How to Reference Check a Babysitter - 10 Great Questions to Ask

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Conducting a reference check for a sitter or nanny is one of the most important steps to take before scheduling a date.

An interview or an email exchange with a babysitter can provide you with some valuable information, but it’s only an initial snapshot.

Reference checking babysitters will take just 5-10 minutes per call and will give you helpful insights into the sitter’s past work performance, reliability, skills, knowledge and character.

Reference checks help you verify the information that the babysitter provided to you in her profile, resume or at the interview.

Reference checks will also set you up for success and avoid any unexpected issues later on, like cancellations. Referees will be able to confirm that the babysitter is reliable, prompt and trustworthy, so you can confidently count on her.

This step will be time well spent to confirm you’ve found the perfect match for your family.

Here are our tips to reference check your sitter or nanny before they start working with you:

How do I start?

Gain permission from the babysitter before contacting her referees.

What kind of referees are needed?

Professional references are best. They may include past employers, managers or direct supervisors. If the babysitter is young and does not have any previous babysitting experience, then a past teacher from school will be helpful.

How many referees should I speak to?

Ideally talk to 2 referees. Two sources of information will paint a more complete picture of the candidate. Each referee will have different experience and evidence to share with you.

10 Reference Check Questions To Ask

Begin by introducing yourself and check that the referee has 5 minutes to chat. Provide enough information about your babysitting role to give context, then ask your questions.

  1. In what capacity do you know this candidate?
  2. How long have you known them?
  3. What were the duties of their role for you? (e.g., the number and ages of the children they cared for, day or night shifts, the tasks involved)
  4. How well did they relate to your children and perform the role?
  5. What did you consider to be their main strengths?
  6. Were there any areas they needed to improve?
  7. Was there ever an emergency or challenging situation and how did they manage this?
  8. Can you comment on their
    • Punctuality
    • Reliability
    • Honesty
    • Responsibility
    • Tidiness
    • Initiative
    • Focus on child health and safety
    • Ability to support age/developmentally-appropriate play
    • General conduct and behavior
    • Driving skills, if relevant
    • Other skills / knowledge you require for your role/family.....
  9. Is there anything else you would like to add?
  10. Would you re-hire them again?

That’s it! Reference checking is such a simple step, yet so important.

When parents are time-poor, it’s tempting to skip this step. But it’s wise to complete reference checks to confirm your choice before booking a date. That way you can be confident that the babysitter will be everything you hope for - she’ll arrive on time, will be wonderful with the children and you’ll be able to leave the house happily as planned.

We hope these tips help, so you can find the perfect babysitter or nanny for your family!

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