After you have trialed a prospective nanny that you feel is a great fit for your family, it’s time to check their references. As you begin making phone calls, you may be asking yourself exactly how reliable are these references?
Evaluating the Referee
When beginning to check a nanny’s references, always take into consideration the background of the referees. Are all of the references the nanny’s immediate family members, or are other employers who have used the nanny’s services included? How recent are they, and do their responses line up with the information the nanny provided? For example, if a nanny reports working with a family for two years, but the referee indicates the nanny worked there 6 months, it may be a good idea to inquire about the time frame.
Furthermore, it can be a good sign when a nanny has multiple references who are not just family members. Even if a nanny has no prior childcare experience, job references can be more reliable than family members as they can actually vouch for the nanny’s work ethic and organizational abilities, not just their character.
Having a referee provide detailed responses to your questions can be a great sign that they are a reliable reference for your nanny. Giving informative answers shows that the reference really knows the nanny, and can accurately vouch for their abilities, or deficiencies. This is also a good sign because it shows that the nanny has actively communicated with their reference and has maintained a positive relationship with a previous employer.
While all nanny references may not enthusiastically answer every question, there are some specific red flags to look out for when evaluating references. One red flag is if a reference hesitates when answering questions. While some references may just be nervous speaking to a stranger on the phone, if a reference won’t give clear answers, or avoids certain questions this may be a sign that the reference is trying to withhold negative information about the nanny.
However, this could also be the sign that the reference doesn’t actually know the nanny very well and is just trying to give information to make the nanny look good. Either way, these are both signs that a reference may not be a reliable source in judging the nanny’s character and work abilities.
Checking a nanny’s references may seem like just a formality when you are already confident that you have found a great caregiver for your child. However, they can provide a lot of information on the types of work the nanny has performed, and how they have been evaluated in different environments.
Most of the time when you have found that a nanny is a great fit for your family, their references will only reaffirm your confidence in the nanny. However, reference checking is still an important, and informative, step in the hiring process.
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