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Reference Checks

  • A reference check should cover the most recent 5 to 7 years of employment
  • Check at least three references; at least one must be a previous work supervisor.
  • Don't leave a callback if the person you are trying to reach is not available. You may receive the return call when you are unable to discuss the candidate.
  • Identify yourself immediately, explain your position with Luther College and tell the person why you are calling about the candidate.
  • Tell the person about the position for which the candidate is being considered. A better evaluation can be determined if made in a relation to a specific job. The job must be explained completely enough to have meaning.
  • Assure your contact that any discussions you have will be confidential.
  • Ask whether he or she is free to respond to reference questions at this time.
  • Offer to have the person call you back if you sense that the person doubts the legitimacy of your call. If the call is long distance, offer to have the person call you back collect.
  • Try to establish rapport with the person you are calling. Many times a freer exchange of information comes about when the individual you are calling identifies with your organization, and/or position.
  • Ask a general question such as, How do you think the candidate's qualifications fit our vacancy? After the person responds, lead in with more specific question, such as:
  1. What was the nature of the candidate's work with you?
  2. What are the candidate's strengths? Weaknesses?
  3. How did the candidate get along with peers/supervisors?
  4. Did you consider the candidate to be reliable?
  5. Did the candidate meet commitments?
  6. Would you re-employ the candidate?
  7. Does the candidate communicate well orally and in writing?
  8. How would you describe the individual's technical skills?
  9. How well did the individual manage crisis, pressure or stress?
  10. What positions did the individual hold?
  11. Is there anything else you would like to tell me about the candidate?