When you're job searching, you can expect to have your references checked at some point during the hiring process. Prospective employers usually check references when you're in serious contention for a job. In some cases, employers may ask for references as early as when you submit your job application.
Reference checks help potential employers confirm that candidates have been honest in their job application and interview responses. What do they want to know? Some of the questions asked when checking references are factual, centering around job title, salary, employment dates, etc. Reference checks are also an opportunity for an employer to get a sense of a candidate's performance on the job and personal qualities. Whether you are an employer checking an applicant's references or a candidate who wants to know what questions are asked during a reference check, there are standard questions that are used to check out prospective employees.
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?
• 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?
• Why did (name) leave the company?
• What was her/his starting and ending salary? (In some locations, employers are precluded from asking about salary due to state and local legislation.)
• 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?
• Can you describe this person's experience working as a member of a team?
• Did (name) prefer to work on a team or independently?
• How did s/he support co-workers?
• What were (name's) strengths and weaknesses as an employee?
• 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 her/his 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?
• Is there anything I haven't asked that you would like to share with me?