A lot of times when people do reference checks on candidates, they fail to adapt the reference checking process to the type of position that they’re looking to fill and therefore ask very generic questions. This fails to uncover the kind of information that you really need to have in order to understand whether or not a specific candidate is a good match with the specific job you’re trying to fill.
Prior to performing reference checks on sales and marketing candidates, make sure that you come up with a specific list of questions that you’re going to ask each reference that are aligned to the exact hiring criteria that you’ve set for the position that you’re trying to fill. If you’re looking for a market research person, and you’re trying to check references on a candidate, make sure that you go into depth regarding their market research capabilities, their analytical skills, and other aspects of the candidate’s qualities that would indicate whether or not they have the right DNA for a market research position. If you’re hiring an internet marketing person, make sure that you ask questions relative to their knowledge of search engine marketing, their understanding of email platforms, their ability to manage pay-per-click campaigns and other job-specific hiring criteria.
So, as you check references on sales and marketing candidates, make sure that you adapt the questions that you ask each reference to the job you are trying to fill. What you’ll find is that you’ll uncover much more relevant information than whether or not the person is just a good person or whether or not they’ve just worked at the company. What you really want to get to is the heart of their achievement, there aptitude and their match with your specific position.