Time spent planning for a thorough reference check is time very well spent. Know who you need to talk to, their contact details, and the relevance they have to the position you hope to fill. Ideally the referee should have employed or supervised the prospective candidate.
Things that you should cover include:
- The position the person filled
- Clarification of the time employed
- A description of the persons duties and daily tasks
- Why the person left the position
- How the person interacted with others
- Work ethic
- What motivates them to give extra in their work
- Leadership style (if appropriate)
- Any major achievements
- Major strengths and areas for development
- Particular skills or traits needed for the position
- Would the referee re-employ the prospective candidate
Finally, conclude the reference check by referring to the Privacy Act and ensure that the referee is happy for the information that they have given you to be forwarded or shared during the decision making process.