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Top 7 Questions to Ask a Reference

If you’re gathering intelligence on a candidate for a position, one of your best resources is the professional references they’ve provided you. But those references are only as valuable as the questions you ask them. These seven questions will maximize the effectiveness of your screening process. 

  •  How Does the Candidate Affect Their Co-workers? 

Does the candidate energize the people they contact daily? Do they inspire others? Do they contribute to a positive working environment? 


  • Are They Dependable? 

Reliability is obviously critical in an employee, so this is a critical question. In addition to directly asking references if your candidate is dependable, listen to the references’ other answers for indications of consistent work and evidence of responsibility. 


  • How Do They Listen? 

Listening skills can be critical to a prospect’s job duties. Ask their references if the candidate is an active listener? Here’s one to ask a past supervisor: How many times do they need to be told something? 


  • How Do They Handle Stress and Conflict? 

This can they take the form of asking how the candidate responds to a deadline, a demanding client or a troublesome co-worker. References can offer great evidence of grace under pressure. 


  • What Was One of This Candidate’s Biggest Accomplishments? 

Everyone likes a success story. And nothing presents a snapshot of a candidate’s skills like a story of when they really shined. This will help crystallize their strengths in your mind. 


  • Tell Me Something About This Candidate That Isn’t on Their Resume 

Ok, we cheated – this isn’t a question. But while the preceding questions might give you an indication of what a candidate could do for you, asking for these bits of trivia can tell you what they’ll be like to work with. That might help you make a tough decision.  


  • Would You Hire This Candidate Again? 

This might seem obvious, but it’s basically the bottom line. Of course, you can expect the reference to say “Yes.” (Why would the candidate list them as a reference otherwise?) But take note of how enthusiastic that yes is. 

 Here’s a Question for You! Do You Need a Hand with Hiring? 

Whether your business is 9-to-5 or 24/7, contact Mega Force to help you meet your talent needs. We help employers throughout North Carolina connect with dependable candidates. Whether you have a specific pressing need, or you’re just wanting to give your current recruiting efforts a boost, start here to learn more about what we can do for you. 



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