4. Stick to the script. In light of potential liability issues, it is common for a former employer to provide a neutral reference in which the employer merely affirms that the candidate worked for the employer during certain dates and held a specific position. These questions provide a good basic list:
- What were the candidate's dates of employment with your company?
- What was the candidate's position/title?
- What was your working relationship with the candidate?
- Did he or she meet or exceed the job's requirements?
- Did he or she meet deadlines in a timely fashion?
- Would you hire or rehire this candidate again?
5. Know how to handle a negative reference. Do not immediately take the information at face value. You may be dealing with a position for which your candidate wasn't a good fit. It's also likely that you have no personal knowledge of the individual giving the reference. If you hear or learn something that concerns you, provide the candidate with a chance to explain his or her perspective and consider asking for additional references to gather more information.
To learn more about interviewing and how to avoid discrimination throughout the process, visit us at HR360.com.