Professional reference check services

Save time and gain valuable insights about your candidate by letting Checkr’s team of experts conduct personal and professional reference checks for you.

Top reasons employers conduct professional reference checks

Make more informed hiring decisions

An employer reference check is a powerful tool used to help you assess whether a candidate is a good fit for the position.

Hire qualified candidates

Employment reference checking before you hire helps give you a realistic assessment of the candidate in the workplace.

Perform due diligence

Conducting a reasonable inquiry into a candidate’s background with a reference check service may protect against a negligent hiring lawsuit.

Why checking professional references is important

An employee reference check service helps you gain insight about a candidate you may not learn from a resume or interview, such as:

Job performance and skills

Get more insight into strengths and weaknesses, areas of improvement, as well as soft skills.

Work accomplishments

In addition to a description of past duties and experiences, learn about work accomplishments.

Personal characteristics

Get a sense of the candidate’s preferred work culture, dependability, and ability to work with others.

“Checkr makes it easy”

“This high volume with a hands off experience can’t be found anywhere else. We are confident in our partners like Checkr to do what they do seamlessly.” 
Kaylan Mills, Head of Marketing

Checkr’s professional reference check service

Scheduling and calling professional or personal contacts provided by your candidates is a time-consuming process. Using a reference check company like Checkr helps reduce your workload. Our team of experts calls the specified references and asks a series of open-ended questions to get the detailed information you need to make an informed hiring decision.

Personal and professional reference checks

Checkr offers both personal and professional reference checks as part of the background check process. Up to three personal and three professional references may be authorized per candidate.

Let Checkr conduct professional reference checks for you.

Frequently asked questions

Learn more about professional reference check services

Employers may choose to conduct a professional reference check during the hiring process to determine a candidate’s eligibility and fit for the role. Speaking with a candidate’s reference helps employers learn more about the candidate, such as character, general reputation and on-the-job work experiences, so they can make more informed, confident hiring decisions.

What is a professional reference check?

A professional reference check involves contacting a candidate’s previous employers, teachers or professors at an educational institution, or other professional references to learn more about the performance, work ability, and character of the individual. This is done by asking a series of open-ended questions, either by phone or email, designed to provide additional insight about the applicant. Employers can contact references directly or partner with an employee reference check service, like Checkr, to conduct the interviews.

Employers may wish to include a professional reference check as part of a comprehensive background screening, which may include a criminal background check, driving record search, or credit history. It may also involve employment verification (also called employment reference checking) which refers to the process of contacting only previous employers to verify the candidate’s job titles and employment dates.

What questions should be asked during a professional reference check?

Employers are able to determine what to ask in a reference check, but the purpose behind the questions is the same: to gain information for a better understanding of the candidate. The reference check is typically performed by the employer, hiring manager, or recruiter. Employers may also use an employee reference check service, like Checkr, to conduct reference checks.

Before discussing a candidate’s professional experience, the reference may be asked introductory questions about the individual. These questions may include:

  • What is the nature of the relationship with the candidate?
  • How long have you known the individual?
  • Would you recommend them to an employer? Why or why not?

Once the employer understands the personal side of a candidate, they may ask additional questions related to the candidate’s work ethic and qualifications, including:

  • What was/is the candidate’s job and nature of their abilities?
  • How would you describe their job experience, including strengths and weaknesses?
  • How did they get along with their associates?
  • How did they show initiative on the job?
  • When they begin a task, would you say they carry it through to completion?
  • What could they do to improve their job performance?
  • In your opinion, have they ever shown a propensity for violence or dishonesty in the workplace?

How should a reference check be conducted?

Employers may conduct reference checks on their own or partner with a reference check company, like Checkr.

If you choose to conduct reference checks on your own, the process typically involves requesting a list of references from the candidate and obtaining permission to contact them, then scheduling time with each to discuss the questions.

While conducting a reference check is relatively straightforward, working with a reference check company may ease the administrative burden on your HR team. With Checkr, third-party researchers conduct the outreach and reference checks, saving you valuable time. Our advanced platform and automated processes streamline compliance, while our easy-to-use online portal keeps applicants updated throughout the process.

How can you stay compliant with professional reference checks?

Employers using a consumer reporting agency (CRA), like Checkr, to run background checks during the hiring process have a  responsibility to ensure a fair and respectful process for the candidate, and to comply with various laws and regulations that govern employment screening. This includes the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), which requires disclosure and authorization before the background check process begins. Employers must inform the candidate that they intend to run a background check and obtain the candidate’s permission to do so.

For reference checks, also known as investigative consumer reports, an additional, special disclosure is required under the FCRA. The employer must provide certification that they have provided special disclosure language to the candidate regarding the investigative consumer report.

If the results of a background check, including the reference check, prompts a decision to deny employment, the FCRA requires employers to follow specific adverse action steps.

Get a professional reference check with Checkr

Professional reference checks are a helpful tool for informed hiring decisions. At Checkr, reference checks can be run as standalone screenings or as part of a comprehensive background check. In addition to employer reference checks, Checkr offers a number of background check services, including criminal background checks, driving record checks, employment and education verification, and drug testing. With Checkr’s advanced platform and automated workflows, you can efficiently and confidently scale your team–get started today.


The resources provided here are for educational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. We advise you to consult your own counsel if you have legal questions related to your specific practices and compliance with applicable laws.

Keep reading

Reference Check Questions For Employment

Employment Reference Check Form: Guide and Template

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