Best Questions to Ask Candidate References: Work Performance

In our last post, we discussed some of the pertinent questions to ask candidate references. While many people believe it’s unlawful to ask the reference specific questions, or they tread lightly on the topic, this is a common misconception. In this article, we’re going to examine how to approach the reference about the candidate’s prior work performance. In addition, protect your staffing firm with a Staffing Employment Practices Liability insurance policy.

Where to start?

According to Monster, some employers mistakenly believe that it’s unlawful to ask for references; that’s simply not true. Others fear that reference checking is a waste of time because former employers won’t reveal a candidate’s weaknesses or speak openly about an individual’s performance. Finally, many hiring managers simply don’t know where to start, so they base their hiring decision on the interview and their gut feelings afterwards.

However, failing to check references can set your clients, and therefore your firm, up to fail. Ensure you ask for their supervisor’s name, both current and former ones, so that you don’t end up speaking to the candidate’s friends rather than a supervisor.

Show the reference who you are.

When speaking to references, give them a glimpse of the role you are trying to fill for your clients, and what that entails. For example, include the following:

  • The type of role they are being placed for.
  • The company culture where they could be hired, and how they will fit into that.
  • How the reference feels the candidate would do in this role.

Get specific.

Once the basics are covered, you can ask him or her about the candidate’s work performance. Be sure to get specific about how they respond to direction, how much oversight they require, how they fare with leadership positions, and if they are a team player. These questions should be subjective depending on the role that your candidate is looking to be placed for.

Next, you can ask for specific examples regarding how the candidate contributed to sales, decreased expenses, increased revenue, solved a problem, and more.

About World Wide

For the last 50 years, World Wide Specialty Programs has dedicated itself to providing the optimal products and solutions for the staffing industry. As the only insurance firm to be an ASA commercial liability partner, we are committed to that partnership and committed to using our knowledge of the industry to provide staffing firms with the best possible coverage. For more information about Staffing Professional Liability Insurance or any other coverage we have available to protect your staffing business, give us a call at (800) 245-9653 to speak with one of our representatives.