Skip to content

Reference Checks

WebOne of the most critical steps in the hiring process is checking references. It is standard practice to request that a candidate provide a number of references that can speak to his or her performance and background. Typically, those references are current or former supervisors, co-workers, or clients. The primary purpose of the reference is to provide the hiring manager with information about the candidate’s job duties and responsibilities, attendance pattern, level of performance, verbal and written communication skills, and potential to succeed in the position for which he or she is a candidate.

References are generally contacted following an interview, but there are circumstances in which they might be called sooner. Regardless of the timing of the reference check, collecting the same information on each applicant ensures that the decision-maker will be comparing the same data points for each candidate. The questionnaire also provides the manager with a set of answers that are directly related to the specifics of the job, which, when included with the information gathered in the interview, will provide a more accurate picture of the candidate’s skills and abilities and may assist in the hiring decision.

It may also be helpful to contact others not listed as references but who can provide additional feedback about the candidate and his or her ability to perform the activities of the job in question.

One final thought regarding reference checks: Check with your HR recruiter for possible reference questions or to ensure that the questions you are considering are appropriate. Should you have any questions about background checks or recruitment, call Human Resources at 865-974-6642. We are here to help you!

The flagship campus of the University of Tennessee System and partner in the Tennessee Transfer Pathway.

Report an accessibility barrier