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Would you be suspicious about this reference?

(23 Posts)
waddamess Wed 05-Dec-12 00:10:17

How do MNers check out prospective nanny's references? Do you visit in person, sniff them out on the phone, email them? Is a physical address a MUST for a referee as well as number? We had one English nanny candidate who listed two references with very similar numbers, apparently they are friends and got phones at same time. Does this ring true to anyone?
Separately, how do we check out backgrounds of nannies from abroad who have just arrived? CRB no good as it is UK only.

ripsishere Wed 05-Dec-12 04:32:57

I've never employed a nanny. What I will say is, we all three bought phones on the same day at the same place.
Our numbers are wildly different.

ripsishere Wed 05-Dec-12 04:33:41

Re the overseas thing, we've always got good conduct reports from the police in the country we are leaving. Every single one.
Is that a possibility for your candidates?

Jollyb Wed 05-Dec-12 07:09:52

I bought a phone at the same time as a friend at uni. Our numbers were the same apart from one digit so that could be true

ripsishere Wed 05-Dec-12 07:21:38

Good point. We bought ours in Kuala Lumpur.

SantasBitch Wed 05-Dec-12 07:22:39

Wadda - ask for a third character reference.

Overseas nanny - yes, good conduct report from local police, translated officially by certified translator.

ALWAYS PHONE the referee. One nanny I was about to employ had glowing written testimonials. Both said, when I rang them "Don't touch her with a bargepole, she's a nightmare."

mummytime Wed 05-Dec-12 07:23:06

I once bought two sim cards at the same time and they were one digit different.
I would want a landline/address at the least for referees. I have heard of frauds.

SoldeInvierno Wed 05-Dec-12 07:28:59

You can get official CRB style documents from other countries. In Spain, for example, it is called "Certificado de penales" and the candidate has to apply for it herself at the consulate. I am sure there must be similar things in the other EU countries, at least.

annh Wed 05-Dec-12 08:16:33

Who are the references that they are both friends who bought phones at different times? Are they friends of the nanny? While I might accept one as a character reference, I would definitely want another reference from a former employer, college lecturer, someone who can vouch for the nanny in a work capacity as well as personally.

annh Wed 05-Dec-12 08:56:06

Sorry, should say "at the same time", not different times.

imaginethat Wed 05-Dec-12 09:04:33

I think it sounds unlikely enough to warrant more investigation

TheHamish Wed 05-Dec-12 09:45:35

Similar numbers can happen coincidentally, happened to me with my landline. My nanny family were 222 2222 2221 and I was 222 2222 2223. We lived at opposite ends of the same London area and our phone accounts were not linked.

Weird for a mobile though. My mother's and brother's were very similar, bought at the same time.

Definitely check it out.

Karoleann Wed 05-Dec-12 11:37:58

My exboyfriends number and mine are only one digit different (bought at the same time). I tend to call people to check out refs and google the ex-employers, often especially in london (as nannies are so expensive) v people have important jobs and are googleable!

Picturesinthefirelight Wed 05-Dec-12 11:51:49

Referees should not be friends. They should be someone who has known the candidate in a professional capacity eg ex employer, college lecturer etc. or at the least someone like a guide/st John ambulance/local nursery where they volunteered leader etc

OutragedFromLeeds Wed 05-Dec-12 12:04:02

I don't think they're friends of the nanny, but the two referees are friends with each other and bought phones at the same time? That's how I understood it.

I think the first thing to do is to ring the referees and see what you think. Similar numbers is not really suspicious in itself.

If you're in the same area and want to be really sure you could ask to visit the ex-employer, some people would be fine with this, others would think you were mad.

Ultimately you are going to need to trust a bit, I don't know that anyone can prove beyond all doubt that their references are 100% genuine.

SamSmalaidh Wed 05-Dec-12 14:22:55

I'd want a landline phone number and an address for referees - or a work email address. I wouldn't accept just a mobile number.

Blondeshavemorefun Wed 05-Dec-12 15:39:55

Most of my written references have an address on them as as a landline number but not all. Ideally a land line number is good and if you want to be really sneaky then you can get you and your husband/friend etc to both call them as well and just say xxx had given them as a reference and see if both stories tally up

Just a mobile number on its own seems suss

waddamess Thu 06-Dec-12 00:02:22

Thanks everyone. Yes the referees are friends with each other and one recommended nanny to other when finished with her (that's plausible). BUT I rang other ref and got automated message saying to leave a text. Then nanny rang to ask if I had been in touch with referee and to say that ref had been taken ill so not contactable. When I asked for physical address, nanny said she was ill and would get back to me next week, let's see! Too many variables with this. When I checked references IN PERSON of previous nanny, one mother said I was not mad at all. A friend of hers had left her child with new nanny, after doing phone checks. Came back to find HOUSE EMPTIED except for LO on the floor alone. Spooky.

imaginethat Thu 06-Dec-12 04:50:18

OK major red flag here, not buying the text/taken ill thing. How would the nanny know the mother had been taken ill and was not contactable if the mother is too ill to answer her phone.

It sounds unlikely, and a determined attempt to deceive which is a bit worrying.

Blondeshavemorefun Thu 06-Dec-12 05:51:47

Now that sounds very suss - do you think that the nanny has given her own 2nd phone/payg number

The ref being non contactable / ill and suddenly nanny contacts you does seem very weird

How would she have known?

Though saying that the mum of one of my really nice references (well all of mine are nice lol) is sadly very ill with cancer and will be dead soon sad and I did ask a possible future employer not to contact the family as didn't want to add to their stress and burden at this terribly sad time sad

But I do have lots of other refs they can contact.

I would trust your gut instinct and not employ this nanny unless she can give you other references that you can check up on easily

StillSquiffy Thu 06-Dec-12 08:36:19

I take it you've told her you won't be taking her on? I wouldn't touch with a bargepole.

GoldQuintessenceAndMyhrr Thu 06-Dec-12 08:48:03

Trust your gut instict.

We had one (au pair) candidate that seemed really good, she was Polish and had worked as a nanny in Belgium, for a Polish expat family (this is relevant), and was happy to provide their address and phone number for reference. Only, the phone number was a UK mobile. My husband is Polish, so he called the number. Nanny had obviously not informed her boyfriend that she had put his number down as a reference, as he babbled on about having no clue about nannys childcare experience but was really looking forward to her joining him in London!

Clearly she just wanted somebody pay her flights.... hmm

annh Thu 06-Dec-12 17:12:37

The referee being ill really doesn't explain why the nanny could not provide you with a physical address for her. You were hardly going to barge around there and knock on the door were you? But having an address might have provided you with some small comfort that this family actually existed. All sounds very suspect, I think there are enough genuine nannies around with checkable references not to bother any further with this one.

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