Digging Deeper Into The Nanny Hiring Process: How To Interview References


Because I’ve had a lot of experience with my own nannies for my children as well as helping other families find and evaluate their nannies, I’ve seen some extreme situations. I’ve seen everything from nannies who it seemed could do no wrong and were the most caring, compassionate, life-changing people to nannies who were putting children in danger. This is not meant to scare parents looking to hire a nanny. Rather, I’ve learned you can never be too careful in the selection process. Often, after something goes wrong, we’ll see that there were signs there all along. One of the best tools at our disposal when choosing a nanny is to talk to her references.

I always recommend talking to a minimum of two-three references. Ideally, you want these conversations to be in person, too. Make sure you understand the relationship of the references, and have the candidate talk about the time spent with the reference. It’s very important that details match up. It’s sad, but it’s also important that you verify the references are real – that they are who they say they are and they aren’t just a friend or family member trying to help the potential nanny out.

Make sure you are asking for specifics and stories whenever possible. I know it can feel like you are hounding a reference, who is probably very busy, but in truth, if someone had a good experience with a nanny that person will want to help the nanny in her future employment as much as possible. If it seems like talking to you is a struggle or burden, that might be a sign that things didn’t end on the best terms. Below are some sample questions I like to ask all references before hiring a nanny.

  • How did you end up hiring your nanny?
  • What was the time period and why does the nanny no longer work for you?
  • What was her schedule like? Did she have any issues adhering to the schedule?
  • Was she prompt? Did things come up last minute?
  • Did she follow all your rules and general philosophy when it came to schedules and discipline?
  • How was her communication? Was she easy to get ahold of?
  • Can you tell me about a time she handled a stressful situation with your child?
  • Did she ever have to deal with any kind of emergency situation?
  • What do you think are her strengths and weaknesses?
  • What was she like on a personal level?
  • Will you/have you stayed in touch with this person?

If you’re interested in more information about our services as they relate to your nanny, check out our nanny consulting page or contact us today.

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