When Checking References, Should You Ask, “Why Shouldn’t I Hire [NAME]”?

Talking to a candidate during an interview, asking commitment-level interview questions, and reviewing their resume gives you a lot of useful information. You’ll learn about their background, education, work history, and career passion. But how do you know what it’s like to work with someone? This information you can get from contacting a candidate’s references. But are you wondering what to ask candidate references once you get in touch?

It’s a common thing many employers wonder, actually! So you’re definitely not alone.

Reference check questions template

You can prepare to contact references when you put together a list of the questions you’d like to ask—a template of sorts. It’s a good idea to contact a reference by phone. You’ll be able to hear their tone of voice and get a better understanding of their true feelings for working with the candidate. This is harder to deduce over email.

Include the following in your reference check questions template:

1. Why SHOULDN’T I hire [name]? You may not want to lead with this question, as it could put the conversation on a negative note. After all, you’re interested enough in the candidate to want to know why you SHOULD hire them. Still, asking this question will help the reference give you honest and candid information.

2. What was it like to work with [name]? Yes, they may be qualified, but will they fit into your company culture? Are they simply telling you what you want to hear during their interview? Get a better understanding of a candidate’s personality when you add this to your list of questions you should ask candidate references.

3. What was [name]’s strongest quality or biggest accomplishment? The candidate may have already told you what he or she is proudest of, but what is the opinion from another point of view? You may even discover important skills or talents a candidate didn’t realize were important to mention. This question is important to ask professional references, and can also be added to a list of questions to ask personal references.

4. Would you hire [name] again if you could? This is a big one. At the end of the day, was the candidate enough of an asset to the company that a manager would make the same hiring decision all over again? If an employer says yes to this question, it tells you a lot about the work ethic and qualifications of the candidate.

All set with questions you should ask candidate references?

If you’re ready, now it’s time to find some candidates to interview! And Happy Faces Personnel Group can help. We’ll work with you to understand your staffing needs, find candidates who fit, and even cover some (or all) of the hiring process—including commitment-level interview questions. To learn more, contact us today!

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