References are a vital step in the journey to find a nanny that’s the right fit for your beautiful family. While someone might seem great on the phone or by email, via Skype, or even face-to-face, checking your nanny’s references might reveal a lot more, and confirm if they are really suitable for the job. So understanding how to check your potential caregiver’s references can make all the difference.
We’ve put together our top tips for conducting a thorough check of your nanny’s references.
1. Make references a must!
Make it a condition in your job post that applicants provide professional references (not just ones from well-meaning friends and family). Ask all applicants to provide at least two references, but the more references you can check, the better. To ensure they are genuine, it’s a good idea to ask for a written reference as proof that a working arrangement occurred.
Some nannies will not have had much experience working for other families. So while they may not have worked as a professional nanny before, references from their previous workplaces will help you understand how they performed and be a good indicator of their work ethic and personality.
Experienced nannies will have worked for a number of families, so it’s important to get a full understanding of their experience.
If a nanny is a regular user of We Need A Nanny, you can also contact one of our Customer Service Guides to check their history on the site – send us an email with a verification request.
2. Prepare a list of questions
Make a list of questions that cover how well the referee knows the babysitter or nanny. The following list is a guideline for things you can ask a reference:
- When and how long did they work for you?
- Was it full or part-time? Did they work only during the day? Did they stay overnight?
- How many children did they look after, and what were the ages?
- How did the children get on with them?
- How did they act with the children?
- Were they energetic, motivated, mature, creative (or any other qualities you are looking for)? Consider asking them to rate their qualities on a scale of 1-5.
- Did they ever have to deal with an emergency? How did they handle it?
- Did they need to transport your children in a car? Did they use your car?
- Were they clean and tidy?
- Did they stick to your schedule as much as possible?
- Were there any areas they could have improved on?
- Why did they finish up with you? Would you hire them again?
- Is there anything else you would like to add?
3. Make the call
Once you feel well prepared, it’s time to call the referees. If they’re not local (in Australia), make sure you have a contact email address.
Start by introducing yourself, say why you are calling/emailing, and check if they have time to chat. If not, make another time to call back. Then run through the questions.
A good referee will be open and forthcoming. If they are hesitant in answering questions, it might not be a good sign, or maybe there’s another issue, so double check with the nanny if there are any problems with the list.
4. Make the decision
Checking your nanny’s references is crucial to ensure you don’t rush into an arrangement that could fail. While some families need a nanny urgently, it’s important to not rush or skip the screening as it can take more time and effort to search again if the nanny doesn’t work out. The nanny reference check needn’t be stressful. If done carefully and thoroughly, it will hopefully identify a caregiver who’s the right fit for your family.