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Boost Hiring Success

A new hire is a big deal. A piece of an unfinished puzzle. A chance to add valuable skills and great energy to your team. Meeting a candidate in an interview is a great first impression, but let's be real: you're meeting their Best Self, not necessarily their Real Self. A potential hire will tell you everything you want to hear, but trying to cut through the fluff can be a challenge.

Enter: the reference.

A reference, usually a former boss or coworker, is your key to getting the real story on your potential candidate. They have shared workspace, email correspondence, and project managements with them, and probably know a thing or two about what makes them tick. With such a valuable resource at your fingertips, make sure you use your time wisely – asking them these questions will offer a glimpse into this new hire.


1) What motivates them?

Are they driven by deadlines? Pushed by penalties? Encouraged by esteem-boosts? Find out what gets them going from someone who knows, and ensure you're pushing your new employee to their full potential in a way that works.

2) What was their role on the team?

In this case, we aren't talking about their technical role, but more or their social role. Every workplace has its own dynamic, and employees naturally find their place from the start. Are they the idea initiator or more likely to let the brainstorm session sit and simmer? Maybe they keep the mood light in meetings. Maybe they're a bit of a morale drag. Who knows? You'll have to ask.

3) In what area would they need support during their first few months?

This is a crucial question for planning your next quarter. Get a sense of your potential hire's problem areas and you won't be caught off-guard when some subpar skills show up later.

4) Can you name a situation when this candidate has gone above and beyond?

The answer to this question won't be as revealing as the speed at which it is answered. If an instance is recalled quickly, you can assume the candidate goes beyond their expected duties fairly often.

5) Would you hire them again?

Perhaps the most important question to ask, the answer to this sums up the reference's overall impression of the candidate and indicates whether this person is worth hiring or not. Whether the answer is yes or no, be sure to press for an explanation.

6) What conflicts did they have? How were they resolved?

As they say, "beautiful sunsets don't exist without cloudy skies." There's a chance even the most attractive candidate has had some clouds in their professional past. Learn more about how your candidate responds to pressure and conflict with a question that's bound to get an interesting response.

When dealing with a potential new hire, don't make any assumptions. Put some effort into your discussions with references, and get the valuable information for making your decision!