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Dilemma: verbally offered nanny position to one person; now met far more suitable candidate

(53 Posts)
PacificDogwood Tue 04-Oct-11 21:41:15

This is the first time we have interviewed for a nanny.

Met 8 candidates, our first choice then pulled out and position was offered to second choice first reserve.

I was no longer actively looking for further possible candidates, but have been unable to pull my Gumtree ad (don't ask; Gumtree will not talk to my computer apparently), so had a late reply who lives around the corner from us, well qualified for the job, nice, sounds reliable (I've not had time to check references yet).

The person I have offered the job to has been slow in providing references, seems oddly hesitant about the job and I just find myself not 'gelling' with her.

How big a complete cow would I be if I withdrew the joboffer from Nanny1 and offered it to Nanny2? Jobstart is the 1.11.2011.

Please be brutally honest.

Sam100 Tue 04-Oct-11 21:50:02

I think you should chase up nanny 1 to check she does actually want the job. Be nice and say - look, getting mixed signals here, job offer is conditional on references - if we don't get them then we will consider withdrawing. It could be you are her second choice too and she is waiting to see if another opportunity pans out.

annh Tue 04-Oct-11 21:50:37

When you say "slow" in providing references - how slow exactly? Have you received any of her references yet? Are they written or verbal? No excuse for not providing phone numbers really.

How did you feel about her when she was your original, albeit, second choice? Were you always a bit unsure about your choice or, hand on heart, is this only since you have found a potentially better option?

VivaLeBeaver Tue 04-Oct-11 21:51:23

Yes you would, she may have handed notice in somewhere else.

But I would get in touch and give her a deadline for providing references. It may not be her fault, the referees may be slow. Only so much she can do, but find out what's happening. Ask her if she still wants the job, if she says no then problem solved.

Jodyisagirlsmane Tue 04-Oct-11 21:51:33

Speaking as someone who has had a job offered to her, and then given to someone else... quite a big cow ;)

BUT saying that, I was more annoyed at the way the family messed me about, rather than them wanting someone else. I understand that parents need to be totally comfortable with the person they are leaving their children with. I think as long as you are honest with her, and - a biggie - DON'T re-offer her the job if Nanny2 turns out to be not so good as you thought, then it's a hazard of the job. She will probably be upset, but if she is being hesitant about the job... maybe she doesn't feel like she has gelled with you either!

Knackeredmother Tue 04-Oct-11 21:52:29

I think you should go with your gut instinct here although not sure about the legalities of withdrawing a verbal job offer.

eurycantha Tue 04-Oct-11 21:52:50

I`m a nanny and if you had done this to me I would obviously be upset as this nanny will be when you tell her that circumstances have changed.I have stayed in job s for anything from four to ten years if you have not gelled with this nanny and do believe the 2nd nanny is better ,you have to go with her, this is only fair to you and your will be seeing her every day for a long time and hopefully become very close to her ,you have to go with the one you prefer .It`s like choosing a new friend ,I like to think I am friends with my ex employers and still see most of them and their children.It also sounds from a practical side that a nanny just around the corner would be very convenient for you

cherub59 Tue 04-Oct-11 21:55:08

Withdraw the offer. If no contract signed no problem.

If she wants the job she would accept pretty quickly. Might mean she has another job close to an offer she is hoping for?

From experience if you don't "gel" with your nanny it won't work. You won't completely trust her and she may well start to annoy you.

Proximity of nanny is also important. Our first lived an hour commute away (she moved after she started the job or I would prob not have employed her). She was most days 10-15 minutes late which did affect me making me late for my job and caused me issues. Our current nanny lives 10 mins away and has not once been late.

Also think of the cost of paying for a taxi home if your nanny babysits late.

PacificDogwood Tue 04-Oct-11 21:57:43

I have had v slight reservations from the start: she did not turn up for her interview, made no contact that day or the next. I phoned her and she did give a v good reason (family illness), but no apology or any reference to it when we did meet.
She seemed taken aback when we asked for references from her current mindees (she works as a CM at present, but has been a nanny in the past). I happen to know one of her previous employers so had an informal word with him, but she worked for him 8 years ago. I have had a short e-mail from another employer from before that, saying nothing negative, but this is really going back to the dim and distant past.
She has not provided contact details for current mindees' parents. I contacted her by e-mail, but think I have to phone her and speak to her.

I will phone her tomorrow and used the phrase 'mixed signals', thanks, that is a good one. I don't want to mess her around, but equally I don't want to be messed around either IYKWIM.

cherub59 Tue 04-Oct-11 21:58:24

Also I wouldn't offer a job before checking out references. Even written ones should have contact details. Every reference except her current employment obviously unless they have given her notice and it is expressly ok to contact them.

Nanny should not resign an existing job til she has signed her new contract either.

PacificDogwood Tue 04-Oct-11 22:00:42

Gosh, x-posted with lots of you!

Re 'how slow': we interviewed her 2 weeks ago and still don't have any current references.

I accept I will look like a cow, potentially sad, if we decide to go with Nanny2.

eurycantha Tue 04-Oct-11 22:08:35

I generally take my references to an interview with ofsted details and firstaid ,in fact all that an employer may want to look at. I think that as she has not bothered to send you her references before now she can`t be that desperate to start work with you,she may not have yet told her mindees parents that she is stopping CMing.Does she look after many children?

PacificDogwood Tue 04-Oct-11 22:11:06

I think she looks after 5 children, 2 of which are her grandchildren.
I am not sure whether she has given them notice yet.
She did not bring references with her and tbh even if she had done I would prefer to speak to somebody directly, at least on the phone.

mranchovy Tue 04-Oct-11 22:11:57

You would be a big, complete and utter, possibly sueable, and if for whatever reason the new applicant didn't work out, nannyless cow.

Having said that, talk to the current offeree to see if she has a problem, and then set a reasonable deadline (start of next week?) for her to provide satisfactory references and anything else that you have reasonably asked for, kindly reminding her that you need to have someone in place by the end of the month so if the deadline is missed you may have to withdraw the offer. Follow this up by letter or email and check your offer letter to see that it really was conditional on references.

PacificDogwood Tue 04-Oct-11 22:17:00

Oh my, speak your mind, mranchovy, who don't you grin.

Yes, phone call tomorrow setting deadline for references, followed by e-mail

<<makes notes>>

I frigging hate this being an employer lark, I have to say

PacificDogwood Tue 04-Oct-11 22:17:27

why dont you, obviously

omaoma Tue 04-Oct-11 22:19:17

I would expect somebody to get me contacts for references almost immediately. Best explanation to the whole relationship so far would be that the two of you have very different modes/expectations for communication; yours are much more formal/corporate-stylee than hers.

I think you need to speak to her in a friendly and polite way and the advice to talk about mixed signals and 'offer subject to references' is perfect.

TBH i think you might be rushing tho. you're talking about withdrawing the offer before you've even interviewed the new possibility and heard their references! you could be in the same place again with the second one. as you're waiting to hear back from the first one anyway can you get an interview and chat with previous employers in for nanny2 asap?

frutilla Tue 04-Oct-11 22:21:25

If she didn't turn up for the interview and didn't even give an excuse till a couple of days later, I would have no hesitation but to offer the job to the other person. She is unreliable and may do that again, by which time you will have passed up a good candidate.

PacificDogwood Tue 04-Oct-11 22:24:34

I interviewed Nanny2 tonight which is why this question is now so acute in my mind.

The niggling doubt in my mind is over Nanny1's reliability: we have absolutely no fall-back when our childcare fails and I am concerned that her own family will always come before us. Which morally is absolutely right, of course, but on a practical level poses a real problem for us.

mranchovy Tue 04-Oct-11 22:30:48

X-post like everyone else!

Some new information here that changes things a lot - her customers are under no obligation to provide references so it is not reasonable for you to ask.

And if she has given notice to her current mindees then there certainly IS a problem withdrawing the offer because she is likely to lose income that she may have a case to recover from you (a verbal offer, if accepted, forms a binding contract in English Law).

annh Tue 04-Oct-11 22:31:37

Two weeks?! Have you spoken to her in the meantime? You have to phone her tomorrow, say that you want to have things finalised by end of this week and politely demand contact numbers for her references!

PacificDogwood Tue 04-Oct-11 22:41:40

We have had e-mail contact in the last 2 weeks.

mra, I thought she could ask her mindees' parents whether they might be prepared to give her a reference, no?
I am certainly more than happy to give our CM a reference in writing and will be available for any future parents who are thinking about using her (and she has been brilliant). I thought that was common practice?
Ah, and we are in Scotland, so not sure about the law here.

Graciescotland Tue 04-Oct-11 22:50:02

I was offered a job which I accepted. Company changed their mind before I was due to start. I did look into employment law but found that I was due no money as I hadn't yet started.

It sucks but it's life, go with the one you prefer.

annh Tue 04-Oct-11 22:51:12

I agree her existing families don't have to give her a reference and if two of the children are her grandchildren, it's probably not appropriate. However, I though it was quite common for parents of mindees at a CM to be willing to speak to prospective new parents so I see this as much the same thing. Although if she is giving up childminding to become a nanny, they might not be too happy with you/her! However, you can't live with only references which are years old so if she cannot approach current families, it is quite reasonable for you to ask her to supply (quickly) some alternative personal references at least. Honestly, I think the only reason why people dither so long about supplying information is if they are having doubts or are waiting for a better offer. Do you have a contract ready to give her? Or have you already sent one to her for her to look over? If she takes as long to sign the contract, you are going to be very close to the date when you want her to start.

PacificDogwood Tue 04-Oct-11 22:54:53

No, I don't have a contract ready, but am about to sign up with a nanny payroll company who will supply a standard contract which we can modify. annh, fair point about her maybe not wanting to give current mindees' parents as references if she has not spoken to them yet.

It has really helped to type this all out, as I am now finding her long silences even odder. I seem to have been doing a lot of the chasing and I do wonder whether she is having her own doubts.
Nowt for it, but to ask, I suppose.

I am off to bed, thanks for everybody's input.

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