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Reference Check Questions

Questions Employers Ask When Conducting a Reference Check


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Prior to making a job offer, a prospective employer is likely to check your references. Many employers won't give out any more information than starting and ending dates of employment and salary information. Others may be willing to discuss your job performance, your work ethic, your attendance at work, your attitude and other criteria that are important to a company when making a decision on whom to offer the job to. In addition to prior employers, the people you have provided as references may also be contacted.

Coach Your Personal References

You can't control what your ex-employer will say about you, but, you can coach your personal references to ensure their answers match yours and to ensure that you are both on the same page when it comes to your work history and abilities. Review these reference check question samples so you, and your references, will know what to expect.

Sample Reference Check Questions

  • When did (name) work for your company? Could you confirm starting and ending employment dates? When did s/he leave the company?
  • Why did (name) leave the company?
  • What was her/his starting and ending salary?
  • What was her/his position? Can you describe the job responsibilities?
  • Could I briefly review (name's) resume? Does the job title and job description match the position that (name) held?
  • Did (name) miss a lot of work? Was s/he frequently late? Were there any issues you are aware of that impacted her/his job performance?
  • Did s/he get along well with management and co-workers?
  • Was (name) promoted while with your company?
  • Did (name) supervise other employees? How effectively? If I spoke to those employees, how do you think they would describe (name's) management style?
  • How did (name) handle conflict? How about pressure? Stress?
  • Did you evaluate (name's) performance? Can you speak to his/her strong and weak points? What was noted as needing improvement during this performance review?
  • What was (name's) biggest accomplishment while working for your company?
  • Would you rehire (name) if the opportunity arose?
  • If I describe the position we are hiring for to you, could you describe how good a fit you think (name) would be for the position?
  • Can you describe this person's experience working as a member of a team?
  • Is there anything I haven't asked that you would like to share with me?

Reference Resources

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