A good employment application will have a section for the candidate to list references. Usually the applicant will enter a few previous employers here.
In an earlier Hiring Tip, I discussed a few ways to check on these references.
Let’s dig a bit deeper here and consider asking some of these questions of previous employers:
• What was Alice’s job title?
• What were her duties?
• How long did she work there?
• How would you rate her performance?
• How well did she get along with co-workers?
• What exceptional qualities did Alice have?
• Are there any qualities you found objectionable?
• Why did Alice leave?
• Would you rehire Alice?
On the employment application, you could also have a place where the applicant can list co-workers they would like to use as a reference.
By all means, contact these co-workers, but it’s likely they’ll give a glowing report.
Here’s a suggest: ask the co-workers to give you a couple of names of other co-workers you could call. This could be interesting.
Now ask these co-workers some of these questions:
• What was it like working with Alice?
• How did she get along with her supervisor?
• How would you rate Alice’s performance?
• Would you start a new company with Alice? Why? Why not?
These are examples of questions you could ask. You’ll likely think of others. The idea here is to do a bit of detective work to get a clearer picture of how Alice will perform at your company.
After all is said and done, the best thing you can do to ensure you hire the right person is to find out as much as you can before you make that decision. Digging deeper into their references is one solid way to accomplish this.
[Important Note: there are legal considerations here. Some states only permit questions that are job related. You should have a good grip on what your state’s laws are.]
As the law varies in each area, please check with an attorney to ensure you are applying these tips within the law.
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