A Reference-Checking Checklist

March 4, 2003
U se this checklist as a way to guide you through checking a reference. Thequestions start with simple verifications and gradually move on toperformance-related information.


Potential Position
Person Contacted
Bus Tel:________________________________
Home Tel:_______________________________



I’d like to verify ______________ dates of employment from ________ to________.

What type of work did ______________ do? (title/general duties?)

Were ______________ earnings $________ per _______? Were there any bonus orincentive plans?

Why did ______________ leave your organization?

What do you feel are ______________ strong points on the job? Whatcharacteristics do you most admire about him/her?

Did ______________ supervise other people? How many? How effectively? Canhe/she create team effort?

What are ______________ shortcomings? Was there anything he/she was trying tochange about himself/herself, or should be trying to improve on?

How would you rate ______________ overall job performance on a scale of 1 to10 (10 being high) compared with others you observed in a similar capacity?

Have you seen ______________ current resume? Let me read to you what it sayswere his/her duties and accomplishments at your organization.

Is ______________ honest?

How well does ______________ relate to other people? Which employees doeshe/she work best with: Superiors/peers/subordinates? Is he/she a team player?

How did ______________ last job performance review go? What strengths werecited?

What recommended improvement areas were noted? How about the performancereview prior to that?

What do you feel were ______________’s most major accomplishments with yourcompany? What changed as a result of his/her involvement?

On average, how many times did ______________ miss work or come in late? Doeshe/she have any personal problems or bad habits that interfered with his/her jobperformance?

Whom did ______________ work for prior to joining your company? When hiredwere his/her references checked? What did the references have to say?


What is the biggest change you’ve observed in ______________? Where hasthere been the most growth or development?

Is ______________ in the right job/career? How far do you think he/she cango?

What do you feel frustrated ______________ in his/her last position with yourcompany?

How did ______________ handle himself/herself in times of conflict?

If ______________ asked you what one thing would most improve the way he/sheperforms on the job, what specific advice would you give him/her?

What is the best way to work with ______________ to quickly maximize his/hertalents and effectiveness for the company?


What other person(s) know ______________?

Name: ______________ Name:_______________

Title: _______________ Title:________________

Location:____________ Location:______________

Telephone:__________ Telephone:____________


Excellent __ Good __ Some Reservation __ Poor __

Check made by:_________________________ Date:__________




Excerpted from The Complete Reference Checking Handbook, Second Edition byEdward C. Andler. Copyright Ó 2003 Edward C. Andler. Published by AMACOM Books,a division of American Management Association, New York, NY. Used withpermission. All rights reserved.

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