Reference Check Questions


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NameReference Check Questions
A typeDocumentation
DSST Public Schools

Reference Check Questions
Reference Process:

  • Check 3 references:

    • A current colleague

    • Director/Supervisor (Department Chair, Assistant Principal)

    • School/Organizational leader

    • If additional references are needed to do questions/concerns, a fourth reference should be called that is not on the candidate’s original reference list. The interviewer should determine who would be the best reference to shed light on the questions/concerns.

    • If a candidate comes from a teacher preparation program (TFA, TNTP, schools of education), the program coordinator who worked with the candidate should be substituted for the current colleague.

  • Always talk to the references via phone

  • Letters of reference can be reviewed, but do not substitute for in-person reference checks.

  • A candidate always has weaknesses. Require references to identify at least 2 weaknesses and not duck these questions.

  • Reference checks should occur prior to the on-campus Round 2 interviews and after the first round interview for highly rated candidates and after Round 2 for candidates who we are unsure of.

  • At the candidate’s request, reference checks can be delayed until right before the offer if a candidate is concerned about her/his relationship with current organization.

Standard Questions:

  • What is your work relationship with the candidate?

  • What are the candidate’s greatest strengths as a teacher?

  • What are the candidates’ greatest weaknesses as a teacher?

  • How has the candidate demonstrated measurable student achievement growth?

  • What kind of learner is the candidate?

  • How does the candidate respond to feedback?

  • In terms of absolute performance, where does the candidate fall in comparison to her peers (TNTP core, TFA second year Corp etc..), Top 10%, 30%, 50%

    • What would the candidate have to get better at to be in the top 5 or 10%? (depending upon where the candidate lands in the first question)

  • In terms of work ethic, where does the candidate fall in comparison to her peers (TNTP core, TFA second year corp etc..). Top 10%, 30%, 50%

    • What would the candidate have to get better at to be in the top 5 or 10%? (depending upon where the candidate lands in the first question)

  • Would you re-hire the candidate if you had the opportunity to?

  • What else is important to know about this candidate that we have not already talked about?

Alternative Questions: Other questions should be added as needed depending upon candidate profile. These questions could include:

  • A previous employer: Why did the candidate leave? Was she/he not asked back?

  • Is the candidate a strong member of his/her team? Do the openly contribute to the organization beyond their own work to make the organization and those around him/her better?

  • Has the candidate ever let you down in a significant way?

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