ASK THE RIGHT QUESTIONS AND YOU’LL GET THE RIGHT ANSWERS
Some previous employers are afraid to say anything about a previous employee; some are forbidden by their company to say anything and some are just waiting for you to ask the right question so they can ‘spill the beans’ on the previous employee. One thing for sure, if you have not prepared any questions you will receive very few answers.
Prepare a set of easily answered questions for the previous employers. Start with factual answers like verifying their dates of employment and their salary. Then go into more subjective questions with multiple choice answers. Then end with a couple of open ended questions that allow the previous employer to talk as much as they want.
Put together a set of questions that you can use for every applicant following the guidelines above. Gather your own questions or choose some of the many we have listed on our reference checking questions list. If you hire the applicant be sure to share with them what you heard. It will give your company a lot of credibility to the new hire if they know that you did, indeed, check their references. (You do what you say you are going to do.)
Reference Checking Form (English)
Reference Checking Form (Spanish)