Avoid Yes/No Questions When Checking Someone's References

So you're looking to hire somebody new, and you've decide to do the proper and thorough thing and follow up with their referees. To make sure that process is actually useful, you need to carefully plan what you're going to ask.

Picture by Ivar Abrahamsen

A press release from Kelly Services that landed in my inbox this morning discusses strategies for proper reference checking. You can read the whole thing below, but there are two particularly important points when it comes to framing your questions:

  • Don't ask closed questions that will simply generate a yes/no answer. That won't give you any real information about the candidate.
  • Make sure you seek specific examples whenever possible. Don't just ask "Is Frederick a good team player?"; ask "Can you give me an example of how Frederick worked effectively with the team?

Got extra reference-checking strategies to share? Tell us in the comments.

Reference checking - the essential element in a successful recruitment process [Kelly Services]


    Any tips for those lacking in work experience but needing references for a resume?

      I was in this same boat and got a couple of former teachers. They were more than happy to! Just remember to tell them what jobs you're applying for.

      Unpaid work experience is a great way to put some references on your CV, and maybe even get you a foot in the door.

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