What Do Employers Ask When They Call Your References?

Calls to your job references can be stress-inducing since they're mostly out of your control and shrouded in mystery. U.S. News sheds a light on some typical questions reference checkers ask your references:

  1. How do you know this person?

    This is a question the reference checker will use to see that both accounts line up.
  2. How long did you work together?

    Someone that's managed you for four years will have more insight to provide than someone that's managed you for a few months.
  3. How would you describe the quality of this person's work overall?

    This starts the dialogue about your job performance. Vaguely positive answers (she was fine) can have a negative impact.
  4. How would you compare her overall performance to others you've seen do similar work?

    This question is used to get into more specifics about your work.
  5. What would you say are this person's biggest strengths?

    Hopefully, the strengths the reference provides line up with what the employer is looking for and parallel with what you have described in your interview.
  6. What areas would you say this person could use some improving on?

    Reference checkers use this to ensure that candidate's weaknesses will not be fatal in the job position. Alternate ways this question could be asked: ‘Are there any areas where you think she would need extra support in order to succeed?’, ‘If you had to pick two ways that ____ could improve, what would they be?’.
  7. Specific questions about the skills needed for the job.

    Reference checkers might have additional questions that address specific skills and qualifications needed for the job position. This also might be an opportunity for them to have the reference elaborate on previous answers relating to strengths and areas that need improvement.
  8. Why did she leave his/her job with the company?

    This is another factual question that the reference checker will use to compare interviewer and reference accounts.
  9. Would you hire and/or work with this person again?

    If the reference hesitates to answer this question after a generally positive review of your skills, this sends a red flag to the reference checker.

source: http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/outside-voices-careers/articles/2017-05-15/what-do-employers-ask-when-they-call-your-references

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