15 questions you must ask references of hospitality candidates
Though job prospects across all industries are better today than they were during the Great Recession, it doesn’t take a high unemployment rate to encourage some job seekers to inflate the truth, fudge the details or tell outright lies on their hospitality resumes or job applications. Depending on the charm and skill of the professional, some falsehoods may elude detection even after multiple interviews—leaving the reference check as the only way to separate the honest prospects from those who are less forthcoming with accurate facts. Skip the reference checking process and you increase your likelihood of hiring a dishonest worker—or an honest but bad fit for your company—as a result. Instead, consider these questions you should ask the references of every hospitality candidate.
1. What is your relationship to the candidate?
2. Will you please verify the candidate’s dates of employment and job title?
3. Is the candidate eligible for rehire?
4. Why did the candidate leave his/her job with you?
5. Did the candidate make any lateral moves or receive any promotions while working for you?
6. Is it possible for you to provide the candidate’s starting and ending salaries/wages?
7. What were the candidate’s main job duties in his/her last position?
8. How would you describe the candidate’s usual interactions with you?
9. How would you describe the candidate’s relationship with his/her coworkers?
10. Was the candidate ever disciplined for any issues such as tardiness or absenteeism?
11. Did the candidate do the bare minimum required for his/her job or go above and beyond?
12. How did the candidate react when he/she made a mistake? Did he/she take accountability?
13. How did the candidate handle stressful situations?
14. Was the candidate able to juggle multiple priorities?
15. Is there anything else you think I should know about this candidate?
The answers to these questions will help you determine if the candidate has given you false information about his/her work history and previous salary or exaggerated his/her responsibilities and/or abilities. They will also give you more insight into how well the candidate will fit into your company culture and how he/she is likely to react to common hospitality work situations—like the stress of customer demands and the need to multitask and prioritize.
Some companies have policies in place that prohibit hiring managers and human resource professionals from doing much more than confirming the most basic of facts. However, even these individuals may still be willing to tell you whether or not they’d rehire the candidate in question. If the answer is no, it would be prudent to ask the candidate why he/she thinks the response was given before proceeding with an offer.