Download Telephone Reference Form (45 KB)...
Base reference-checking questions on the job-related criteria.
Information received through contacting the candidate's referees regarding past work-related experiences and qualifications, in combination with the information gathered during the interview, will be invaluable in making a good hiring decision. Appropriate references are normally work-related and include, but may not be limited to, current and/or previous supervisors.
The purpose of the reference-check is to verify the candidate's qualifications as they relate to the requirements of the vacant position. The reference-check interview resembles the employment interview in that the questions asked are based on pre-determined selection criteria taken from the Position Summary. Following a specific format and asking previously determined interview questions will help to ensure that the reference check covers all the important areas. See the Telephone Reference Form above for an example of a suggested format and questions.
Plan your call ahead of time. The sequence may not develop exactly as planned; be flexible.
Ask open-ended questions where responses require explanation rather than yes or no answers.
Let the referee talk freely.
Take notes. Probe where more information would be useful.
Assure referee that your conversation is strictly confidential. If you sense hesitation, emphasize that you would really appreciate his/her comments.