Questions to Ask a Nanny's References
Treat your babysitter and nanny reference checks as you would an interview: prepare a list of questions in advance, and listen for what’s going unsaid. Get really specific, and ask a few leading questions that make negative presumptions about the sitter. Ask "How often was she late for work?" rather than "Was she ever late for work?"
How long did [name] work for you? (Get specific dates of employment and make sure it matches her resume.) What were her hours?
What were her responsibilities during that time? Did she do anything for the family beyond care for the children?
Why did she leave the job? (You want to make sure this matches directly with what the candidate has told you.)
How would you describe her?
What do you see as her strengths and weaknesses?
Can you tell me a little about your relationship with her?
How and when did you communicate about the children?
How much direction did you give her, and how much did she do independently?
Can you give me an example of how she would handle it when your child acted out?
How does she respond to feedback? Can you give me an example of a time when you offered her feedback?
What advice do you have for us on how to manage her effectively?
What’s your assessment of her driving ability?
How often did she arrive late or need to miss work?
Did she request ever request advances on her wages?
Did you ever see any indications that she might have an alcohol or drug problem?
Do you have any other reservations about her ability to provide safe and reliable care to young children?
If you could change one thing about her or your relationship with her, what would it be?
Is there anyone else you think it would be helpful for me to talk to?