What Hiring Managers Actually Ask When They Call Your Recommendations

Each part of the interview may seem small. Here are a few thoughts that came to me during the interview, and I bet they also crossed your mind at some point: if I wear the wrong clothes for the first interview, I will be mercilessly ridiculed. If I say something stupid during my last interview , the game is over – and no one will ever hire me. And if my recommendations are not accompanied by strong reviews, all the hard work I have done to get to this stage will be wasted.

This post was originally published on the Muse website .

When I became a recruiter, I realized that most of these thoughts are ridiculous, especially about checking references. To ease your anxiety about what people are saying to your potential new boss, here are a few questions that are asked during these calls (spoiler alert: most of them are made to make you look great).

1. How to recognize this person?

No seriously. As simple as that question was, it was the first thing I always asked when I called on the phone during a referral check. I sincerely wanted to start every conversation I had with finding out more about how she or she knew the person, whether they had worked together lately or not, and ultimately why the candidate chose that person. as one of their recommendations. That’s all.

It was simple, but surprisingly often caught people off guard. “This can’t be all you want to talk about now,” people would say. “I can’t say anything about the time when we met in the kitchen of our office.” But the truth was, that was all I wanted to know, at least at the beginning of the conversation.

2. What was your experience with this person?

See? I told you that they were usually designed to make you look really really good. And unless you choose references that legitimately hate you, chances are good that each person has a few points to discuss.

When I was recruiting employees, I wanted two things from every call. I wanted to confirm my impressions of the best candidates with the people who worked with them. And I wanted to make sure these people weren’t psychopaths. That’s all. So I would ask this question to find out some anecdotes about what each opponent was like in a real work setting.

Usually they were glad that they didn’t have enough work with these people, and that I would be an idiot if I didn’t propose. And if I didn’t have major unresolved problems, the answer to this question was usually enough so that I could calmly move forward.

3. What was this person looking for in a previous job?

For reference, if the link was a current colleague of mine, I didn’t ask this question. But also most of the candidates I interviewed declined to list their current teammates.

So, I took the opportunity to learn more about what each candidate had hoped to do in their previous job, but for some reason never got the opportunity to do so. I could always tell when a candidate made their recommendation, a script that had been carefully crafted to make it look like it shouldn’t be missed. Whenever I suspected that I was dealing with this, I inserted a little curve into my line of questions, which often caused the mentions to stop and say, “Oh, I really would like to think about this.”

But in some cases, the reference books spoke frankly about the career path on which the candidate hoped to find himself at some point. And in many cases, those goals matched the position I called about, which helped us confirm that our applicant wasn’t just applying for every job available online.

It’s worth reiterating that getting to the stage where the recruiter is asking for referrals is a good sign. In my experience, employers only ask candidates to do this when they are more or less convinced they want to hire them. And if you don’t pick people who are anxious to tell your potential boss that you were a criminal at some point, this is a stage that shouldn’t scare you.

Of course, you may not feel like you’re at all until you get an offer, but if someone asks you to send in links, you have nothing to worry about, as you might think.

3 Realistic Questions Hiring Managers Ask During Reference Review | Muse

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