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Reference Check Call Scripts to Use During Hiring

There are several reasons why you might call a reference in the hiring process—even if you’re leveraging a digital reference check. 

For example, you can follow up with a reference check call to dig deeper into a candidate if you want more resume information, are parsing through contradictory information, or want a reference to expand on their digital report, 

Since you’ll be interacting with candidates in the moment, it’s important to be prepared for your reference check call. That’s where a reference check call script can be essential to a successful hiring cycle. 

Why Reference Check Call Scripts Are Important

If you only get one call with a reference, you want to make sure it counts. Reference check call scripts ensure you ask all the most important questions, plan to get your desired answers, and have a standardized template to offer other hiring leaders and managers.

When 43 percent of team leaders regret making a hiring decision because they want to hire someone quickly, it pays to plan appropriately, ask the right questions, and leverage every pre-hire tool at your disposal. 

How to Use a Reference Check Call Script

Reference check call scripts work best when they have some level of flexibility. Because you’ll be hiring for different roles, you should have space within each script for unique questions that cater to your position.

However, you can follow some basic communication guidelines for most of your scripts. Introductions, reference check questions that verify resume information, and questions that verify employment history will be uniform for most positions. Call scripts are also excellent ways of standardizing these questions so you can administer scripts to various departments and ensure quality across widespread hiring campaigns. 

Here are some best practices you can follow: 

  • Leave room for customization within the call script
  • Include language necessary for any reference check call—introductions, goodbyes, and employment history information
  • Create several reference check call scripts for the primary roles you expect to be filling—e.g. reference check call scripts for IT positions, reference check call scripts for customer service positions, reference check call scripts for leadership positions, etc.
  • Use your reference check call script in conjunction with digital reference checks
  • Make sure your call scripts are well-written, easy to follow, well-formatted, and error-free
  • Make sure your call scripts strike a balance between personability and professionalism

Examples of Reference Check Call Scripts

We’ll break down the call script into sections, which can help hiring managers and team leaders segment different parts of the call into digestible sections.


You: Hello, this is [your name]. I’m calling from [company name]. How are you today?

Reference: Hi, I’m doing great. How about yourself?

You: I’m doing well, thanks for asking. I’m calling because you were listed as a reference for [candidate name], who’s being considered for a [position name] role at our company. I was hoping to speak with you briefly regarding your work experience with [candidate name]. 

Reference: Absolutely. Happy to help and provide some insights on [candidate name] work experience. 

You: Awesome. Thanks for helping out 

Reference questions

You: Let’s start with some basic info about [candidate name]’s work experience. Can you verify that they worked at [company name] from [dates] as a [role name]. 

Reference: [Answer]

You: Great, thanks for that. And what was your professional relationship with [candidate name]? 

Reference: [Answer]

You: Awesome. What were some of [candidate names]’s responsibilities and duties in the company? How well would you say they accomplished those duties and responsibilities? 

Reference: [Answer]

You: Got it, thanks. Based on your experiences with [candidate name], how would you describe their communication and collaboration skills?

Reference: [Answer]

You: Perfect, just a couple of more questions here. How would you describe their [you can use skills and competencies relevant to the role you’re filling] skills? Were they proficient in [skills, competencies, and software]? 

Reference: [Answer]

You: Great. Okay, last question here. Is there anything important you think we need to know about [candidate name] for the role they’re being considered for? Any final comments or things you’d like to add are welcome.

Reference: [Answer]

Concluding the call

You: Thanks so much for that! I think that’s it for me. If you have questions or want to reach out to me in the future, feel free to contact me at [provider phone number email]. 

Reference: That sounds good. And no problem, happy to help with the hiring process. Best of luck filling the position.

You: I appreciate that, thank you. Have a great day. 

How Crosschq Can Help Your Reference Check Strategy

While it’s good to have a call script ready for the chance that you want to call references or dig deeper into a candidate, you can benefit from having an automated reference check solution in place.

Crosschq’s 360 digital reference checks will automate your references, provide reports 95 percent faster than traditional references, seamlessly integrate with your ATS and workflows, and provide you with key insights into quality of hire analytics. 

Sign up for a demo today to learn more about how Crosschq can transform your reference check strategy.

Mark Ko

by Mark Ko

Content Writer

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