A Comprehensive Guide to Creating a References Template

March 16, 2023
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Claire Stachniewska
A Comprehensive Guide to Creating a References Template

References can provide insight into an applicant's professional and personal character, qualifications, and overall fit with the company. In addition, reference checks can help identify any red flags that may indicate the applicant is not a good fit for the role. 

But, how can you ensure that you get all the information you need? Reference templates are an absolute must. They provide a standard template for referencing other documents, making it easier to ensure consistency.  And if that wasn’t enough, they can also help to save time, since you no longer have to create references from scratch each time you want to reference another document. 

Step 1: Determine the Information to Include

When preparing a reference template, it is important to consider what information you will need to include. While each template will be different, there are a few common pieces of information that you should include. 

First, you should always include a name and contact information. This is essential in case you need to reach out to your potential employee for clarification or more information. Additionally, it is a good idea to request a brief description of their past experience and what they feel they bring to the table. 

Finally, it is a good idea to leave space for any other information they consider relevant, such as where they went to school or any certifications they may have earned. This will help you to get to know your potential employee a little bit better and help you decide whether or not they are the right fit for the job. 

By taking these factors into consideration before creating your references template, you will be sure to create a strong and effective document.

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Step 2: Choose a Format

Once you have determined the information to include, you need to choose a format for your references template. There are several options to consider, including:

  • Standard letter format
  • Table format
  • Bullet-point format

Each of these formats has its advantages and disadvantages, so it is important to choose the one that best suits your needs and those of your team. 

For example, the standard letter format is easy to read and understand, but it can be difficult to fit all of the required information on a single page. On the other hand, table and bullet-point formats can be easier to read and understand, but they can also make it difficult to find specific pieces of information. 

Whichever format you choose, make sure that it is easy for both you and your team to understand.

Step 3: Create the Template

As any HR professional knows, one of the most important tasks on your to-do list is to create a reference template for potential employees. You want to make sure that you are asking the right questions and getting the information that you need to make an informed hiring decision. However, what many people don't realize is that you also need to make sure that the template itself is effective. 

A poorly designed online reference template can be difficult for recruitment agents to navigate, leading to wasted time and frustration all around. For example, you should make sure that your template is easy to navigate. Use obvious headings and logically arranged questions to make it easy for recruitment agents to find the information that they need.

 When possible, use shorter options for yes/no answers, open-ended fields for comments, and drop-down menus for long lists of options. By following these simple tips, you will be well on your way to creating an effective online reference template that will help you make better hiring decisions.

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Step 4: Share the Template

Once you have created your references template, it is important to share it with your team. This can be done via email or through a shared drive. Be sure to provide clear instructions on how to use the template and any specific formatting requirements. 

For example, you may want to specify whether to use single or double spacing, indents, and headings. Additionally, it is helpful to include a link to your style guide so that your team can reference it if they have any questions. 

By taking the time to properly organize and share your reference template, you can ensure that all of your references are consistent and up to date.

Using work references to make informed hiring decisions 

When using work references to make hiring decisions, it is important to keep the following in mind: check dates of employment, confirm contact information, ask detailed questions, and be open to outside opinions. 

Be sure to consult with several trusted advisors before making your final decision. By taking these steps, you can ensure that you are hiring the best possible candidate for the position.

Save time and money with HiPeople Reference Checks

In today’s fast-paced, corporate world, leaders need to be able to rely on their team members to get the job done. By creating a reference check template and including a step-by-step procedure in your team member handbook, you can ensure consistency across the board and save time in the process. 

Have you created a template for your team leader references? If not, what are you waiting for? Let us know in the comments below!

Use HiPeople’s science-backed, compliant reference check modules to build your own survey‍