Checking References for Potential New Texas Employees

Professional references offer valuable insight into the character and quality of a job candidate. They also verify whether the potential employee is honest, works well with others, and maintains professional relationships. This article explains how to check a professional reference for a new candidate.

Reference Checking Etiquette

Require the candidate to provide you with a minimum of three (3) professional references. Professional means the candidate worked directly with each reference. Request full contact information for each reference, including:

  • Name
  • Relationship to candidate
  • Position and company
  • Phone number
  • Email Address

Some companies also ask for a mailing address. You probably won’t need that since you likely don’t want to slow the process down by using snail mail.

When you get in touch with a reference, always explain who you are, why you are calling, what your company does, and what responsibilities the job opening includes.

Never make a job offer contingent on the results of a reference check. If you end up rejecting the candidate, you want to avoid liability.

Questions to Ask

Your main goals here are:

  1. To verify the professional relationship
  2. Evaluate past performance

Ask open-ended questions that explore the candidate’s skills, work ethic, and attitude towards others. If the reference was a former employer, ask if he or she would hire the candidate again. If the reference was a former co-worker, ask if he or she would ever work with the candidate again.

I put together a couple of questions you can use when checking professional references. You can download them for free here.

When you complete your reference checks, determine whether the candidate truly is a good fit for both the position and the company. If you make an offer, file all notes from your conversations in the employee’s personnel file.