Four Must-Ask Questions When Validating Employee References

Posted on: 24 September 2017

Before you hire anyone, you should always call at least one of their references to verify that the person is who they say they are -- and that they do, indeed, meet the necessary qualifications for the job. But calling references is not as straightforward as you might hope. In particular, you may not know exactly what to ask. Start off with these four must-ask questions:

What Were The Employee's Responsibilities?

Assuming the reference worked with the employee or was their supervisor, they should have a pretty thorough answer to this question. Check the responsibilities they list off in comparison to those the employee listed on their resume or told you about in the interview. Do they match up, or did the employee seem to exaggerate their level of responsibility?

What Is The Employee's Biggest Downfall?

A good reference is not going to completely throw the employee under the bus here, but what they say can give you some insight into the employee's flaws. (Everyone has a few.) Pay attention to whether or not they hesitate to answer this question. Hesitation may mean there is something they want to mention as a flaw, but won't. On the other hand, if they answer promptly, you can be more assured that the answer they're giving is honest and realistic.

Is The Employee A Team Player?

Most jobs these days require that employees be able to work alone and as a part of a team. But there are more people who struggle with working with others than who struggle with working alone. If the reference states that the employee works well on a team, ask them for an example of this to ensure they have some evidence to back up their opinion and are not just saying what they think you want to hear.

How Was The Employee's Attendance?

The employee might tell you they rarely missed work... but everyone's opinion of "rarely" is different. Getting the reference's opinion on the employee's attendance gives you some more insight into their punctuality and dedication. See if you can get the reference to be specific here. If they had to estimate, how many days per year would they guess the employee missed?

By asking the questions above, you can verify some of the information the prospective employee has given you and hopefully gain some more dependable insight into who they are as a person and whether they're the best hire for you. Contact a company that specializes in employee validation for more information.