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Reference Check Guidelines

Reference Check Guidelines

The following items serve as a guideline for performing professional reference checks on candidates for employment at The College of New Jersey.  Prior to making contact, be prepared to make written notes utilizing the Reference Check Form provided.

  1. Determine the relationship between the candidate and the reference.  Is the reference a business associate, a supervisor, subordinate, or colleague?  Professional references are preferred over personal references.  Personal references will only be accepted in cases where the candidate has no prior work history.
  2. Ascertain the length of time that a candidate and the reference have known each other. Frequently, the most recent reference has had the shortest relationship with the candidate.  A reference having long term experience of the candidate can often provide more credible information.
  3. Describe, for the benefit of the reference the duties of the position being searched. Include in the description any specific qualifications that are required such as a license, degree or experience.
  4. Ask the reference to describe specific strengths and weaknesses that the candidate possesses.  It is important that you get as much detail as possible in this area.  Be persistent in getting beyond general statements about the candidate.  Ask probing questions to determine areas that may provide insight about the candidate’s working relationships and job performance.  Assure your contact that this conversation will remain absolutely confidential.
  5. Summarize the information provided by the reference to confirm that what you have recorded is accurate and complete.
  6. Solicit the opinion of the reference as to the appropriateness of the position for the candidate, i.e., why do they think the candidate will be successful in the position.
  7. Thank the reference for their time and input, and encourage follow up contact if beneficial.
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