Sample Reference Questions

These sample questions can be used when the hiring manager reaches out to perform reference checks using the references the candidate has provided. If a current employer is not listed as a reference, you must first ask the candidate if he/she would be amenable to your contacting the current supervisor for a reference, this step is typically performed for the candidate you are considering as "finalist", who you are now prepared to make an offer to.

  1. Does the candidate have interpersonal skill?
    1. Does your colleague excel at listening to and communicating with others?
    2. Are they a relationship builder?
  2. Is this person adaptable and a good problem-solver?
    1. Do they accept feedback without getting defensive?
    2. How well do they exhibit creativity and self-control under stress?
  3. Does the candidate demonstrate high standards and positive values?
    1. Did your colleague demonstrate a commitment to high standards and other positive values?
    2. Do they treat others with respect?
  4. Is your colleague professional and committed to their field of expertise?
    1. Do they pay attention to details, learn new skills, and stay on top of technologies that are required and industry best practices?
  5. How does this applicant stand out from the crowd?
    1. What makes him or her special?
  6. What are some areas for improvement?
    1. Conversely, in what areas could your colleague do better?
  7. Would you hire or work with this candidate again?
  8. Would you be open to considering a new role yourself?

Additional Reference Check Questions

  1. What was the working relationship you had with this person and at what company? Length of time worked with?
  2. How would you describe their interpersonal skills?
  3. What would you say motivated the individual most?
  4. What would you say are their strongest attributes?
  5. Describe any areas where they could improve (i.e. weaknesses), any examples of prior concerns, and/or any limitations that you have personally observed, that are job-related and attributed to their employment within the last 7 years.
  6. Would you rehire/recommend for rehire?