Posted tagged ‘People decisions’

The Type of Reference YOU Want to Speak With and Sample Reference Questions

November 16, 2008

In my last post, I mentioned that our interview process concludes with the reference check. I have known managers who have skipped this step. My advice — Don’t! With active listening, you can learn a great deal about your prospective hire including the best way to manage them.

Incidentally, one of the greatest sources of insights are references who are past teachers or professors of the candidate. I have found that teachers and professors have been trained to offer positives and then add an area for improvement. Their insight is usually spot on because they have been observing the candidate for a

The idea is to allow the reference to speak at length. Therefore, after asking a question, pause, and let the reference fill in the uncomfortable gap that silence sometimes creates.long time and have been evaluating areas where they can improve on an ongoing basis.

Here are some examples of the types of questions that we ask the candidate’s references.

  • How do you know the candidate?
  • What do you think of him/her?
  • What is his/her greatest strength?
  • As it relates to managing or coaching, what should I do to bring out the best in this person? (i.e. What type of supervision, how manage, how often to check w/them on progress)
  • What can you tell me about his/her time-management skills?
  • How does he/she make decisions?
  • How was his/her interaction with their peers? How does he / she coach their peers?
  • What other qualities does he/she possess that you feel make him/her a good employee?
  • How does he/she respond to interruptions, deadlines, and pressure?
  • How would you assure success for him/her? (i.e. What type of supervision, how manage, how often to check w/them on progress)
  • If you had a magic wand, what would you make disappear about the candidate?
  • Would you hire him/her?
  • Is there anything else that you would add?

    The way management selects its people is indicative of how competent management is, what it values, and how seriously it takes its job. Unlike strategic decisions, people decisions cannot be masked. They are eminently visible. However, implementing a robust hiring process will allow you to alter the culture of your company and improve its fortunes and your bottom line dramatically.

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