By nature, candidates are only giving you the answers that show them to be the best of the best. But how do you know if they really are the best? Asking a candidate for references and actually checking them can often give you a good sense of the bigger picture surrounding a candidate. When calling references, you want to start out by verifying basic info, like employment dates, responsibilities, position title and salary. For further questions, relate back to what you already know from the candidate’s interview. Ask about the candidate’s accomplishments and contributions. Keep in mind that references will often try to be more positive for the sake of the candidate, so it is more important to pay attention to anything that isn’t negative rather than be swayed by glowing recommendations. Ask what the candidate needs to improve upon or if the reference would willingly work with them again. Watch for details that don’t match up with what the candidate told you. Finally, check with multiple references to get a better perspective.