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5 Important Questions We Ask in a Reference Check

Whether you are a Hiring Manager or a candidate waiting on an offer, we can all agree that reference checks could be the determining point of whether or not:

  • A Hiring Manager makes a job offer, OR

  • A candidate receives a job offer from an employer

It is one of the most important components of the recruitment process.

To give you an idea of the questions involved in a reference-checking process, I've picked out 5 of the 15 crucial questions we ask the referee every time we conduct a reference check at Kennedy Reid.

1. How well did the candidate accept training and coaching?

This question indicates the candidate's willingness to learn and their ability to follow processes or learn new skills. If the candidate had struggled or had a hard time learning a new system or process in their previous jobs, then we can dive into more detail as to why and bring this to the attention of their future Hiring Manager. This will help the Hiring Manager to plan the onboarding program accordingly or consider whether or not this person will be able to handle the new processes involved in the job.

2. What areas do you see the candidate requiring further assistance or improvement in?

While it’s important to ask about the candidate's strengths, it is as equally insightful to recognise and be aware of what they need help with. With this knowledge, the new Hiring Manager can provide appropriate training for these areas.

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3. How did the candidate perform under pressure?

It is not every day that a candidate will be working under high pressure. However, when they do, Hiring Managers will be interested to know how well the candidate copes with pressure and what is their natural response in a high-pressure situation. This will assist Managers in ensuring appropriate support is given.

4. What were their reasons for leaving?

There can be many reasons for leaving a job, however, what we want to do is make sure the referee's answer is the same answer that the candidate provided to us. This will show that the candidate is transparent with their previous Manager. Major discrepancies between answers can also be flagged for concern.

5. Would you rehire the candidate in a suitable role either there or at a different company?

What we want to hear from this question is “yes!”. If you have worked with a great colleague, you would want to work with them again, regardless of the roles or company.

I hope these 5 questions give you an in-depth insight into what's involved in the reference checking process and why we ask them.

For candidates, I hope it shines some light and makes you more aware of the thinking behind the hiring process.

For employers that haven't used Kennedy Reid before, I hope this shows you the great detail that our consultants go through before presenting candidates to you, and that it is a part of qualifying our top candidates within your industry.

If you would like to be represented by Kennedy Reid as your Candidate's Agent or if you are looking to find top talent within your industry, please get in touch.

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