Having a potential employer check references is part of almost any job, even if that employer doesn’t do a background check. Reference checking can be part of a background check, however, but the purpose and questions asked are still the same. References are designed for a potential employer to get a better picture – outside of an interview – of a candidate’s character and work habits. Instead of using the candidate’s perspective alone, the potential employer can contact references for another perspective.
References, now mostly, simply verify dates of employment, salary, and job title. A potential employer can ask questions in regards to a candidate’s positive and negative qualities and work habits but a previous employer doesn’t always have to answer them. However, in many cases, when a past employer won’t answer any questions and will only give information listed on a resume – dates of employment, job title, and salary history – that is often a sign that a candidate has little positive qualities and a low work ethic.
What are some of the questions that a potential employer could ask a candidate? About.com has some possibilities. Although the length of questions listed on About is, essentially, an informal interview of a past employer, any of these questions are fair game when a potential employer contacts a current or previous employer.
What should an employer do when preparing references for a job interview? The first, and perhaps most obvious, step is to ask that person for a reference. If a boss says “no” and that he or she can’t give a reference, other options include asking coworkers who are familiar with your work ethic or human resources. A reference should be from your current position and from past positions, as well. For the latter, if you’re looking for a new job, contact your older references to make sure where they’re still working and any updates regarding job titles and contact information and also contact them to ask them, again, if they can be used as your references. Every time you go to an interview and give a potential employer references, contact your references to inform them that they might be contacted by this employer.