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When searching for a sitter, checking references from a babysitter’s past jobs is an important step that parents don’t want to skip. Contacting parents who the sitter has provided childcare for can provide insightful information about a potential sitter.
During the reference call parents should ask questions relevant to the babysitter’s experience in that position. Parents should ask how old the children were when in the sitter’s care, what duties the sitter had, and how she handled those duties.
Open-ended situational questions that start with “Can you tell me about a time when…” will provide insight into how the sitter handled past situations. This method avoids speculations about how a sitter would handle a situation and instead addresses how she has handled them in the past, which can be an indicator as to how she will handle similar situations in the future.
Parents should also ask references if they would rehire the sitter and if they have any hesitations about recommending the sitter for a babysitting position caring for children.
During the interview parents should listen to the reference’s tone and should consider what they do not say as much as what they do say. If a parent gloats about their favorite caregiver and shares how much the children love her and how they can’t wait to see her next week when she’ll be sitting again, that’s a solid reference. If a parent seems less enthusiastic and provides only the necessary information, parents should take that into consideration as well.
10 Things to Consider When Checking a Babysitter’s References
There are a few good methods for checking the references you get from a babysitter, but there are certain things to consider that will help yield the best results. Making this process efficient and effective will uncover important information you can use to determine if you should hire a sitter.
- Don’t be afraid to call references for several sitters. Sometimes it can be difficult to decide on which sitter to hire based on an application or inquiry alone. Checking references can provide additional information. Spend the extra few minutes making a call to the sitter’s childcare references.
- Ask as many questions of the referred person as you can. This is a good time to delve into the background of the applicant without having to worry about offending the sitter.
- Record the answers you get from each reference. These items will help you when the interview process comes along.
- If the sitter worked at a daycare or other childcare facility, you should pay that facility a visit (if you can) to see what sort of environment they are used to working in. This will give you insight to the level of care she may be accustomed to providing.
- Ask open-ended situational questions. Ask questions that start with “Can you tell me about a time…” to learn how the sitter handled past situations.
- 6. Ask the sitter what you can expect to hear from a reference prior to calling. Sometimes sitting jobs don’t end on the best note, especially if an excellent sitter opts to withdraw her services, and this affects the quality of a reference. Knowing ahead of time that a reference may not be glowing and why can help you to weigh in appropriately.
- Ask follow-up questions. If you have further questions left over from one referral, you should continue to ask those same questions to the other referrals you’ve been given. It’s wise to take one small bit of information and try to glean more insight using that information.
- Use information gathered from references to ask follow up questions. If you learned that a sitter has a special skill during a reference call, ask the sitter about how she can use it in her work with you.
- Outsource reference checking. If you interviewed the candidate, have a spouse do the reference checking or outsource it to a reference checking service to gain unbiased results. If you find it difficult to conduct the reference-checking process on your own, there are services that will help you choose the right sitter. You would be entering into an agreement with the agency, but this might make it easier for you.
- Consider the big picture. While references are extremely important, if you don’t have a good feeling about a candidate, don’t hire her, regardless of how solid the reference was.
You should feel completely comfortable with the babysitting applicant that you hire. This means that you want to go through the reference process with care to ensure you have all the information you need. Taking the time to follow these steps will result in a good hire.
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