Suitability Assessment Program Guidance: Appendix I. Example Questions for Use in Reference Interviews

  • References should be asked questions so the interviewer can understand the nature of the reference’s relationship to the applicant, in what context they were acquainted, and how well the references knows the individual being assessed such as:
    • What was the period of time in which you worked with the applicant?
    • Describe your relationship to the applicant while at your institution.
    • Did the applicant report directly to you or another supervisor?
  • References should be asked specific questions about the applicant’s performance of duties and personality while working as a member of a team, such as:
  • What were the applicant’s duties and how well did he/she perform while at your institution?
  • Can you describe the applicant’s ability to work as part of a team?
  • While the applicant was at your institution, did you have any interactions with the applicant that might have been inconsistent or unusual?
  • References should be able to describe the applicant’s willingness to abide by applicable safety and security regulations or policies. This speaks to potential issues with authority that may cause an individual to have difficulties adhering to the principles of safety and security required for work with Tier 1 BSAT.
  • Interviewers should attempt to confirm any information on the applicant’s application. For example, a reference could be asked if they remember where the applicant undertook undergraduate or graduate training, or what city they may have lived in at a given time. Of course, these questions are not useful if the reference does not know the answers, but if their answers are significantly different from the responses of the applicant, those details should be reviewed with the applicant for accuracy.
  • References should be asked whether they would hire the individual again and why or why not.
Page last reviewed: September 9, 2020