Successful Telephone Reference Checks

As business activity begins to pickup, some firms are looking to hire employees. Here are some tips that can be used for telephone reference checks. After confirming the identity, dates of employment, and relevant experience of the individual, these are the most important questions to ask:

  1. What was the employee’s last salary? Did he or she always receive merit increases? Did his or her salary include bonuses, incentives, or overtime?
  2. Is the employee honest in your opinion?
  3. Was it easy to replace him or her?
  4. Since he or she was such a good employee [if, in fact, that is the reference], why didn’t your company try to keep him or her from leaving?
  5. Given that none of us are perfect, what would you say his or her shortcomings were?
  6. Did the employee get along with all of his or her coworkers? If not, what factors led to the conflict?
  7. How did the employee come to work for your organization?
  8. Can I take a moment to read you the part of the employee’s resume that describes his or her job with you? [After reading the section] Is that a correct description?
  9. Does this person have disciplinary memos in their file? Can you disclose the topic? Did the employee correct the issue to the company’s satisfaction?
  10. Is this person eligible for rehire?
  11. Would you rehire them if you could?

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