Reference checking template for hiring new employees
You can use this template to help you check your applicant’s references when you are hiring for
a new job. Reference checks can help you verify the claims made by applicants in their
interview and help you make more informed hiring decisions.
Suggested steps for checking references
For more information on hiring a new employee, see our ‘Hiring employees’ online learning
course at fairwork.gov.au/learning. For information about minimum employment rights and
entitlements you can also call the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94 or visit www.fairwork.gov.au.
Step 1: Obtain referee details from your interviewees or shortlisted applicants
At the interview stage, ask your applicants for referee details and get their permission to contact them.
Referees are usually past or current employers of the applicant, but they can also be anyone who is
able to provide details about the person’s character, education or suitability for the job. Be aware that
some applicants may be reluctant to have their current employer know that they are applying for
Step 2: Decide what you want to ask the referees
Before you contact the referee, you should check what factors you need to check first. Are there any
particular aspects of their application or their interview that you want to verify? Do you have any
concerns about the applicant’s suitability that the referee may be able to provide clarification on?
You can use the below to assist you with compiling your questions. The template has
been colour coded to assist you to complete it accurately. You simply need to replace
the <red> writing with what applies to your employee and situation.
Step 3: Contact the referees
Think about the best time to contact the referees. For some referees you may need to consider
arranging a specific time to talk where they won’t be busy and will have time to think about their
Step 3: Choose a successful applicant
Use the information that you’ve collated during the reference check, as well as their interview and
application, to help you pick the best person for the job.
The Fair Work Ombudsman is committed to providing you with advice that you can rely on.
The information contained in this template is general in nature. If you are unsure about how it applies to your situation you can
call our Infoline on 13 13 94 or speak with a union, industry association or a workplace relations professional.