Hiring a Nanny for Infants: Part 4 – Checking References
For a family with a young child, making the decision to hire child care can be difficult. Once that decision has been made, the real work begins. To help you through this process, I’m giving you my tips, learned from years of experience in child care.
In my first post, I discussed tips on determining what your child care needs are, then in my second post, I gave different options for advertising your needs. The third post was all about interviewing; holding phone interviews to narrow the list to your favourites to interview in person.
Generally, after holding interviews you’ll have a good idea of who you’d like to hire for the position. The next step is to check the nanny’s references. I strongly recommend checking the references of the individual you’d like to hire. Do not hire a nanny who is unable or unwilling to provide you with references. Try to check at least two references related to the candidate’s past experience with children.
When you call the reference, put them at ease about your motives, and try to limit the call to 6-7 minutes. Be informal and friendly, and ask them for general information about the nanny. If this is someone who has used the services of the nanny, ask them for the ages of the children they card for, how frequently she worked, and the length of a typical day worked.
If the reference hasn’t seen the nanny work with children, ask his/her opinion of how the candidate would be around children. Explain your situation by telling them the ages of your children, the frequency they’d be working for you, and any special considerations there are about your position.
For sample questions to ask references, see the resources I have available on CanadianNanny.ca. When speaking to the references, try to ask specific questions such as:
- Do your children like the nanny/sitter?
- Did the caregiver follow the house rules?
- Has there ever been an unpleasant incident?
- Has the nanny/sitter had any attendance issues?
- Is there anything else you need to know?
- Would you hire the caregiver again?
When reference checking is complete, and their criminal record check has come back clean, you can ask them to come for a trial day to observe how they interact with your children. In my next post, I’ll discuss what the trial day should look like and how to analyze the results.