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Reference request for an AP I wouldn't recommend - what to do?

(17 Posts)
MGMidget Tue 17-Sep-13 15:17:04

A former AP of ours has left a message asking me to be a referee as she is currently looking for another AP job. She left us a while ago, was only with us a few weeks before she decided to leave and was hopelessly disorganised. We've had other issues since that have come to light after she left too. I also know that she has since been fired from another AP job and left another family after a couple of weeks for reasons she ought to have considered before she joined them. I am just wondering what's the best thing to do - refuse to be a referee or try to give a balanced reference mentioning positives as well as negatives. The problem is if I told a referee some of the anecdotes of our experience with her I just don't think she would get the job! So I am wondering whether no reference is better than speaking to a referee. I honestly couldn't recommend her for an AP job if I am asked that question! What would you do?

Poledra Tue 17-Sep-13 15:19:25

I'd refuse. But then I'm a wimp...

topicsactiveimon Tue 17-Sep-13 15:21:52

I would tell her that you cannot give her a reference as she was with you such a short time, but are happy to confirm the dates she worked for you. I would literally write her a letter to say, AP worked for us from date X to date X. And that's it. Tell her quite clearly you would be unwilling to speak to any potential employers.

poachedeggs Tue 17-Sep-13 15:22:42

"I can confirm that AP worked for us from x date to x date."

Says nothing. Says it all. smile

GladbagsGold Tue 17-Sep-13 15:22:57

I'd respond saying

I can confirm that x worked for us as an au pair. She started on [date]. She was with us until [date], having given us her notice on [date].

Yours sincerely

OP

poachedeggs Tue 17-Sep-13 15:23:09

Cross posts!

or she worked for us from x date to y date when she left by mutual agreementwink

I would go with dates (short period would raise questions in my mind), and perhaps put my phone number or contact details on the reference. You can't put anything which is untrue in a reference, but you can be honest. If she was as bad as you say, she should be considering something other that being an AP!

NomDeClavier Tue 17-Sep-13 16:22:33

Definitely write something giving dates and a contact phone number.

Any potential host family is likely to read into that and if they call you then you just answer questions very factually.

blueshoes Tue 17-Sep-13 16:24:44

Agree with all the posts about a very bland corporate-type reference. The fact she only stayed for a few weeks and giving non-info beyond "mutual agreement" is a red flag if I ever saw one.

If the aupair ask if the family can speak to me, I will decline. If forced to, I will be frank because I have always appreciate when other referees have been frank with me.

She seems deluded to even ask you for a reference.

LadyHarrietdeSpook Tue 17-Sep-13 22:49:22

I'd say sorry but I don't think I'd be of much use seeing as you were with us for such a short while. Can't see any consequences for u saying that. I would lose sleep over it.

LadyHarrietdeSpook Tue 17-Sep-13 22:52:10

Sorry wouldn't lose sleep.

MissMarplesBloomers Tue 17-Sep-13 23:03:58

Reminds me of a reference I got for a new employee

"Miss X was employed by me as a nursery nurse, a post for which she was entirely adequate"

Of course I rang and got the whole story as Boss intended I should, but said she'd deny it if challenged & wouldn't put it in writing.

Clever !

MGMidget Tue 17-Sep-13 23:13:55

Thanks for the suggestions. I think she's perhaps a bit desperate as she doesn't stand a chance of a good reference with her subsequent employers! I've said I'll do her a written reference confirming dates.

Fridayschild Sat 21-Sep-13 07:11:56

Just to add that an issue for you may not be a problem for another family. I had a Spanish mother's help while I was on maternity leave but wanted someone with English mother tongue when I went back to work. When I was asked for a reference for my Spanish lady it was from someone who wanted a carer to speak Spanish to her DC. The reference for my English speaker was that she wasn't great at ironing nor sticking to a Gina Ford type routine - neither of these were what I wanted and she stayed with us very happily for over 3 years.

I appreciate you have not mentioned the problems with your AP and they might be of an entirely different nature!

MGMidget Sun 22-Sep-13 23:56:57

Yes I'd rather not be too specific as it could make us and her identifiable if I recounted lots of detail. However, it's probably things that many or all families would be concerned about!

magicberry Wed 25-Sep-13 22:58:18

Be very careful with references - there can be potential legal issues with mentioning negatives. So just go with the bland reference others have mentioned - like they say, it says it all!

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