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Questions to Ask When Checking References

October 20, 1999
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Samples of questions that can help you find out about a candidate's job responsibilities and general performance.

  1. "What was her job classification with your company and what were her duties?"
  2. "Which were the most important of those duties?"
  3. "On which of these duties did she devote the most of his time and how was this time allocated?"
  4. "How would you rate her job performance in terms of work volume and quality?"
  5. "Did she receive any promotions or demotions while with you? Describe."
  6. "As her supervisor, what did you find was the most effective way to motivate her?"
  7. "Did her conduct ever require disciplinary measures? If so, describe."
  8. "How would you describe her performance compared to others with similar responsibilities?"
  9. "What success—or lack of it—did she have working with others? What was the reason for the success or lack of it?"
  10. If applicable:

  11. "How would you describe the relationship between her and her subordinates?"
  12. "Which supervisory practices did you like and dislike?"
  13. "How would you describe her success in training and developing subordinates?"

SOURCE: Richard H. Magee, Helene Curtis Industries, Chicago, Personnel Journal (now Workforce).

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