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Create A Reference Check Form For Your Business [Free Template]

An ipad showing a reference check form is laying on a white desk.

If you’re checking references during the hiring process, employee reference check forms and templates can improve efficiency and ensure you consistently gather the same information for every candidate.

Find out how to create a reference check form you can email to references and what it should include. Our sample reference check email form template helps you get started.

If you’re doing your own background checks, employee reference check forms and templates can streamline the screening process and ensure you consistently gather the same information for every candidate. Find out how to create a reference check form you can email to references and what it should include. Our sample reference check email form template helps you get started.

Simply put, conducting a quality reference check takes a lot of time and energy. Hiring managers want to get the most information out of references to make the best hiring decisions. That usually entails asking in-depth, open-ended questions in an interview-style to make the most out of the time you have with the reference.

But not every hiring manager or employer has the time to perform these types of reference checks. That’s when they turn to a professional background screener like GoodHire to conduct reference checks for them. However, if that’s not an option, smaller companies or those with limited budgets may need to resort to other solutions to conduct reference checks.

Enter: employee reference check forms and templates. These not only help streamline the screening process; they’re also typically sent via email so the reference can complete the form on their own time. 

But what goes into creating a reference check form and template for your business? GoodHire is sharing how to create one, what you should include, as well as a sample reference check email form template to get you started.

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Details About The Candidate & Reference Check

First thing’s first, you want to ensure you provide a strong introduction for the reference so they have a good understanding of what’s being asked of them.

A templated introduction should include the following details:

  • Introduce yourself, the company you’re with, and your title
  • Explain that the candidate has listed them as a reference
  • Indicate how long it will take to complete the reference check form
  • Include details like when you would like the reference check form returned to you
  • Ask that they respond or contact you immediately if they are unable to complete it
  • Provide instructions for filling out the form (i.e., if they need to use a certain browser, how to save it once completed, etc.)

For the form itself, some sample fields about the candidate may include:

  • Candidate’s Name
  • Position Sought
  • Company

That way, the reference can more accurately speak to the candidate and their qualifications for the position they’re applying for.

Questions About The Reference

Although a reference check email template is meant to streamline the screening process, you still want to ensure you get to know the reference. By asking more specific questions, you can better understand who the reference is, how closely they worked with the candidate, and more.

Sample questions about the reference can include:

  • Name
  • Company
  • Current job title
  • How they know the candidate
  • How they worked with the candidate
  • Job titles/positions held while working with the candidate

Questions About The Candidate’s Employment & Work

Next, your reference check template will want to include a thorough overview of the candidate’s employment and overall work. This is your opportunity to learn more information that Employment Verifications can’t provide and potentially uncover inconsistencies. You’ll also get the chance to learn more about their general responsibilities, duties, and overall job performance.

When conducting phone interviews with references, you want to keep as many questions open-ended as possible. But for reference check forms and templates, you can condense many of the questions without sacrificing the quality of information you’ll get back. 

For example, instead of asking open-ended questions about time management and communication skills, you can convert them into yes or no questions or ask the reference to rate the candidate on a scale. You can also balance these with open-field comment boxes at the end of each section for references to provide more context.

Sample questions about the candidate’s employment and work can include:

  • Candidate’s employment dates
  • Candidate’s job titles, roles, and dates spent in each
  • Responsibilities
  • Notable accomplishments
  • Reason for leaving

Sample yes/no questions:

  • Job promotions
  • Performance issues
  • Attendance issues

Sample scale (1-5) questions and topics:

  • Time management
  • Communication skills (written, oral, listening)
  • Reliability
  • Dependability
  • Positive attitude
  • Team player

Questions About The Candidate’s Character

A quality reference check should still include a few open-ended questions—even if it’s part of a template. That way, references can share more openly/candidly about candidates instead of being limited to a simple yes or no answer. 

Sample open-ended questions might include:

  • Strongest attributes/strengths
  • Areas of improvement
  • Overall experience working with the candidate
  • Major concerns
  • Anything else they want to add
  • Would they re-hire the candidate. Why or why not

Before You Get Started

Before creating your templated employee reference check form, there are a few things you want to keep in mind: 

Be mindful of the format you’re sending the form in (Word Doc, PDF, Google Form, etc.).

That’s because you want to ensure the document is easy to fill out, limiting any issues or barriers along the way. Ensure the form you send is editable, easy to save, and easy to submit or send back to you.

Make form collection as easy as possible.

Instead of sorting through tons of forms, it may be worth looking into a tool or app that can make the information easy to scan, read, and—ultimately—help you make decisions without taking tons of time.

Sample Employee Reference Check Form Template

Here’s a sample employee reference check form to use as a template. Click the image to open and download the editable PDF:

Sample reference check form from GoodHire.

Create A Seamless Reference Check Process With GoodHire

If creating a reference check form and template isn’t the solution for your business, GoodHire is here to help. GoodHire’s Professional Reference Check services conduct in-depth phone screening interviews for you, saving you valuable time and money you would otherwise spend chasing down references and interviewing them yourself.

All of our phone interviews include open-ended questions to provide you with important information about your candidates work experiences and qualifications. As a result, you have the information you need about each candidate to make the most informed decisions for your business. 

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The resources provided here are for educational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. We advise you to consult your own counsel if you have legal questions related to your specific practices and compliance with applicable laws.

About the Author

Ashley Blonquist is a former news journalist. She writes about GoodHire’s employment screening services and how employers use them to make informed hiring decisions.