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nanny references?

(20 Posts)
unioncityblue Wed 19-Feb-14 13:50:36

I'm a bit confused about this.

I've done a quick google and, unless I'm mistaken, it seems that the expected 'etiquette' with nanny references is that you only state the positives and leave out any negatives.

Is there a legal issue surrounding this? Surely references are supposed to be honest? If a previous employer of a nanny had found them to be unprofessional, I would want to know....

Can anyone help me with this?

Cindy34 Wed 19-Feb-14 13:56:03

If you have raised the negative issues with your employee, allowed time for them to improve and they have not, then I feel it is reasonable to mention in a reference.

Probably best to put in a written reference that prospective employers can call you to chat. Most would call to check a reference anyway.

Cindy34 Wed 19-Feb-14 13:59:54

This may be a useful read (from BBC website, so quite short)

Karoleann Wed 19-Feb-14 14:00:23

Yes, that's generally what I would do, but I would always expect the references to be confirmed verbally. Anyone could write something on a piece of paper and unless you can confirm the reference verbally its not worth the paper its written on. All of my nannies have been very good, I would then tell a prospective employer the negatives when they contacted me.

It seems to be the done thing if you have a poor nanny to write along the lines of XXXX worked from this date to that. The children liked her.
Please do contact me on this number if you need any further information.

unioncityblue Wed 19-Feb-14 14:18:24

Thank you.

So would you say that the vast majority of prospective employers would call a nanny's referees for a chat? I did this when we employed our ex-nanny, and presumed that the people I spoke to had been 100 percent honest about her time with them, good and bad!

It's a tricky thing because as far as I knew, most employers would check references BEFORE offering a nanny a role, as I did in the past.

But if a job offer is made, pending references, and the reference is less than glowing, what happens then?

Karoleann Wed 19-Feb-14 14:38:07

I've always made the job offer subject to reference check.

minipie Wed 19-Feb-14 15:09:57

Re making offer pending references: I didn't exactly make a job offer but said something like "we really liked you at interview and you are one of our top candidates, so please can we have your referee details"

I had two people I liked at interview, one of them came out less well on references (not awful, just not as good a fit for us, which confirmed my feeling at interview). I just told her we thought the other candidate was a better fit for us.

NannyLouise29 Wed 19-Feb-14 16:39:49

As a nanny who had a lot of interest last time I was job hunting, I found parents who used my referee details as a means of narrowing down their ideal candidate list.

I was so annoyed when a family contacted my boss at the time to check my reference, without asking me, when I actually had no interest in the job after meeting them.

I think it boils down to a conversation which indicates a strong interest in employing the nanny, the nanny expressing her interest in the job after meeting the parents and kids, and then a reference check. A job offer subject to reference check is even better.

NomDeClavier Wed 19-Feb-14 16:58:08

As a nanny I never handed over referee details until I felt I would accept the job and they were on the point of offering.

As an employer I request references from the final two or three. I would not personally make an offer pending all references but would pending the final reference from the current employer.

unioncityblue Wed 19-Feb-14 17:03:19

I think my question is more about pending references. I have become aware that a job offer has been made (and accepted), but the offer is pending references.

I feel that if I were going to be entirely honest, it could cost the nanny the job, although of course I don't know. It seems crazy that a mother would offer a job without checking references first. Anyone been in this position....

unioncityblue Wed 19-Feb-14 17:09:58

Sorry, forgot to include a question mark there!

To reiterate, what I've done in the past (and what I thought everyone did), was check references before making a job offer.

As a parent, I would want an honest reference from an ex-employer. But in this case, I know an offer has been made - and the references haven't yet been checked, which puts me in a tricky position when it comes to how honest I should be...

Callaird Wed 19-Feb-14 17:28:23

I've been a nanny for 27 years, I never give referees phone numbers until I have a job offer and I am interested in a position.

I don't want my ex-employers having to deal with phone calls from a multitude of prospective employers.

When I first stated looking for my current position, I was having 5+ interviews a week! My ex-employers are hard working women with young children, they don't want their spare time taken up with the same call over and over. My new boss spoke to my previous two employers for almost an hour each!

All my written references are excellent, very long and the three families that I thought would be a good fit were happy to wait until after second interview and the job offer to contact my referees.

LittleMissPlayful Wed 19-Feb-14 17:53:54

Hi Unioncityblue,

I've employed two nannies. Both were offered the position pending references.

That doesn't help you decide what to put in your reference. There has been some good advice from others further up the thread. You could also ask your payroll company (if you use one) for advice too.

You need to be honest in your reference, but as you say, how honest is honest enough? You owe a duty of care to your employee and as has been said (on this thread and in the BBC link) you need to be sure your concerns are substantiated and you ought to have made your employee aware of any concerns and given them reasonable chance to improve. If you have not you could choose to omit written mention of them or state that your employee was not aware and has not had an opportunity to improve.

unioncityblue Wed 19-Feb-14 17:55:02

You sound great and very pro, Callaird!

I'm in an awkward position because I know this nanny has been offered a job and I know she's accepted it.

It's possible the mum might not feel the need to check references at all (which I found astounding!) but if she does, it's very difficult knowing what to do and how honest I should be.

unioncityblue Wed 19-Feb-14 18:02:31

Thanks LittleMiss. Without meaning to give too many details, it involves a member of staff in my business, who I'd had to give warnings to before with regards to her professional conduct. So the employee was aware etc etc.

NomDeClavier Wed 19-Feb-14 18:12:51

If they don't check then more fool them. I'd think if it were anything related to safeguarding you'd have reported it anyway.

You just need to answer questions honestly, in a very factual manner. If you have dates or records of conversation or warnings etc that's even better. It's then up to the mother what she does. She can withdraw the job offer and if the start date is after the notice period elapsed then it wouldn't be a problem at all.

The offer may be pending references.

Callaird Wed 19-Feb-14 22:12:26

If she doesn't call then there is not much you can do.

If she does call, just be honest, tell her exactly what she did and how it affected you and your family. If you have brought the problems up with the nanny then she knows and probably hasn't given your number to check references. It may not bother another employer!

Did you give her a written reference? How long ago did she work for you? How long did she work for you? If less than 6 months she may have not included you in her C.V.

nannynick Wed 19-Feb-14 22:41:17

So this person is or was a member of staff in your business, not a nanny (least not when working for you) who has had a written warning or more than one written warning... is that right?

As your business may or may not be connected to childcare, the new employer may not check the reference - up to them really if they contact you or not. If they do contact you, then I feel you could mention things for which a written warning was given, as the person does know about the written warning(s) and before giving such a warning you would have given them a chance to improve, defend allegation.

TheScience Wed 19-Feb-14 22:47:03

You can definitely answer factually if you have a disciplinary record/written warning to back it up.

Fridayschild Thu 20-Feb-14 14:30:24

I would second that what you don't say is just as telling as what you do.

But also IME what matters to one employer may matter less to another. So I had a temp mother's help while on maternity leave, a lovely girl but she was Spanish. I am obsessed about having an English mother tongue nanny, so the temp contract ended and I got an English nanny. Someone else calls about my mother's help, I explain about the language. The prospective employer is actually looking for someone to speak Spanish to her DCs so everyone is happy.

Similarly with the nanny, the reference I get is that she is great with babies, useless at ironing. I had 2 under 2, there was no ironing for me never mind the DCs. Nanny was great with babies was all I cared about.

I appreciate disciplinary issues are harder to deal with. A different nanny needed to be closely supervised on the kitty or little liberties would be taken every single day - a bus to an activity which "therefore" required an all day travel card which co-incidentally meant nanny travelled home free hmm - and I had paid to have her insured on my car so there was no need for a bus at all. This lady moved to Australia and I have never been asked to give a reference for her. I would have to say things like "she was happy to keep receipts for every penny of the kitty" if I was putting anything in writing.

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