How to Conduct Reference Checks
Last Updated: May 29, 2014 10:14:00 AM PDT
Reference checks allow the supervisor to verify the information already provided by the candidate, and to ask about performance and accomplishments.
- Familiarize yourself thoroughly with the information the candidate has already provided, including the application, resume, and interview responses. Identify areas that require elaboration or verification.
- Set up a telephone appointment with one or more references provided by the candidate.
- If requested, send a written consent from the candidate and the job description in advance of your telephone call.
- Write down your questions before you call, highlighting the information you want verified or expanded upon.
Note: Make your reference checks before the final selection is made.
Begin your conversation on common ground by referring to information that has already been provided by the candidate. For example:
- "John Doe has asked us to speak with you regarding information he has already shared with us during the interview process."
- "I'm calling to verify information provided by Mary Roe."
- Describe the responsibilities, duties, and working environment of the position for which the candidate has applied.
- After describing the position, ask, "Given our requirements, what is your assessment of the candidate's qualifications for the job?"
Please note: Supervisors are not allowed to request the candidate's LASR. To review the candidate's last performance review, the supervisor must request it directly from the candidate, whether internal and external.
- If you get a general response ("She's great!"), follow up with a specific question ("What did she do to merit that compliment? or "Why did she leave?" or "How have things changed since she left?")
- If the reference provider declines to answer a question, ask if someone else might be able to share information about the topic.
- Ask questions that are specifically job-related. There are legal ramifications if you ask illegal/ inappropriate questions that may have to do with race , color, national origin, religion, sex, physical or mental disability, medical condition, ancestry, marital status, age, sexual orientation, citizenship, or status as a covered veteran.
Contact your recruiter
in Human Resources, (858) 822-2583.
The information on this page summarizes provisions of university policies and/or collective bargaining agreements. Refer to the Personnel Policies for Staff Members
(PPSM) or applicable collective bargaining agreement
for full text of referenced information.