesize information. What can you tell me about this candidate’s strengths in these areas?  What were the areas in which the candidate could have benefited from additional training or development?  
  • Our position requires self-motivation, an ability to get results, and tremendous energy.  What can you tell me about this candidate’s demonstration, or lack of demonstration, of those characteristics?       
  • Can you give me some examples of occasions when this candidate demonstrated exceptional skill in diplomacy, consensus building and/or collaboration?          
  • Can you give me some examples of occasions when diplomacy, consensus building and collaboration might have been better demonstrated?     
  • If or when you were considering this candidate for a leadership position under your supervision, what qualities would you find most appealing about this person?
    If or when you were considering this candidate for a leadership position under your supervision, what qualities would you find to be of most concern about this person?       
  • Is there anything else you believe is important for us to know but has not yet been asked?     

     


     

last revised: 2/17/2012

last reviewed: 2/17/2012

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