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Digital Reference Check: Key Questions to Ask Job References

Mastering the Digital Reference Check: Key Questions to Ask Job References

As hiring managers navigate the evolving landscape of recruitment, digital reference checks have become an essential tool for gaining deeper insights into potential candidates. While the traditional reference check involves phone calls or emails, the digital era has ushered in a more efficient and streamlined process.

Here are the crucial questions to ask during a digital reference check, ensuring that you extract valuable information to make informed hiring decisions:

1. Can you verify the candidate’s job title, responsibilities, and dates of employment?

This fundamental question establishes a baseline, allowing you to confirm the accuracy of the candidate’s work history as presented in their resume.

2. How would you describe the candidate’s overall performance in their role?   

Invite the reference to provide an overview of the candidate’s performance, highlighting strengths, weaknesses, and any notable achievements. This question gives you a holistic view beyond the specifics of the job description.

3. Can you share examples of the candidate’s key accomplishments or projects during their time with your organization?

Understanding a candidate’s impact on previous projects or achievements provides insights into their skills, work ethic, and ability to contribute positively to your team.

4. How did the candidate handle challenges or difficult situations? 

Assessing a candidate’s problem-solving skills and ability to navigate challenges is crucial. This question provides a glimpse into their resilience and adaptability.

5. Can you comment on the candidate’s interpersonal and communication skills?

Effective communication is vital in any workplace. By delving into the candidate’s interpersonal skills, you can gauge their ability to collaborate and communicate with team members, clients, and superiors.

6. Did the candidate exhibit strong leadership qualities or the ability to work well in a team?   

Tailor this question based on the specific requirements of the role. Understanding how the candidate operates within a team or takes on leadership responsibilities is key to predicting their future performance.

7. How would you describe the candidate’s time management and organizational skills?

Time management is a critical competency for success in most roles. Use this question to explore the candidate’s ability to prioritize tasks, meet deadlines, and handle a demanding workload.

8. In what areas do you believe the candidate could benefit from additional development or training?

No candidate is perfect, and understanding their areas for improvement is crucial for providing targeted support once they join your team.

9. Would you rehire this candidate if the opportunity arose? Why or why not?

The ultimate litmus test: if given the chance, would the reference hire the candidate again? This question can reveal overarching sentiments about the candidate’s overall fit and impact.

10. Is there anything else you think I should know about the candidate that hasn’t been covered?

Conclude the reference check by allowing the reference to share any additional insights. This open-ended question can uncover valuable information that may not have been addressed by previous inquiries.

Digital reference checks offer a powerful tool for hiring managers to gather comprehensive insights into a candidate’s professional history and potential fit within the organization. By posing these strategic questions, you can navigate the digital reference check process with precision, ensuring you have the information needed to make informed and confident hiring decisions.

Reference Checks

Josh Tolan

Josh Tolan is the Founder and CEO of Spark Hire, a video interviewing platform used by 6,000+ customers in over 100 countries.