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Asking candidates for references email template

Before extending a job offer to candidates, consider getting references from their former managers or coworkers. This way, you can make well-rounded hiring decisions by getting feedback from people who’ve seen your potential hires on the job.

Use the following email template to ask candidates to provide references during the final hiring stages. Two or three contacts are usually sufficient to learn about candidates’ past work performance.

To avoid back-and-forth emails, make sure you ask candidates to send you all necessary contact information, including names, phones or emails and the working relationship they had with their references.

You can ask specifically to get references from managers if, for example, you want to learn whether your candidates can follow instructions, take initiative and meet deadlines. To check how candidates behave as part of a team, ask for references from coworkers.

Asking for references email template

Subject line

[Job_title] at [Company_name]

Email body

Dear [Candidate_name] / Hi [Candidate_name],

Thank you for taking the time to talk to us about the [Job_title] position and [completing your assignment]. We enjoyed getting to know you and we’d like to move to the [next/final] stage of the process. Could you provide me with [two] references of yours? It would be nice if you could send me the names, reporting relationship and phones or emails of [two] of your former [managers/colleagues].

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

Email sign off

All the best / Kind regards,

[Your name]
[Your email signature]

When to ask for candidate references

It’s generally advisable to request references after a successful interview. This timing ensures that you’ve had an initial assessment of the candidate and see potential in their fit for the role. By waiting until after the interview, you also avoid the premature task of checking references for candidates who might not progress to the next hiring stage.

However, while post-interview is an optimal time, it’s crucial to ask for references before making the final job offer. The insights and feedback from references can play a pivotal role in making an informed hiring decision.

Additionally, always ensure that the candidate is comfortable with you reaching out to their references. Some individuals might have reservations, especially if they’re concerned about their current employer discovering their job-seeking activities.

How to ask for candidate references

When you’re ready to request references, it’s essential to approach the matter with clarity and respect. If you’re considering adding a section in the job application for candidates to list references, be mindful that some might prefer to provide this information at a later stage.

When reaching out to a candidate to ask for their references, personalizing the message can make a significant difference. Addressing the candidate by name and specifying the position they’ve applied for adds a touch of professionalism and shows attention to detail.

It’s also beneficial to be transparent about the reference-checking process. Informing the candidate about who will be contacting the references, whether it’s via a phone call or email, and what specific topics or questions will be covered can alleviate any apprehensions they might have.

It’s equally important to specify the kind of references you’re seeking. For instance, if you’re looking for professional rather than academic references, being clear about this helps the candidate provide the most appropriate contacts.

Providing a clear timeframe for when you’d like to receive the references can ensure the process remains timely and efficient. Emphasizing the importance of up-to-date contact information for references is also crucial to avoid any communication hiccups.

Lastly, reassuring the candidate about the confidentiality and professionalism of the reference check can provide them with peace of mind, especially if they’re concerned about the implications for their current role.

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