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Reference Check Survey

We know that the cost of a bad hire is about 30 percent of that individual’s annual salary, and we know that reference checks can help prevent bad hires when you aren’t using dated reference check methods. 

But what if we told you that modern reference checking can also help boost your quality of hire, optimize your onboarding process, and improve the candidate experience? Automated 360 reference checks can help you:

  • Improve the candidate experience by allowing candidates to conduct self-assessment scores
  • Leverage reference checks during the interview to inform your questions
  • Gain more data about candidates that you can aggregate across all references
  • Hire faster and more effectively
  • Reduce bias in the hiring process
  • Leverage reference check answers to learn about candidates and onboard more effectively

What is a reference check survey?

A reference check survey is a set of questions you will provide to a candidate and their reference regarding their skill set, employment history, achievements, temperament, and more. 

Traditionally, hiring used reference checks to identify red flags and verify information on resumes. Today, reference checks are essential for gaining more data about candidates, improving the candidate experience, speeding up your hiring process, and optimizing your interviews. 

Reference check survey best practices

Here are a few best practices for conducting reference check surveys. 

  • Pick the right questions: To get the most out of your surveys, make sure your questions: 
    • Are open-ended and allow your reference to elaborate on the topic
    • Are informed by your candidates. 360 reference check technology allows candidates to pick which references are best suited to answer which questions, so your questions should reflect their input. 
    • Are simple, clear, and to the point
    • Provide space for both positive and negative feedback
    • Are easy to answer, often requiring only one click to proceed
  • Use advanced reference checking methods: Advanced reference check technology, like Crosschq 360, will give you the most out of your reference checks. You’ll be able to automate your reference check surveys, which is a lot faster than conducting manual checks, aggregate data over individual and collective reference checks, and build new talent pools directly from your candidate’s references. 
  • Reduce bias: 360 reference check software reduces bias because it allows candidates to complete self-assessments and compare their scores to their references. On top of that, it will enable candidates to choose which references are best suited to assess a set of skills, giving candidates more of a say in the reference check process. 
  • Improve your onboarding process: Self-assessment scores and reference check answers can help you understand how candidates communicate, interact with others, and respond to feedback. All of that information is valuable data that can help inform how you onboard, train, and communicate with a new hire. 

Common reference check survey questions

Here are 10 reference check survey questions to help you hit the ground running with your survey. Remember that you can and should adjust the wording or presentation to reflect the template of your survey (1-5 rating, short answers, multiple choice surveys, etc.). 

  1. How long did you work with _____?
  2. What was your relationship with _____ like? Discuss how you and _____ worked together. 
  3. What are _____’s greatest strengths?
  4. Does _____ prefer to work alone or with a team? 
  5. Where did _____ fit in team settings? What are some of their strengths in team settings? 
  6. What is _____’s communication style? Were they a good communicator and/or listener? 
  7. Would you rehire _____?
  8. Why did _____ leave the company?
  9. What were some of _____’s biggest accomplishments? 
  10. Did _____ receive any promotions while working with you? 

Reference check survey template

You can use any of the following question types to serve as your template. Keep in mind that with Crosschq, you can fully customize and adjust your survey questions with our easy-to-use survey platform. 

Open-ended questions:

  • How long did you work with _____?


  • What was your relationship with _____ like? Discuss how you and _____ worked together. 


  • What are _____’s greatest strengths?



Likert scale-based questions:

On a scale from 1 to 5, with 5 meaning you strongly agree and 1 meaning you strongly disagree. 


Survey Question






_____ was committed to improving in their role. 


_____ was an effective listener and communicator.


_____ was easy to work with. 



Binary questions:


Survey Question



I would rehire _____.


_____ contributed to a positive work environment


_____ worked well with others in team settings. 


How Crosschq Can Help

Crosschq’s 360 reference check technology has the tools you need to get the most out of your reference checks. You can gather data, optimize your onboarding process, reduce hiring bias, improve the candidate, create new talent pools, and so much more with the right reference-checking approach. 

Staying on top of the candidate experience will improve your quality of hire, especially with long-term insights. You can also leverage Crosschq’s “Q” Report, which looked at 24+ million hiring decisions we’ve helped leaders make. Those decisions have contributed to radical insights about the hiring process that can help you find top talent today, like how most interviewers only conduct three interviews a year.

Reach out today to request a Crosschq demo from our team.

Mark Ko

by Mark Ko

Content Writer

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