References are a must when you are hiring a potential babysitter or nanny. After all, you are leaving your most precious possessions in the care of the individual you choose! If a reference recently employed a babysitter or nanny they share your concerns for quality care, and as a result, they are generally eager to help out a fellow parent in need.
Here’s a list of questions to help in your conversation with references:
- How long did you employ him/her?
- How did you hear about him/her?
- What were his/her hours?
- How many children did he/she care for?
- What kind of wage arrangement did you have (hourly or salary?)
- How would you rate your experience with her and why? (Fair, Good, Excellent)
- If the are no longer working for the reference, what was/is the reason their employment was ended?
- What did your children like about him/her? What did they dislike?
- Is he/she safety conscious? Did you ever have any occasion to worry about the health or safety of your child while in his/her care?
- How would you descibe her family situation? Was it ever disruptive to her work?
- How would you describer his/her attitude about her work?
- How would you expect him/her to handle an emergencry or unusal situation?
- Did he/she take direction and input from you well?
- Did he/she give your feedback on your child’s activities and growth?
- How would you describe his/her work habits?
- Do you have any reservations about his/her ability as a child care provider?
- Would you hire him/her again?
You should call as many references as possible, especially if you are serious about a candidate. If she doesn’t supply a previous employer as a reference, proceed with caution and find out why that is the case. Some situations do end on a bad note, but this does not automatically reflect negatively on her. Be on guard for signs of a pattern of performance or attitude problems which account for poor relations with previous employers.
Written by: Lila Frost