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Conducting Effective Reference Checks as a Tech Recruiter

Learn as a tech recruiter, how you can conduct effective reference checks to improve your recruitment process for informed hiring decisions.


As a tech recruiter, your role is crucial in identifying talented individuals who can drive innovation and success within your organization. While resumes and interviews provide valuable information, conducting effective reference checks is an indispensable part of the hiring process. By delving into a candidate’s past experiences and gauging their compatibility with your team’s culture, you can make informed decisions that will ultimately shape the success of your company. A survey from CV-Library, showed that  92.5% of UK workers have got away with lying on their CV and  nearly 71.6% of them said that they got the job as a result.  In this article, we will explore the art of conducting effective reference checks as a tech recruiter. 

What is a Reference Check? 

A reference check is a process in which an employer or hiring manager contacts individuals provided as references by a job applicant to gather information about the applicant’s qualifications, work history, character, and suitability for a specific job. The main purpose of conducting reference checks is to verify the accuracy of the information provided by the job applicant in their resume or during the interview process.

 Preparing for Effective Reference Checks

Before diving into the reference check process, it is crucial to lay the foundation for success. Consider the following steps:

  • Review the candidate’s application: Familiarize yourself with the candidate’s resume, cover letter, and any additional materials they have submitted. This will provide you with a comprehensive understanding of their background and skills.
  • Define key criteria: Identify the specific traits, qualifications, and skills that are essential for the role. This will serve as your reference check guide, ensuring you gather relevant information from referees.
  • Prepare specific questions: Tailor your questions to gather insights into the candidate’s abilities, work ethic, teamwork, and problem-solving skills. Consider seeking examples of specific instances where the candidate showcased their skills. The goal is to avoid bad hires.

Conducting Effective Reference Checks as a Tech Recruiter

Now that you are adequately prepared, it’s time to conduct the reference checks. Follow these steps to ensure a comprehensive and insightful conversation with the candidate’s referees:

1. Contacting the Referees

Once you have the candidate’s permission, reach out to the provided referees. Start by introducing yourself and explaining your purpose. Ensure that the referee has the necessary time and environment to provide detailed feedback.

2. Verify the Reference’s Identity

 Before sharing any confidential information with a reference, make sure to verify their identity. You can do this by asking them to provide their full name, job title, and the name of the organization they work for.

3.  Building Rapport

Establishing a rapport with the referee is essential to gather honest and detailed information. Express your gratitude for their time and expertise, and create a comfortable atmosphere for an open and candid conversation. Let them know that you have the permission from the applicant to contact them and all information will remain confidential. 

4.  Obtaining Specific Insights

Ask targeted questions to gather specific insights into the candidate’s performance, teamwork, problem-solving abilities, and adaptability. 

Here are some suggested questions:

In what capacity was the applicant employed?

What were their job responsibilities and salary?

Were they successful in fulfilling their duties?

What unique skill did the candidate bring to your organization?

What were their strengths?

What were their weaknesses or areas that needed improvement?

Do you think the applicant is suitable for the job being applied for?

Why did they leave your employment?

Can you provide examples of situations where the candidate demonstrated strong technical skills?

How did the candidate handle high-pressure situations or deadlines?

In what capacity did the candidate work as a team player?

5. Probing for Weaknesses

While it’s crucial to focus on the candidate’s strengths, obtaining insights into their weaknesses can help you gauge their willingness to learn and grow. Skillfully inquire about areas for improvement, allowing the referee to provide constructive feedback without sounding overly negative.

6.  Verifying Information

Ensure that the information provided by the candidate aligns with the referee’s perspective. Validate the candidate’s claims regarding accomplishments, responsibilities, and team dynamics. This step helps you differentiate between genuine skills and potential embellishments.

7. Providing Feedback

Finally, communicate with the candidates by giving them feedback. You should inform them of the outcome of the reference checks, as well as  provide constructive feedback if needed.  Feedback is a vital tool in the tech recruitment process  as it creates a good candidate experience. Document and store the reference check information in a secure manner, and respect the privacy and confidentiality of all parties involved.


Mastering the art of conducting effective reference checks as a tech recruiter is a valuable skill that can significantly impact the quality of hires and the success of your team. By meticulously preparing, building rapport, gathering specific insights, probing for weaknesses, and verifying information, you will be equipped with the necessary tools to make informed hiring decisions. Remember, the art of conducting effective reference checks goes beyond a simple formality; it is an opportunity to unlock invaluable insights and ensure a strong and cohesive in-house or remote team that will drive your organization’s success.

Your success in recruitment and technical support is our priority at Analogue Shifts. We understand that finding top and reliable talent is crucial to driving your company’s growth. We are just a click away!

Frequently Asked Questions

  1.  How many references should I check?

 It is recommended to check at least three references to gather different perspectives on the candidate’s abilities.

  1. What do recruiters look for in references?

Most employers check references as part of the hiring process. Checking references involves contacting previous employers, supervisors, schools, and so forth to verify key employment and educational information and learn more about a candidate’s background, experiences, and skills.

  1. Why are references important in the recruitment process?

Gathering references after you’ve made a job offer is a vital part of the recruitment process. This is because references help you to cross-check information on a chosen candidate, and gain more insight into their skills and character.

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