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Nannies, what sort of a reference do you usually get?

(16 Posts)
bettina46 Sun 22-Jul-12 10:01:39

I'm leaving soon and I asked my employer for a reference. She seemed to be surprised and asked what reference I need and for whom. A job reference or general reference? I got puzzled and didn't know what to say.
I just said that I need a written reference for my future jobs. I thought a written reference is an obvious thing at the end of the employment. Isn't that so?
BTW I gave 3-month notice ( my contract sais 4 weeks) but my employers told me that there were not happy about my resignation and would keep me longer and hoped I would be the nanny for their next child when he/she arrives (the lady is not pregnant yet) I'm leaving for a various of reasons.

Ebb Sun 22-Jul-12 10:40:08

I always get a written reference. It usually covers the length of employment, ages of the children at the start of the job, my duties and how wonderful I am! wink. Some of my references are short, formal and to the point and some are long and gushing but I'm proud of them all. I hope your boss isn't awkward about writing you a reference. Surely she read your previous references before she employed you?

bettina46 Sun 22-Jul-12 10:57:57

My current job is my second, I had a lovely reference from my previous employer and yes, she had read it before she employed me.
I can't see a reason why she should not write me one but next week is my last week and I need to talk to her again. What shall I say?

bettina46 Sun 22-Jul-12 11:01:56

Well, I know she is mad with me about my leaving, she doesn't show but I know that. Anyway I gave her 3-month notice and appointed my two friends who would be happy to take over my possition.

nannynick Sun 22-Jul-12 11:22:05

Make sure she is happy to talk to people as well, as a written reference will often be followed up verbally. Bit strange that she is mad at you for leaving, you gave more notice than was required in the contract. Everyone moves on at some point - sure it may not be what she wanted to happen but there is a reason why it has happened and how she has been as an employer may be part of that reason.

Written reference should I feel contain things like how long you were in the job, what duties you did, a comment about your timekeeping, sick days taken, things the family thought were extra special that you did. A comment as to if they would employ you again. That sort of thing.

Would be interesting to see if any parents will post on this thread saying what they would like to see in a written reference. What things help give parents confidence in choosing the right nanny for them.

Nannyto2 Sun 22-Jul-12 11:23:13

I personally think that you've provided extra for the family by working more than your contacted notice & recommending friends.

If I was your employer I'd have no issue writing u a reference.

I'd ask for one that states length of employment, ages, duties, and what they thought of you.

catepilarr Sun 22-Jul-12 12:31:02

i have always asked for a reference and it never was a problem. noone questioned why (not evenmygermany family, where i assume writing a reference isne t anorm).
it states when i worked for them, what ages were the children, what other duties i had. then it usually goes on saying what i did with the children they enjoyed and what i was particularly good at.
one stupid reference cheekily went on about how they thought i was rubbish at cleaning (it was a MH job).
then it usually says at the end something like 'feel to contact me for a verbal reference.
i think she feels quite angry with you leaving and doesnt feel like writing a reference for you, which is really sad.
good luck getting a good reference.

Novstar Mon 23-Jul-12 09:40:25

I usually write a 1 page letter, stating first factual job details (duties, length of employment, ages of children etc), then:

(a) what the nanny was like as an employer (arriving on time, not taking too many days off sick, discussing holidays in good time, kitty spending, being flexible as necessary, taking them to classes on time etc) and
(b) what the nanny was like as a childcarer (playing, educating, hygiene, activities etc)

You can write about negative things only if you have raised it with the nanny and given them a chance to improve. In practice, in all of the references I have ever seen, I have never seen anything bad written about anyone...

You can maybe help your employer by giving them a list of things you'd like to be covered.

LadyHarrietdeSpook Mon 23-Jul-12 17:13:43

It sounds like from what you've said her reluctance is because she's being unreasonable but I have to say I am generally reluctant to provide a blanket reference for someone.

I would do it if the nanny/au pair insisted they needed it because, for example, they wouldn't even be able to get an interview without one. But this would be with the caveat that it is in the nanny's interest that the reference is tailored to a specific job and that any employer worth their salt would want to speak personally to the person providing a reference.

I would never rely on a written reference only.

Karoleann Wed 25-Jul-12 19:24:13

Standard reference is xxx worked for us from xxx to xxxx. Then list of duties.
I include timekeeping, attendance, punctuality, sickness.
If she did something well I mention it, if she didn't do something well I don't mention it.....however at the end I always put please contact me for further information.

The worse written nanny referennce I ever read was xxx worked for us from xxx to xxx. The children liked her. That was it - alarm bells rang, but to be honest she has pretty odd anyway and I wouldn't have employed her.

During my other job someone actually gave a written refernece that said that they had questionable personable hygiene standards. (this was for a client facing role)

Stateofplay Thu 26-Jul-12 13:11:04

She absolutely should give you a written reference. If she is not in the frame of mind to write nice things, she should at least confirm that facts of your employment, that she had no major complaints with your performance and that you are parting company amicably. She should also agree to verify your employment on the phone.

I've always given a one-page written reference (around 600 - 700 words) which state the facts of the employment (dates, job description, children's ages etc - not pay), and then some colour to illustrate how lovely the nanny was, and her strengths (describing how she built and managed a garden vegetable patch with DS, for example, or how she built up DD's confidence with swimming).

I end with my and DH's contact numbers, as I think for future employers my verbal phone reference is more dependable than a written one that could have been written by the nanny. (I once had a nanny who didn't work out, and after some detective work I discovered she had written one of her lovely references herself.)

I always speak on the phone with potential nanny's referees now.

nannyl Sun 29-Jul-12 08:25:17

Most of my nanny references are about an A4 page (printed in normal size font)

All say the basics of employment duration / childrens ages, and then my ex bosses write lovely wonderful things that make me cry

all give their contact details and say they are happy to be called to have my reference checked.

StillSquiffy Mon 30-Jul-12 23:13:33

Legally, childcare is different from most other forms of employment, in that it is expected that FULL references be supplied (not just the 'bare facts' ones) - the reason being that references are far more important in the hiring process for these types of jobs than normal jobs.

BUT BUT BUT. Nobody has the right to their 'own' reference. A reference is from a former employer to a prospective employer, NOT to a nanny. Furthermore, a nanny does not have the automatic right to know what that reference says (they can go to court to demand sight of it if they need to). And, whilst it might be nice to get a piece of paper saying how great you were, there is no right to such a piece of paper.

Personally, I love my nanny dearly and have written fab references for her in the past (and shown them to her), but I would never ever simply give her a reference to take away. My references will be written with respect to the roles she (and previous employees) are applying for. What is relevant to one type of role will be irrelevant to another and as an HR professional myself, I owe a duty of care to future employers that I take strongly enough to feel it entirely inappropriate to hand over 'take away' references willy-nilly.

sunshinenanny Thu 02-Aug-12 19:31:02

All my employers have given me a written reference and they have all contained contact details and an invitation to contact the referee if they would like to discuss anything further. So I don't see the problem with giving a reference to the nanny direct?hmm

My references are all guenuine and most are glowing I did have one job I left because it wasn't working out for me but the reference though to the point was fair and factual.

broodyandpoor Thu 02-Aug-12 20:09:16

Its not normal practice to ask for a ref to take away, the normal thing is to ask if she would be happy to give a ref to a future employer (out of politeness) then give your new employer your old employers contact details so that they can obtain a ref from them them selves.
I have had a bad ref before (very unfairly so too) from a Nursery Manager who I worked for for a year and a half, she had bullied me for a year and when I left for a better job she agreed to write a ref, my new manager a few months later told me that she had written bad things about me, but that she herself had seen no evidence of this- so they pot it down to her being a bully thank goodness but Im very scared to leave jobs now because of this experience.

wrinklyraisin Sun 05-Aug-12 03:22:27

I always get a written more factual yet still "glowing" reference for my file. Then I usually have new employers speak to at least 2 previous employers and those spoken references are often much more informative. My last 3 families have all made a point of saying how their decision to hire me was cemented by these verbal refs. I'm embarrassed by the "gushiness" of these refs lol... But I work flaming hard and dedicate my existence towards the family I work for, so I expect a good ref. but it is so so lovely to hear that previous families live me still, that they hope I'll be in their children's lives forever, that any child I care for is lucky, etc. I always think a parent to parent informal chat is the best mode of reference for a nanny, as the job is so unique that one families needs might be different than another's, so chatting about the nanny gives te prospective employers chance to see if the nanny would fit in with what they're hoping for iyswim?

I give potential nannies a reference on the family too. It's a two way street. A job might look fab on paper but I think nannies can give a better insight into the family/job than a written job description ever could.

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