Whether you realize it or not, when you provide potential employers with a list of references, those people you mention can make or break your job candidacy. The reason why is simple: Hiring managers can use those conversations, which can be quite in-depth, to really dig in on how good of a hire you would end up being. After all, these are presumably the people who you trust to vouch for you, but they're also counted on to be forthcoming and honest about all your positives and negatives.
The following are just some of the most common questions hiring managers will ask the references you provide, and it can help set your mind at ease to know what those conversations might look like:
1) "Would you re-hire this person?"
This is one of the easiest questions for a hiring manager to ask: If, given the opportunity, the reference would welcome you back to their team with open arms, according to Workbright. Given that you trust them as a reference, you probably assume the answer is "yes," but when the conversation turns to why they would do so, that can be truly enlightening for a hiring manager.
2) "How did they get along with people at your office?"
This question is mostly about culture fit and what kind of person you are to work with, both of which are critical to figuring out how well you will integrate into your potential new team, Workbright said. Effectively, it is asked to determine how you prefer to go about your tasks and whether that meshes well with the existing company culture.
3) "Do you think they're a good fit based on the job description?"
Another way of determining whether the fit is good (especially if you check all the boxes for other qualifications) is to ask whether the job itself aligns with everything you bring to the table, according to the Harvard Business Review. There are plenty of people who may be great candidates on paper, but in actual practice, it doesn't always work out that way through no fault of your own.
4) "How flexible are they?"
Whenever you come into a new company, there is going to be an adjustment period. No matter how good you are at your job, you're easing into an existing way of operating and have to acclimate yourself, the Harvard Business Review noted. Some people handle that change well (and quickly) while others don't, and hiring managers will certainly want to assess which category you fall into.
5) "Did they ever miss a lot of time?"
Finally, you can be a great employee but also be the kind of person that tends to take all your vacation days and sick time, according to The Balance Careers. Some companies don't mind that at all, while others would prefer workers be available for as many days of the year as possible.
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