Hiring - Recruitment - Reference Checks

Reference checks are an important part of the selection and hiring process. They are required for those finalists that are considered for hire. Hiring Managers can find instructions for completing reference checks, including required documentation below.


  • The information gathered from reference checks must be considered along with the rest of the information gathered throughout the screening and interview process.
  • It is recommended that panels request references at the second or final interview step. 
  • The hiring manager/supervisor should be conducting the reference checks.
  • While a standard set of reference questions should be employed, this is also an opportunity to clarify any areas that may have come up during the interview process that would be helpful to have a reference’s point of view. Therefore, having additional unique questions for each candidate would be appropriate along with the standard questions.
  • Open-ended questions usually elicit more useful information than those that can be answered with just yes or no.
  • As a best practice, current or former supervisors should be contacted even if supervisory references were not provided by the finalist.
  • Reference checks can be conducted via phone, email, video-conference call (e.g. zoom), or in-person. Even if you know the candidate, are familiar with the candidate, or the candidate is internal, reference checks must still be conducted.

Useful Documents

Guide to Reference Checks

Best practices and strategies for conducting reference checks, including sample questions. 

A. Hiring Manager Responsibilities:

  1. Work with ASU HR to retrieve finalist(s)’ reference information.
    1. it is recommended that panels request references at the second or final interview step.
    2. If the hiring manager would like to do off-list reference checks, the individual needs to be a finalist for the position (they are not guaranteed confidentiality).Check with HR if you are uncertain. If you choose to conduct reference checks other than those provided by the applicant, inform the applicant that you will be conducting additional/off-list reference checks and ask them if there is anyone they do not want you to contact. 
  2. Notify finalist(s) that references will be checked
  3. Contact references via phone, email, video-conference call (e.g. zoom), or in-person and document the following to send to ASU HR:
    1. Name and phone number or email address
    2. Relation to finalist
    3. Questions asked of the reference
    4. Reference’s responses to the questions asked

B. ASU HR Responsibilities:

  1. Help Hiring Manager retrieve finalist(s)’ reference information 

Keywordsreference checks hr recruitment finalist candidate off-list confidentiality   Doc ID106579
OwnerNathaniel S.GroupExtension Handbook
Created2020-10-09 15:30:41Updated2022-06-09 08:48:03
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