11 Questions For Reference-Checking

September 23, 2015       The NonProfit Times      

When it comes to checking the references of a job applicant, a thorough job can help prevent a lot of problems down the line. With that in mind, anyone who is doing the checking wants to ask good questions.

During a Nonprofit Risk Summit, Melanie Lockwood Herman, executive director of the Nonprofit Risk Management Center, said prospective employers can help themselves out a lot by asking, not good questions, but great questions. They take the process up to a higher level. Herman’s great reference-check questions:

* Have you seen the applicant’s current resume?

* May I read to you what it says were the person’s duties and accomplishments at your organization?

* How well does the applicant relate to other people? Which employees does the person work best with: superiors, peers, subordinates?

* Would you have any hesitation placing this applicant in a position of authority and trust with respect to (small children, vulnerable adults, large sums of money)?

* What is your business relationship with the candidate and how long have you known this person?

* Are there any roles or situations in which you would avoid placing the candidate?

* If you could re-hire the applicant today, would you?

* What comments, suggestions or advice would you have for the applicant’s new supervisor? Co-workers?

* How did the applicant’s last performance review go? What strengths were noted? * What areas were identified as needing improvement?

* Who else should I speak to about the applicant?