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Free Template for Reference Check Questionnaires

min read
Candidate providing referees for reference checking process

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Recruiters need to add value to the hiring process from reference checks.

The quality of the questions asked in the reference checking process drives the quality of insights.

Employment checks require questionnaires that include the best questions.

The challenge is selecting the right mix of questions.

Responses should provide managers with a view of the candidates from different angles.

How can you ensure your questionnaire includes the best questions?

Xref has created Template Builder, a simple questionnaire template for your reference checks.

It is a  powerful tool designed to make it easy to build the best reference check questionnaires.

Employment verification questions should uncover weaknesses and strengths and any other possible red flags.

Insights allow recruiters and hiring managers to make confident and informed decisions.

With Template Builder you can ensure you will get the best questions that will give you the best insights and of course your questionnaire will be compliant.

Creating a Great Reference Check Template Has Never Been Easier

‘Xref Template Builder’ responds to a real need for good quality professional references. Decisions for new hires need a good reference check. Answers assist in confirming thoughts and assumptions on a job candidate. Feedback is more valuable when it comes from someone who has worked with the candidate.

It is essential to ask the right questions.

Template Builder is very easy to use. Anyone looking to create a new reference questionnaire template will benefit. The template is free to use.

Simple editing makes questionnaire building easy!

Animation of template builder questions being moved.
Simple editing makes questionnaire building easy!

What is Xref Template Builder?

Template Builder is a free tool. It allows you to create a reference checking template in seconds, even if you are not a customer. The questions come from our extensive library of high-performing reference check questions.

Xref has more than 10 years of experience in the reference checking space. We are providing a tool that is very easy to use. We analysed thousands of checks. The result is that we were able to collect and put together the most compelling questions.

Choosing the right questions uncovers hidden potential and makes excellent hires.

Xref Template Builder ensures that the questions in your questionnaire follow best practices. Your questionnaire will  include the following question types:

  • Role-specific. Ensuring the data you gather is insightful and will help to inform your hiring decision.
  • Compliant. Offering assurance your questionnaire only includes correct questions. Remove the risk of discrimination.
  • Unbiased. It can be easy for bias to slip into a traditional reference check conversation. Template Builder will include only neutral questions.
  • Insightful. Include questions that are relevant to the candidate or role.  Examples from previous job performance are beneficial.

Template Builder creates tailored questionnaires. It is fast and easy.

You can reuse your questionnaire as many times as you want.

Why do questions to check references matter?

Great things happen when you ask the right questions when checking work references:

  • You make confident and informed hiring decisions
  • You learn more about your candidates
  • You are in a better position to select and manage great hires
  • You are compliant and neutral

What are the best questions to ask for employment checks?

Our system has reviewed 17 million answers to 100,000+ questions asked using Xref. We have the experience of the question types that generate the best insights. We know the questions that work better.

Every question included in the Template Builder library is high performing. The system is designed to produce effective and compliant recommendations.

Our templates aim to deliver the best results. Our questionnaires protect you from any potential breaches.

The Xref Template Builder tool allows you to drag and drop questions into place. We ensure the template includes the right mix of questions. With our tool, you too can put together templates tailored to the role or industry.

Asking the right mix of questions to check references

What type of questions should be included in a professional reference check? The answer is that you need a mix of questions to meet all the requirements of a good template. The list of references provided by the candidate should be able to provide relevant information before applicants start working for your company.

The crucial questions to every reference template fall into three categories:

Essential question section header, green star icon

1. Essential

We recommend that a job reference questionnaire includes at least five essential questions. Give your questionnaire a good foundation.

The fundamental questions should check the candidate's previous employment and performance.

Cover the basics of a professional reference and include employment verification items.

Examples of  essential questions are:

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

In the next stage, you can tailor questions for specific candidates and role types.

Personal attributes section header, pink person icon

2. Personal Attributes

Personal attributes questions build a picture of a candidate’s professional personality.

The personal attribute questions discover what motivates individuals. Consider exploring how candidates might fit into the workplace culture of your company.

For example, questions that check personal attributes related to work could include:

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

These sample reference check questions ensure that you’re gaining insight from the job applicant. Hiring managers use the collected data for management and help them adjust to their new job.

Role-specific section header, blue briefcase icon

3. Role-Specific

Questions that are role-specific provide information on professional capabilities. This information is valuable when you conduct reference checks.

The combination of questions ensures that you have a big-picture of the candidate. The aim is to ensure work reference checks provide valuable information for the complex hiring decisions.

Examples of questions related to the role could include:

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

You can tailor your questionnaire and make it relevant for the role or industry, you could even check the level of knowledge on certain products or services.

How Does Xref's Template Builder Work? 

Xref Template Builder is very easy to use. You can get your questionnaire in 3 simple steps:


Step 1. Provide Role Details

Select the industry from the drop-down menu and enter the role’s name.

Select 3 to 7 key competencies that you seek from a candidate. Think of what is essential for success in the role. Some examples are teamwork or attention to detail. 

In this step, you are building a template for your specific needs.


Step 2. Edit Questions

The system will provide a series of recommended questions based on your information. These questions are high-performing and compliant.

You can change the order of your questionnaire or search for more questions. To reorder your questionnaire, click "Edit" to begin the simple drag and drop.

The best reference check questionnaires have the following combination:

  • 5 essential questions
  • 4 to 7 personal attribute
  • 4 to 7 role-specific questions
  • 9 to 18 questions in total


Step 3. Save Template

Save your template with the questions and the order. 

  • If you’re already an Xref client, simply login to add the questionnaire to your account.
  • If you’re new to Xref, then you have the easy option to email your finished survey template to your email address.

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

Building template


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Ready to build the best questionnaire template for the role you are hiring? Build your questionnaire now

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