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How to Build a Powerful Reference Check Questionnaire with Xref Template Builder


Creating a Reference Check Template Has Never Been Easier

Having the right tools for any job is vital to making sure that you get the best results possible while being efficient and effective. This is equally true when it comes to building a great reference check questionnaire!

This is why we’ve created Xref Template Builder; a simple yet powerful tool designed to make it super easy for you to build a compliant and tailored questionnaire. This tool is free to use and is only the start of the process streamlining possibilities with Xref.

Simple editing makes questionnaire creating easy!

Why is it so important to create a great reference check template?

Because great things happen when you ask the right questions:

  • You make confident and informed hiring decisions
  • You learn more about your candidates
  • You are in a better position to manage and retain great hires
  • You are compliant and help eliminate bias 

High Quality Questions 

Having reviewed over 17 million answers to 100,000+ questions asked using Xref, we have seen what type of questions generate the best insights. One thing is for sure, that there are certainly questions that are more effective than others. As a result of our findings, we have compiled the highest performing reference checking questions into a library of high quality questions available for you to pick and choose from. Additionally, every question that we’ve included has been vetted to ensure that every single one is compliant and will protect you from any potential breaches.

Xref Template Builder tool allows you to easily drop and drag questions into place with a little bit of guidance from our suggestion questions to begin with. This tool gives you the opportunity to put together a clever template that is completely tailored to the role or industry that you’re hiring for. This way, you can create an enjoyable reference experience that meets your needs while also giving you the added assurance that your templates are always reliable and compliant.

Asking the Right Mix of Questions

We are often asked what type of questions should be included in a reference check and the truth is that you need a balanced mix of the right types of questions to meet all the requirements of a good reference check.

The questions we’ve identified as being necessary to every reference template fall under three simple categories:

1. Essential

To create a strong foundation, we recommend that a reference template includes at least five essential questions that account for a candidate's previous employment and performance. These are the kind of questions which will cover the basic needs of a reference and also help to ensure that actions such as employment verification are taken care of.

The essentials include questions such as:

“Please detail the nature of your working relationship (i.e. direct boss, etc).” and “What roles do you think they would be suitable for in the future?”

Ensuring the basics are taken care of means that you can build upon them with tailored questions that are more suited to each candidate and the type of role you’re hiring for.

2. Personal Attributes

Personal attributes are the questions that build a picture of a candidate’s professional personality. The personal attribute questions are a good opportunity to find out what motivates individuals and how they might fit into the workplace culture of your company.

For example, a personal attribute question could include: 

“Can you please rate and describe their ability to use initiative when problem-solving?” and “Please rate and comment on their ability to learn”.

Including these kinds of questions ensures that you’re gaining insight that their new manager will be able to use to manage them or help them adjust to their new role. 

3. Role-Specific

Role-specific questions are used to provide insights into a candidate’s professional capabilities in light of the type of role they’re applying for. Including a tailored balance of both role-specific and personal attributes questions will ensure that you have a well-rounded reference to help you make an informed hiring decision.

An example of a role-specific question could include: 

“Please rate and comment on their computer skills and ability to adopt new software.” and “Can you comment on the level of supervision they required? How well did they work autonomously?”

Including these kinds of questions gives you full control to really tailor your questionnaire and make it relevant for the role or industry that you’re hiring for. 

How to Use Xref Template Builder

Choose the qualities that are important to you.

Step 1 - Choose Attributes

To begin, simply select the industry that you are looking to recruit for from the drop down options and enter the name of the title that you are hiring for.

Identify 3 - 7 key competencies that you are seeking in a candidate that are important for them to have in order to be successful for the role. Some examples of these include ‘teamwork’ or ‘attention to detail’. This will help to filter down and provide some targeted questions for you to start with in the next step of creating your reference check template.

Step 2  - Edit Questions

Next, you will be presented with a series of recommended, high performing questions based on the information that you’ve provided so far. You can then click edit to begin the simple drop and drag process or reordering your questionnaire or start looking up additional questions from our library to include or replace the existing ones. 

We have found that a good reference check questionnaire has a balance of essential, personal attribute and role-specific questions to make sure that you are collecting the most well rounded and accurate information to help your team's decision making. 

Step 3 - Save Template 

When you are satisfied with the questions and the order you have in front of you, you can then save your template. If you’re already a client of ours, simply log in to add the questionnaire to your account. If you’re new to Xref, then you have the easy option to email your finished template to your own email address.

It has never been easier to put together a high quality questionnaire to aid your hiring process.

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