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 "...Reference...When Hiring a Nanny or Babysitter" 
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Post "...Reference...When Hiring a Nanny or Babysitter"
How to Ask for a Reference Person When Hiring a Nanny or Babysitter
by: Doreen Lee

When it comes to screening candidates for the right nanny or babysitter, you need more than an applicant’s credentials to make the right decision. You also need to know more about the candidate’s character and her attitude towards work. A lot of babysitters and nannies come with degrees in child development and have even gone through a lot of specialized nanny training. But there are only a few of them who can really practice what they have learned and those who are truly adept at handling children and catering to their needs.

Learning more about a candidate’s character

The only way to find out how a nanny or babysitter would perform given the set of responsibilities that you present is by finding out how she coped in previous jobs. This is why character references are important. You can, of course, ask the applicant what she thought of her previous jobs and the things that she liked or disliked about them.

But it is also a good idea to look into the other side of the coin and find out what her previous employers, clients and colleagues have thought about her performance. Contacting character references will help you know more about the candidate’s personality and whether or not she has the right disposition to handle the challenge that you have in store.

Types of character references

Most of the seasoned babysitters and nannies are more than ready to furnish their prospective employers with a list of character references. If the applicant does not volunteer this information, you have the right to ask for it. Candidates who take offense on this request might not be suitable for the job at all.

References can be previous employers, a supervisor, professor or anyone who can vouch for the applicant’s character and work ethic. You will want to get references to her last two employers. It’s also important to get the dates when the candidate has worked for them. In case you notice a substantial gap in the dates, you want to find out why this is so. It would also be a good idea to ask her about the gap and why she chose to leave each employer (or why she was let go).

What to ask the references

You need to take the time to contact the candidate’s references, particularly her previous employers. Here are some of the many questions that you may want to ask each individual.

1. How long has the candidate been working for you?
2. Is she still taking care of your kids?
3. How old were your children when you employed the candidate’s services?
4. How many hours did she work and what was her schedule if it was a regular arrangement?
5. What were the caregiver’s weaknesses from your perspective?
6. How did she interact with your children?
7. What types of activities did she do with your kids?
8. Did she ever encounter emergencies while taking care of the children? How did she handle them?
9. How was the candidate compared with all other babysitters that they might have had?

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Tue Jul 28, 2009 9:37 am
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