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9 legal questions to ask job applicants’ references

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in Centerpiece,Hiring,Human Resources

Having a list of references won’t do you any good if you can’t get them to open up to you about a job applicant.

If you are able to get an applicant’s former supervisor on the line, you’re halfway there. Start by describing the job. Then move on to open-ended questions like the following, which are designed to get the former boss to be frank about the applicant.

  1. Is X eligible to be rehired? If not, is this because your company has a general policy on rehiring employees, or is there another reason?
  2. Would you enthusiastically recommend X?
  3. How would you compare X’s work habits with those of her co-workers?
  4. What do you think would be the ideal job for X?
  5. Did X function better working alone or as part of a team?
  6. What, if anything, distinguishes X from others who do the same type of job?
  7. What can we expect from X if she works for us?
  8. What were X’s primary job responsibilities?
  9. During the course of X’s employment at your company, were you her direct supervisor the entire time? If not, who were her other supervisors?

Advice: Avoid legally sensitive topics. Never ask questions that relate to the applicant’s age, marital status, race, color, age, sex, religion and national origin. If applicants are rejected, they use such questions as evidence to prove you discriminated against them in hiring.

 

 


 

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