Reference Checks: A Client Guide

We thought we would provide a quick guide for clients to look at before skimming the candidate's reference list!
Do I have to conduct reference checks on my own or can mCubed help me?
Reference checks are something entirely optional to conduct on your own when using mCubed Staffing as a resource. We can act as a full search staffing firm or simply source them depending on the preferences of our clients. We always ask our candidates for references and pre-qualify each one individually to ensure we are providing qualified candidates that are immediately ready to be interviewed.
Why check references? What is considered a good reference?
Checking references will provide incredible insight on how the employee will act within an organization. By conducting reference checks, we are able to hear inside information on what the candidate may act like in a professional setting.
While candidates may provide a plethora of references on the sheet, it's important to have a special section to explain what kind of references are preferred and for candidates to list how they knew the reference, if they worked together previously, and other key indicators that confirm it's not just a good friend of theirs. (Obviously we know your best friend is going to try to sell how great of an employee you are, but might not actually know!)
So, what is considered a good reference? Any previous employer, employee, manager / supervisor, schoolmate, professor, or other academic / industry specific professionals the candidate may have worked with. Try asking the candidate to list previous manager's names within the application to give a good starting point of who to call, but be sure to confirm it is okay to contact the manager prior as it might directly affect their current employment.
What kind of questions do I ask?
Below are going to be some questions you can ask references to better gauge how the candidate will do within the role you are hiring for:
  1. How / when did you and [candidate] work together? What company did you work together at / what was [candidate's] title at the company?
  2. Why did [candidate] leave the company?
  3. [Candidate] is interviewing for a [insert role] role. We need someone who can do [insert key skills needed], how would you say the [candidate] reaches on each?
  4. What would you say are some of [candidate's] strengths?
  5. What would be an area [candidate] can improve in? In other words, is there any area where [candidate] would need additional training / support?
  6. How would you rate [candidate's] interpersonal / communication skills? (Can emit this one if not relevant).
  7. Did [candidate] get promoted at all during their tenure?
  8. Would you hire [candidate] again?
  9. Compared to other new hires, how would you rate [candidate's] abilities?
  10. Were there any major achievements you would note during their tenure at [company]?
  11. Is there anyone else you would recommend I would speak to about [candidate's] experience?
  12. Is there anything else I should know?