Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Hey Fletch … Are there any limits to the questions we can ask in a reference call? I ask because I used to work for a para-church organization and was involved in hiring a few times. One of my supervisors used to say that he gets around any illegal questions by asking the references those questions … because everything is free game with a reference. I wanted to check and see if that was correct.

DRF—When it comes to talking with references, you need to be careful to ask legal questions. It is not “open season” with a reference call. Here’s a page that listed the great questions:

Sample Reference Check Questions 

  • When did (name) work for your company? Could you confirm starting and ending employment dates? When did s/he leave the company?
  • What was her/his position? Can you describe the job responsibilities?
  • Could I briefly review (name’s) resume? Does the job title and job description match the position that (name) held?
  • Why did (name) leave the company?
  • What was her/his starting and ending salary? (In some locations, employers are precluded from asking about salary due to state and local legislation.)
  • Did (name) miss a lot of work? Was s/he frequently late? Were there any issues you are aware of that impacted her/his job performance?
  • Did s/he get along well with management and co-workers?
  • Can you describe this person’s experience working as a member of a team?
  • Did (name) prefer to work on a team or independently?

And they had many other good questions for a reference check on the page.