Reference Checks – The Key to Hiring the Best Life Sciences Talent

Companies conduct reference checks to validate professional employment, but they can also be useful in understanding the strengths of a prospective hire, potential areas for improvement, and how a candidate might function in your company’s environment. In the Life Sciences industry, where talent acquisition is critical, reference checks are especially important.

When it comes to senior hires, a 360-degree view is necessary. This would include a candidate’s supervisor, peer, and direct report as each of these reference types may have different impressions. It’s crucial to understand who you are speaking with and the nature of that person’s relationship with the candidate.

Great reference check questions might include:

  1. Give me just one word that best encapsulates the candidate? Please explain.
  2. What would you change about the candidate (areas for improvement / development)?
  3. Executive communication/presentation skills (written/verbal/presentation/listening)?
  4. Specialty team: where would you place the candidate (what role types – are they more of a start-upper, scale-upper, or optimizer)?
  5. Where did the candidate stand in comparison to other professionals in the same line of work?
  6. What was the candidate’s greatest contribution to your organization?
  7. What do you think motivates the candidate, professionally?
  8. Reason for departure (voluntary/involuntary)? Would you rehire?
  9. Is there anything else that you might like to add to assist us in the hiring process or anyone else you’d recommend I speak to?

It’s important to note that questions can be altered, added, or deleted given a specific role but it’s best to keep questions consistent among different candidates that might proceed to the reference checking stage of an interview process.

Reference checks can make or break a hiring decision. As a Life Sciences executive, if you’d like some help with reference check questions that will help you hire the best and brightest, please contact us. We have years of experience working with Life Sciences companies to help them identify and hire top talent.

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