Comprehensive reference checking is strongly encouraged once you progress to offer stage with a preferred candidate. It is good practice to speak to two or three work-related references.
If the candidates’ current employers do not know they are seeking work elsewhere or you require a reference prior to offering the candidate, we recommend speaking to previous employers. It is important that you obtain consent from the candidate to contact their references and ask employment-related questions.
All questions should be job-related and legal. You cannot ask questions during a reference check that you are prohibited from asking during an interview.
Whilst it is important to tailor questions to your organisation, the following example questions may prove a useful starting point:
In what capacity were you associated with the applicant, and since when?
In what capacity was the applicant employed, and what were their job responsibilities and salary?
Was the applicant successful in fulfilling their duties?
What was it like to supervise the applicant?
Was the applicant a valuable member of the team?
What unique skills did the candidate bring to your organisation?
What were their strengths?
What were their development needs?
Did you ever find it necessary to reprimand or discipline this person? If so, what were the circumstances?
Considering the job being applied for, do you think the applicant is suitable?
Would you employ the applicant again?
Is there anything else you would like to add?