Reference check template

The importance of reference checks

Reference checks are a part of the hiring process where employers contact individuals who have worked with a job applicant in the past, typically previous employers or colleagues, to gather information about the applicant's work performance, skills, and qualifications. The purpose of reference checks is to verify the information provided by the candidate during the application and interview process and to gain insights into the individual's suitability for the position.

Verification of information

Reference checks help verify the accuracy of the information provided by candidates during the hiring process. This includes confirming employment history, job titles, responsibilities, and dates of employment.

Confirmation of skills & abilities

Employers can gain insights into a candidate's skills, abilities, and work style from previous supervisors or colleagues. This confirmation is valuable in assessing whether the candidate possesses the required competencies for the new role.

Work ethic & performance evaluation

References provide information about a candidate's work ethic, reliability, and overall performance in previous roles. This helps employers gauge the potential for success in the new position.

Cultural fit assessment

Reference checks can shed light on how well a candidate fits into the organisational culture. Understanding how a candidate collaborates with colleagues, handles stress, and communicates can be crucial in maintaining a positive work environment.

Predicting future performance

Past performance is often a good indicator of future performance. Checking references allows employers to assess a candidate's track record and make more informed predictions about how well the individual will perform in the new role.

Identifying areas for development

References may provide insights into areas where a candidate may need additional development or training. This information can be valuable for designing onboarding programs and ongoing professional development.

Risk mitigation

Reference checks help identify any potential red flags or concerns about a candidate's suitability for a role. This can include issues related to interpersonal skills, ethics, or reliability. Identifying such issues early in the process can mitigate risks associated with a bad hire.

Legal compliance

Conducting thorough reference checks helps organsations comply with legal and regulatory requirements. It ensures that hiring decisions are based on accurate information and can defend against claims of negligent hiring.

Building confidence in hiring decisions

Reference checks provide additional data points to support hiring decisions. This helps employers feel more confident in their choices and reduces the likelihood of making a decision based solely on the information provided by the candidate.

In summary, effective reference checks contribute significantly to the overall quality of the hiring process by validating information, assessing a candidate's fit for the role and the organisation, mitigating risks, and supporting informed decision-making.

Reference check template

Reference check template

Confirm employment & reference details

  • Name of the organisation (the employer)
  • Confirm referee’s position with the organisation
  • Confirm referee was the direct supervisor
  • Did the candidate report to anyone else?
  • Confirm start and end date
  • Verify position title
  • Verify responsibilities noted on CV
  • Verify notes on CV


  • KPIs / ability to meet all objectives set
  • How many peers have been in a similar position?
  • How did the candidate perform compared to them?
  • How many staff did the candidate managed (job titles)?
  • How did the staff perform?
  • Numbers (budget / results)
  • Self-motivation at work?
  • Attendance / punctuality
  • Written communication skills?
  • What type of documents did the candidate produce?
  • Verbal communication skills?
  • Ability to pick up new tasks?
  • Has the candidate been assigned difficult challenges ahead of peers?
  • Was the candidate promoted more rapidly than others?
  • Was the candidate a “go to” person by colleagues?
  • Did the candidate get recognition outside of the candidate’s area of responsibility?
  • Organisation & planning ability?
  • Hiring staff/terminating staff
  • Detail coaching talent and style
  • Meeting style
  • Reporting
  • Planning
  • Staff management
  • Time management – what areas are natural focus / what takes effort?
  • Did you need to performance manage the candidate or have a firm conversation regarding (e.g. but not limited to performance / attitude)?
  • Did the candidate ever receive a warning of termination and if so for what reason
  • Is there any reason to doubt that the candidate would not pass a drug test?

Skills & style

  • Biggest strengths in relation to the job duties in relation to this role that the candidate has applied to?
  • Biggest limitations in relation to the job duties in relation to this role that the candidate has applied to?
  • Did the candidate have any weaknesses in relation to the job duties? (Rating)
  • What would it have taken to get a higher score?
  • How is the candidate best managed?
  • What managing style does the candidate have?
  • Did the candidate run a “tight ship” - how did the candidate do it?
  • Approximate remuneration package?

Reasons for leaving

  • Why did the candidate leave employment with your organisation?
  • Would you re-employ the candidate if the opportunity arose?
  • Ideal role would be?
  • Is there any reason to doubt honesty and integrity?
  • Is there anything else that you think we should be made aware of?

Top Talent

Want to recruit top talent?

Now that you better understand how to conduct effective reference checks using our reference check template, you may be interested in learning more about 11 Recruitment's permanent recruitment services.

11 Recruitment is the leading perm and temp recruitment agency for white-collar staff. We source high achievers for jobs in Perth and throughout Australia.

At 11, we typically get involved in the recruitment process when a client is either seeking a high achiever to elevate their business, recruiting for a role that is hard to fill, or having difficulty sourcing or attracting suitable candidates.

We provide the following recruitment services.

Click the button below to learn more about how 11 Recruitment sources top talent for businesses throughout Australia.

Christian Madsen

What are your thoughts?

I'd love to have a conversation with you about this topic - please leave a comment below if you have any thoughts or opinions 🙂

Christian Madsen

Managing Director of 11 Recruitment

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