Reference Checks

Once a finalist for a position has been identified, reference checks must be completed.  These are conducted by contacting the candidate’s current/most recent supervisor and supervisors from previous positions.  These supervisory references should be solicited over any personal references listed by the candidate on their application to ensure an accurate picture of the candidate’s professional qualifications and work history.

It is an important professional courtesy that you contact the candidate BEFORE you contact their references, or to get their permission to contact additional individuals who are not on their list of references if that is the committee’s desire.

  • For the sake of consistency, telephone references for each applicant should be checked by the same person, or team of people whenever possible.
  • It is helpful in some cases to make a telephone appointment in advance.
  • Make a checklist of specific questions and topics to be discussed or use the reference check form.
  • Identify yourself, your organization and department, and the reason for your call. Assure the individual that references are confidential. Try to establish a rapport.  Make sure that they know the specific position and general responsibilities and qualifications requested.
  • Allow time for responses; follow up and probe when you feel the person is reluctant to discuss certain topics.
  • Make every effort to be open-minded and objective.
  • Document the reference checks (employer, name of individual who provided the reference, questions asked, and responses).
  • Questions must be relevant and related to position being filled.

Information obtained in a reference check is completely confidential, but may be subjected to a court order.  It is the policy of the Commonwealth of Virginia to ensure compliance with the Privacy Protection Act of 1976.

A reference check form should be used to guide the discussions with current and prior supervisors by ensuring information.

In the event a candidate has a limited job history, has been self-employed, already works for UMW, or has a period of extended unemployment, please contact the Recruitment Office on guidance on how to proceed.