This post originally appeared June 2011, but the information is still valuable. Reference checking can be a daunting task, but don’t delay in this important step in finding and hiring your nanny.
As the Placement Counselor for TLC for Kids in St. Louis, I often take for granted the things I do everyday. For example, this morning I was talking to a client who was ready to call references on a nanny she was interested in hiring. She said that she had her questions ready – but just wasn’t sure how to go about it. She didn’t know how to start the conversation and needed some tips. It dawned on me that this is definitely a topic that St. Louis parents are interested in learning a little more about.
When taking a childcare reference on a potential nanny:
- Introduce yourself and explain why you are calling. Let the person know you are a parent and the ages of your children. Explain that you promise to keep confidential all of the responses and that the feedback of their former nanny/babysitter is extremely important to you.
- When you ask the various childcare related questions, pay attention to the person’s voice inflection and pace of their answer. If the person answering the questions is hesitant or seems unsure of any of the answers, this is a definite red flag. Many people are hesitant to talk negatively and this is when you must push a little and assure the reference that you are considering bringing their former nanny into your home. You are counting on their honesty!
- If the reference seems unsure of information or answers to the questions, something isn’t adding up. This could indicate a false reference, which is something that is of course unacceptable.
When in doubt, trust your gut instincts and make sure that you are 100% comfortable with the applicant you choose. References are a great way to get a feel for the integrity and character, not to mention the experience level of a childcare provider.
At TLC for Kids, we love it when a parent gushes and is super excited to talk to us about their former nanny…usually, that means her other references are also stellar and she is a great find!
Good luck and if you have any comments or suggestions please let us know!
TLC for Kids, Inc.