There is much written about interviewing and questions that candidates may be asked. What is not as available are resources for people after the interview: those conducting reference checks.

I don’t put too much stock in standard reference checks for deciding whether or not to hire a person as almost everyone can find a few people to say good things about them. But I do them anyway, and always do them myself. I want to hear what the person is not saying as much as what they are.

Mostly I do reference checks to learn more about the person I am planning to hire. Reference checks can be of great value in helping shape how you supervise someone and determining what type of training would be most beneficial for your new employee. Other questions may help you know if your environment or culture is a good fit with the person.

I have developed a list of Reference Check Questions to help you think about the things you ask references about your candidate. I always ask #1: “If I were to become her supervisor, what advice would you give me?” Through that one simple question, I have received many helpful tips that started my relationship right with a new employee.

Hiring someone is one of the most important decisions you can make. Use references checks to not only determine if the candidate is a good fit, but how to make them successful if you do make the offer.

beth triplett

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