5 Follow Up Questions to Ask a Reference

Questions to Ask a Reference- Part 2

Reference checking is a very important step in hiring a potential employee, but many employers skip this step. In the first part of this blog series, we discussed the importance of the reference check and the first five questions you should ask. In this part of the series, we’ll list the final five questions any employer should ask a candidate’s reference.

Questions to Ask a Reference – Part 2

6. What was the candidate's attendance record? Was the candidate on time and dependable?

What is appropriate attendance at one company may be cause for dismissal at another. Be sensitive to extenuating circumstances that may have contributed to poor work attendance, such as illness or family problems. What you are attempting to determine by asking this question is whether this candidate assumed responsibility to show up for work and on time.

7. What areas of development were communicated to the candidate and how did he or she respond?

This question is a good way to get information regarding performance weaknesses that may not have otherwise been volunteered by the reference. Listen carefully as the reference describes how the candidate responded to performance improvement needs and direction.

8. What are the candidate's three strongest qualities?

You may have received various direct and indirect responses to this question, but by asking it at the end of the conversation, you provide the reference with an opportunity to highlight the characteristics that stand out in terms of the candidate's past performance.

9. What was the candidate's reason for leaving the position?

This question should verify the reasons that the candidate provided during the interview for leaving his or her past job. The reason a candidate leaves a position can also help you in determining whether your position will give the candidate what he or she is looking for in a new position.

10. Would you rehire this candidate?

This final question is a defining one. Based upon the response and your evaluation of the other information provided by the reference, this will help you answer your most critical question,


When it comes to checking references, knowing which questions to ask is crucial. For more advice on any job-related questions, contact us today; we’re happy to help.




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  • You made a great point about how asking references about a candidate's strongest qualities can give you a better idea of their past performance. I think that the entire reference-checking process would be much easier with the help of automated software. I'd recommend finding one that has good reviews so you can trust its operations.

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