Three Questions to Ask References About Prospective Candidates

Three Questions to Ask References About Prospective Candidates | THE RIGHT STAFF

When interviewing job candidates for your St. Paul company, you likely ask them for professional references. These references indicate a candidate’s knowledge, skills, experience, and accomplishments. This insight helps determine which candidate would be most successful in the role and should be offered the job.

Having questions to ask references about prospective candidates helps uncover relevant details about the candidate and their potential for success in a role. Gaining adequate information helps make the most effective hiring decisions.

Consider asking references these three questions about prospective candidates.

1. Can you tell me about how you and [the candidate] worked together?

Ease into the conversation by asking the reference about their work relationship with the candidate. Use this opportunity to verify what the candidate said.

For instance, find out when the reference and the candidate worked together and for how long. Also, verify the candidate’s job title, duties, and responsibilities. Additionally, learn how regularly and closely the reference and the candidate worked together.

2. What are [the candidate’s] biggest weaknesses? Are there areas where they would require additional support in their first 90 days?

Determine how you can help the candidate become successful in the role. Include whether they are coachable and willing to implement what they learn.

If you receive a general answer, such as, “[The candidate] works too hard,” ask follow-up questions to gather more details. For instance, the candidate might come to work exhausted and have difficulty focusing. Gathering enough insight helps uncover information that otherwise may take months or years to uncover.

3. Can you provide an example of a challenge [the candidate] faced and how they dealt with it?

Learn whether the candidate faces challenges head-on or sits back and lets others handle them. This insight helps determine whether the candidate would contribute to company problem-solving and benefit the organization.

Focus on whether the candidate uses creativity and collaboration to overcome obstacles or expects others to handle them. Ask for specific details about the circumstances, the candidate’s response, and the outcome. Use your findings to make hiring decisions.

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