Guidelines for conducting reference checks

When conducting business references, use these guidelines:

  1. Prepare in Advance: Know what information you’re seeking and why. Prepare specific questions related to the vendor’s performance, reliability, communication, previous tribal experience and adherence to deadlines.
  2. Request Permission: Always ask the vendor for permission before contacting their references. This demonstrates respect for their privacy and professional relationships.
  3. Choose Relevant References: Select references who have firsthand experience working with the vendor on similar projects or services to ensure the information is pertinent to your needs. If applicable, request Tribal references.
  4. Be Professional: Approach the reference call or email with professionalism and courtesy. Clearly introduce yourself, explain the purpose of the reference check, and assure confidentiality.
  5. Ask Open-ended Questions: Pose open-ended questions that prompt detailed responses. Examples include: “Can you describe the vendor’s communication style and responsiveness?” or “How did the vendor handle challenges or unexpected issues?” “Were the Materials delivered on time?” “Did they respect they respect Tribal sovereignty?”
  6. Listen Attentively: Pay close attention to the reference’s responses, noting any patterns or recurring themes. Listen for both positive endorsements and areas of concern.
  7. Verify Information: Cross-reference the information provided by the reference with other sources, if possible, to ensure accuracy and reliability.
  8. Respect Confidentiality: Respect any confidentiality agreements or sensitivities shared during the reference check. Avoid disclosing sensitive information to unauthorized parties.
  9. Document Findings: Take detailed notes during the reference check to capture key insights and observations. Document both positive feedback and areas for improvement.
  10. Follow Up: After conducting the reference check, follow up with the vendor to discuss the findings, address any concerns, and explore opportunities for improvement or clarification.

By following these guidelines, you can conduct thorough and respectful business references that help inform your decision-making process.