Hiring Improvement: Employee Reference Check

Employee reference checks are a crucial step in the hiring process that can greatly impact the quality of your workforce. By conducting thorough reference checks, employers can gain valuable insights into a candidate’s qualifications, work ethic, and overall fit for the organization.

In this blog, we will explore the importance of employee reference checks and how they can contribute to hiring improvement. We will discuss best practices for conducting effective reference checks and highlight the benefits of this critical step in the hiring process.

What are Employee Reference Checks?

Employee reference checks are a standard part of the hiring process where employers contact the provided references of a candidate to verify their qualifications, work experience, skills, and overall performance.

Purpose of Reference Checks

Reference checks provide employers with valuable insights into a candidate’s qualifications, work performance, character, and fit for the role and the organization. Through reference checks, employers can verify the accuracy of the information provided by the candidate, evaluate their past work performance, assess their suitability for the role and organizational culture, mitigate risks, and make informed hiring decisions.

Types of Reference Checks

There are various types of reference checks that employers can conduct as part of their hiring process. These include:

  1. Professional References: These are references provided by the candidate’s former or current supervisors, colleagues, or other professional contacts who have worked closely with the candidate. Professional references can provide insights into the candidate’s job performance, work ethic, skills, and abilities.
  2. Employment Verification: This type of reference check involves verifying the candidate’s past employment history, including job titles, dates of employment, and roles held. Employment verification can help confirm the accuracy of the candidate’s work history and ensure that they have the relevant experience for the position they are being considered for.
  3. Academic References: Academic references are provided by the candidate’s former professors, mentors, or academic advisors. These references can provide information about the candidate’s educational background, academic performance, and any relevant coursework or projects completed.

When to Conduct Employee Reference Checks?

Employee reference checks should ideally be conducted during the later stages of the hiring process after initial interviews and assessments have been completed. Once a candidate has been shortlisted as a potential hire, reference checks can be an effective way to verify the candidate’s qualifications, experience, and suitability for the position.

Reference checks can also be conducted before extending a formal job offer to a candidate. This can help employers make an informed decision based on the feedback received from the candidate’s references. It is important to obtain consent from the candidate before contacting their references and to follow all relevant laws and regulations related to reference checks, including data privacy and confidentiality requirements.

How to Conduct Employee Reference Checks?

The process of conducting employee reference checks can be an essential step in the hiring process to gather valuable information about a candidate’s past performance and suitability for a role. In this section, we will outline the best practices and steps to effectively conduct employee reference checks for improved hiring decisions.

Documenting The Reference Check

When conducting employee reference checks, it’s important for employers to document the process for future reference and record-keeping purposes. This can involve taking detailed notes during the reference check conversation, capturing relevant information such as the name and contact information of the reference, the date and time of the reference check, and a summary of the conversation.

Documenting the reference check can serve multiple purposes. It can provide a record of the information obtained from the reference, which can be useful for reference verification and validation in case of any discrepancies or issues that may arise later. It can also serve as evidence of due diligence in the hiring process, which can be valuable in case of legal or compliance-related matters.

Asking The Right Questions

One of the key aspects of conducting effective employee reference checks is asking the right questions to obtain valuable and relevant information about the candidate. Employers should carefully plan and prepare a list of questions to ask the reference during the reference check conversation.

The questions asked during the reference check should be tailored to gather insights about the candidate’s skills, work experience, job performance, work ethic, strengths, areas for improvement, and overall suitability for the position. It’s important to ask open-ended questions that allow the reference to provide detailed and specific responses rather than just yes or no answers.

What to Look for in Employee Reference Checks?

We will explore the key aspects below to focus on during reference checks to ensure you make informed hiring decisions:

Confirming Employment History

Employers should use reference checks as an opportunity to verify the accuracy of the candidate’s job titles, dates of employment, and responsibilities listed on their resume or job application.

Confirming employment history through reference checks is important as it helps employers ensure that the candidate has been truthful and accurate in their resume and job application. It also helps employers identify any red flags, such as discrepancies in employment dates or responsibilities, which may indicate potential issues with the candidate’s credibility or suitability for the position.

Checking for Performance And Work Ethics

Employee reference checks provide an opportunity to gain valuable insights into a candidate’s track record of performance and work ethics from previous employers. Did the candidate consistently meet or exceed performance expectations? Were they reliable, punctual, and professional in their work habits? Reference checks can reveal crucial information about a candidate’s work ethic, professionalism, and ability to perform in the role you’re hiring for.

By checking for performance and work ethics during employee reference checks, you can ensure that you’re bringing on board employees who are not only skilled but also aligned with your company’s values and work culture. This can greatly contribute to the long-term success of your team and organization.


In conclusion, conducting employee reference checks can be a valuable step in the hiring process, helping employers gain insights into a candidate’s performance, work ethic, and suitability for the role. By documenting the reference check, asking the right questions, and checking for performance and work ethics, employers can make informed hiring decisions and improve their overall hiring process.

If you’re looking to streamline your hiring process and conduct effective employee reference checks, Boulo Solutions can help. With our innovative HR technology and solutions, we provide efficient and reliable reference-checking services that can save you time and effort while ensuring a thorough evaluation of potential hires.