Questions for References

Reference Checks — Template

Academic Faculty References

Generally, the position vacancy announcement will ask for a list of references and contact information. Academic faculty appointments must be supported by at least three letters of reference in writing. Solicit reference letters from the top candidates before their on-campus interviews.

Professional and Classified Employee References

The hiring department must call to conduct reference checks. Similar to conducting employment interviews, be sure to stick with job-related questions when contacting a former employer and be consistent with the questions you ask.

Here are some suggested questions to ask when talking to a former employer.

  1. How do you know and for how long have you known the candidate?
  2. What would you consider some of the candidate’s strengths? In what areas did the candidate appear to need additional assistance to develop?
  3. Would you describe the applicant as someone who works best as part of a team or independently?
  4. How timely was the applicant in completing assignments and meeting deadlines?
  5. Describe the candidate’s working relationship with students, the public, co-workers, or specific groups/individuals served.
  6. Comment on the candidate’s attendance and punctuality record.
  7. How would you describe the candidate’s leadership, managerial, and/or supervisory skills?
  8. Do you trust the candidate, in both a professional and a personal sense?
  9. How well did the candidate manage crisis, pressure, or stressful situations?
  10. How would you describe the individual’s overall performance on a scale from 1 to 10 (10 being the highest)?
  11. What was the candidate’s documented reason for leaving your organization? Is there any reason you would not rehire the applicant? (If so, for what reason?)
  12. Is there anything else about the candidate you would like to tell me that I might consider relating to her or his overall work performance and qualifications?