HR Operations

Reference checks

References provide valuable information about a candidate’s performance, help you to rank candidates, and assist in making your final decision. We recommend that you check at least three references for each candidate, with one of those three being a direct supervisor.

For hiring managers at UWMC, contact your employment specialist to complete references for you for your permanent recruitments.

Collecting references from candidates

  • Check references on final candidates after completing all interviews and prior to making a final hiring decision.
  • During interviews, advise candidates that references will be checked on top candidates and verify their consent with a signed Reference Check Consent Form (PDF). Ensure that the names given are current and previous supervisors or managers. Do not check references that are personal acquaintances and co-workers of your candidate.
  • If a candidate does not want a current supervisor contacted, you may still proceed with reference checks and potentially an offer. You can offer a position contingent upon successful completion of a current supervisory reference. This can be facilitated by your Employment Specialist.

Conducting reference checks

  • Focus reference check questions on knowledge, skills, and abilities required for your specific vacancy. Note the name and title of the person providing the reference as well as the relationship to your candidate. Use the Telephone Reference Check (PDF) for convenience and consistency.
  • If the employer is reluctant to provide information, fax the reference checking consent and authorization form to the reference. If the employer is still reluctant to provide information, ask if he or she will just verify dates of employment and if they would rehire the person.
  • Be consistent in the questions you ask about all applicants. If you check references for one candidate, do not offer the position to another candidate without also checking his or her references.
  • If a reference check indicates that an applicant may have falsified information on his or her application, or that work performance has been unsatisfactory, notify your employment specialist who will assist you in determining the appropriate action to take.
  • References become part of the recruitment record and should be kept for three years.

Note: Reference questions must be job-related and comply with the Fair Pre-employment Inquiry Guidelines.