Ashton & Associates Recruiting
12 Point Employment Reference Check List

Ashton & Associates Recruiting 12 Point Reference InvestigationAn in-depth employment reference yields huge insights into the behaviors, competencies and motives of your potential new hire.

And, when the right reference questions are asked in the right way, an employment reference will tell you all you ever need to know about how your next potential hire may operate while under the line of fire.

Getty Images’ Scott Olson describes why candidates must possess all three important traits:

  • Low integrity, with high energy and high intelligence produces a smart, fast-moving thief
  • Low energy, high intelligence and integrity and you have a shopkeeper, not an engine of growth
  • Low intelligence, high energy and integrity and you have strong functionary, but not a great problem solver or visionary.

Without burdening the employment reference source our intent is purely to uncover the unseen, or not yet talked about, tactical and soft skills that we want to see in a star performer.  You will want to customize this list to ensure you are addressing the key candidate behaviours and competencies that will required for a job candidate to succeed in their new role.

Our Top 12 employment reference questions

  1. What were the candidate’s responsibilities when working with you?
  2. With the job we just described, how is the candidate qualified (or not) to assume these responsibilities in a new firm? Please explain.
  3. What did co-workers think of him/her?
  4. How responsive was he/she following up on specific tasks?
  5. How much support did he/she require on a daily basis?
  6. What are his/her business development and customer retention skills? (if applicable)
  7. What was his/her best contribution to the company?
  8. Any areas he/she could be stronger in?
  9. What job in your organization wouldn’t you put this person into, under any circumstances? Why?
  10. Is there any other information that you feel I should know about?
  11. Would you rehire him/her? In what capacity? 
  12. What advice would you give to anyone hiring him/her?

Warren Buffet on Employment References, Ashton & AssociatesWarren Buffet is famous for hiring people he doesn’t have to manage. In other words, he hires leaders who seldom need to see him, and that works great for everyone. Why? Because he’s hired for those leadership qualities – energy, intelligence, and integrity, along with resolve, goal-orientation and accountability.

“If you tell me who your heroes are,” Buffett says, “I’ll tell you how you’ll turn out.” The key is to associate with first-class people.


Ready to get productivity (and profits) soaring?


We serve Kamloops, Kelowna, the BC Interior, Thompson Okanagan and Lower Mainland, bringing you over 25 years expert hiring experience.

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Call us at 800-432-6893 or 250-574-5869, or use this easy contact form below.

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Additional Resources on conducting an Employment Reference:

How to ask for an Employment Reference

Employment Reference Law in Canada

Employment References in the Age of Privacy

What Warren Buffet wants to know before he hires you