Weed Out Bad Hires with These Questions

You’re in the home stretch.

After weeks spent recruiting, screening and interviewing applicants, you’ve identified a promising candidate who is a great fit for the role and your company’s culture.

The only thing left to do is contact their references. And that’s just a formality, right?

Wrong. A thorough reference check is your last line of defense in the hiring process – providing a final opportunity to weed out wannabes, job hoppers, toxic people and other bad hires before they join your team. Use these questions from PrideStaff to find out what you really need to know about a candidate – and hire smarter:

What is your relationship to this applicant?

Ask this question to separate professional from personal references. Ideally, references should be supervisors who worked with the candidate daily within the last several years.

Please verify this candidate’s dates of employment, title and role.

Always ask questions of this nature to validate the information your applicant provided on their resume. If significant discrepancies exist (i.e., the applicant exaggerated their job responsibilities), it could call into question the candidate’s honesty.

How would you describe this candidate’s job performance?

Open-ended, behavior-based questions like this one will yield higher qualify information than yes-or-no queries like, “Was this person a good employee?” Regardless of the position, look for evidence that the candidate is trainable, has a solid work ethic and accepts constructive feedback well.

Is this individual eligible for rehire? Why?

Though this may seem like a purely administrative question, effective probing may reveal a lot about the candidate’s integrity or work ethic.

What was this applicant’s best quality – and the one thing they could improve?

Asking questions that elicit both positive and negative responses gives a reference the opportunity to paint an accurate picture of the candidate. Pay attention to what the reference says, as well as what they don’t say.

How would you rate this individual’s abilities in [insert relevant skill]?

Specific, direct questions will help you gauge the candidate’s technical aptitude. Focus on the top skills your prospective employee will use most frequently in the available role.

What was this individual’s official reason for leaving?

The reference’s response could provide insight as to how loyal the candidate might be to your organization.

Is there anything I haven’t asked about, but which you think I should know before offering this person the job?

You may or may not receive a valuable response to this question, but you should always ask it. Doing so opens the door for the reference to share vital information which could directly impact your hiring decision.

Hire Smarter with PrideStaff.

Our On Target fulfillment process eliminates chance and inconsistency, and delivers qualified, reliable candidates – quickly and cost-effectively. To learn more, contact an expert recruiter at your local PrideStaff office.