Effective and Thoughtful Reference Questions

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Reference questions are oftentimes overlooked as a box to check during the hiring process. However, we see it as an opportunity to see the candidate through someone else’s lens; therefore, it is important not to waste it.
We find the trick is to take simple questions and turn them into more thoughtful questions, resulting in more detailed and thoughtful answers. We have shared some of our reference questions below.

Ask this: Based on the role, what do you feel we should focus on during training?
Not that: What are the candidate’s weaknesses and why?

Ask this: Based on the responsibility of the role, do you feel the candidate is qualified?
Not that: How did the candidate perform on the job?

Ask this: Based on the success of this role, upward mobility is achievable. Do you feel the candidate is ready for such a move? Why or why not?
Not that: Is the candidate motivated?

Ask this: Because we have several projects that are ongoing and urgent, we need a candidate who can work well in a result-oriented environment. Do you feel the candidate can achieve success in this fast-paced environment?
Not that: Do they work well under pressure?

Ask this: We need someone who will work on time and work diligently throughout the day. Do you feel the candidate can meet our needs? Can you share what makes you feel this way?
Not that: Is the candidate dependable?

Ask this: In your observation and knowledge of the candidate, how do you feel we could help motivate them and keep them engaged?
Not that: What motivates the candidate?

Typically, once you get dialogue like this going, the rest comes naturally. If you doubt what reference questions you should ask, you can always reach out to your partner at Atrilogy.

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