It has taken me some time to really follow the best practice of checking references, both before hiring of new employees and of external contractors. Now I don’t move without it. The main reason that I didn’t check references is that it seemed to be a useless process, every reference I talked to always said great things about the employee/contractor and I never seemed to get anything useful.
Now, I get invaluable information from the references, at times it
This was because I didn’t ask the REAL questions, now I have found what questions to ask and the key is to LISTEN, but really listen, to the answers given.
The questions are:
1. How long have you worked together?
2. What didn’t go well? What were you NOT pleased about?
3. Would you hire him/her again today?
4. Did you ever think of leaving/firing him?
5. Try to help me out here, if we are going to work together, what would be the problematic areas? What is going to be tough? Where can I fail?
Tip: If you don’t get an answer, say, No one is perfect, unless someone is paying you, there must have been some things that went wrong.
(Make sure to keep a written record of all conversations to put in a candidate’s file.)