Comprehensive Candidate Screening – Effective Reference Checks
One of the most important steps in Comprehensive Candidate Screening is checking references. Yet, references are often disregarded due to time constraints, lack of resources, or personal familiarity with the candidate.
Checking references highlights historical accomplishment and is a good barometer or indicator of future performance. Speaking with those who have worked with the candidate helps confirm the applicant’s resume information, provides insight on skills, knowledge, and abilities, and helps determine if they are well suited for the role.
Prior to checking references, it is vital to allow the candidate to consent to gather employment-related information and assure them all feedback is private and confidential. According to go2HR, “A common mistake is asking the applicant to choose their references.” Instead, candidates should be told that you wish to speak to individuals who have directly supervised them and can provide feedback on their history working with kids and youth.
Before contacting references, it is best to create a list of job and role-specific questions. Keep in mind; you cannot direct questions to a person providing a reference that are illegal to ask a candidate during the interview. Questions that are prohibited include any topics around race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, pregnancy or marital status, citizenship, and age.
Here is a list of questions to ask references that can be customized to your organization, the role, and any candidate considerations for working with kids and youth.
- What was your role with the applicant? Were they a direct report or part of a team you managed? Please provide a timeframe for overseeing the candidate.
- What were the candidate’s role and responsibilities with your organization? Were they successful in carrying out their duties?
- What was it like to oversee the candidate? Please provide an example of a management directive.
- Was the applicant a contributing member of the team? What skills, knowledge, or unique abilities did they provide?
- What is the top strength of the candidate? You can tailor this question to obtain feedback on working with kids and youth.
- What is the candidate’s weakness or area of improvement?
- Please describe the applicant’s record of being absent on the job. Is it more or less than other team members?
- Has disciplinary action ever been necessary with the applicant? If so, please elaborate on the circumstances.
- Based on the description of the role I have provided and reviewed at the start of our conversation, do you think the applicant is suitable and a good fit for the position?
- Why did the applicant leave your employment?
- Would you rehire the candidate for another role in your organization? Please elaborate on why or why not.
- Is there anything else you would like to share about the candidate?