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What You Can and Can’t Ask During a Reference Check: Uncovering the Right Questions to Ask

BEGINNING OF BLOG CONTENT

Happy businessman communicating over mobile phone and working on laptop while being at work.

When it comes to hiring a new employee, one of the most important steps is the reference check. The goal of a reference check is to verify the accuracy of the information provided by the job applicant and to determine whether the person is a good fit for the position. While it is important to ask the right questions, it is just as critical to know what you can and can’t ask during a reference check. 

In this blog, we’ll cover what you can and can’t ask during a reference check, along with examples of appropriate and inappropriate questions. We’ll also provide tips on how to ensure you ask the right questions and make sure you’re getting the most out of the reference check process. Let’s get started. 

 

What You Can Ask During A Reference Check 

When conducting a reference check, the most important thing to remember is that you can only ask questions related to the job. This includes questions about the applicant’s skills, experience, and attitude. It is important to note that you cannot ask questions about the applicant’s protected information, such as their age, gender, race, religion, or sexual orientation. 

In addition to job-related questions, you can also ask questions about the applicant’s work history, such as how long they worked at a previous job and why they left. You can also ask questions about the applicant’s ability to work in a team, their ability to handle stress, and their enthusiasm for the job. 

 

Examples of Appropriate Questions to Ask During A Reference Check 

When conducting a reference check, it is important to ask the right questions. Here are some examples of appropriate questions to ask during a reference check: 

• How long have you known the applicant? 

• In what capacity have you worked with the applicant? 

• What are the applicant’s strengths and weaknesses? 

• How would you rate the applicant’s performance? 

• What kind of attitude does the applicant have toward work? 

• How well does the applicant handle stress? 

• How well does the applicant work with others? 

• How does the applicant handle feedback? 

• Would you recommend the applicant for this position? 

These are just a few examples of appropriate questions to ask during a reference check. It is important to tailor the questions to the specific job and make sure they are relevant to the position. 

 

What You Can’t Ask During A Reference Check 

It is important to remember that there are certain questions you cannot ask during a reference check. Any questions that are not related to the job, that are discriminatory, or that violate the applicant’s privacy are off-limits. 

For example, you cannot ask about the applicant’s age, marital status, or any other protected information. You also cannot ask questions about the applicant’s religion, political beliefs, or sexual orientation. Additionally, any questions about their family or personal life, such as their hobbies or extracurricular activities, are off-limits. 

 

Examples of Inappropriate Questions to Ask During A Reference Check 

Here are some examples of inappropriate questions to ask during a reference check: 

• How old is the applicant? 

• Is the applicant married? 

• What religion does the applicant practice? 

• What political beliefs does the applicant have? 

• Is the applicant pregnant? 

• Does the applicant have any children? 

• What kind of hobbies or extracurricular activities does the applicant engage in? 

These are just a few examples of inappropriate questions to ask during a reference check. It is important to remember that you cannot ask questions about the applicant’s protected information and that any questions about their personal life are off-limits. 

 

Conclusion 

A reference check is an important part of the hiring process. It is important to remember that you can only ask questions related to the job and that any questions about the applicant’s protected information or personal life are off-limits. By asking the right questions, you can make sure you get the most out of the reference check process and make an informed decision about the applicant. 

Conducting a reference check is an important step in the hiring process, and it is critical to make sure you ask the right questions. By knowing what you can and can’t ask during a reference check, you can make the most of the process and ensure you make an informed decision about the applicant.