The importance of reference checking

We have all been there – offered a new job, subject to satisfactory references being obtained, and we generally think of it as a formality that our new employer has to go through, to check that we didn’t lie about our previous responsibilities or salary, or get sacked for misconduct.

We don’t really think about reference checks and how they are actually an incredibly important part of the recruitment process, until, that is, we are recruiting someone to look after our own children, and then suddenly the importance of ensuring you know as much about the person you are hiring as possible becomes very very real indeed.

Many families are now choosing not to use a nanny agency to find a new childcarer, but to advertise and recruit someone themselves. This can often save a great deal of time and money, however it also means you lose the expertise and knowledge that comes from working with an established and reputable agency.

Checking CVs and references is as important as the interview process, and can often tell you new information about your prospective employee that hopefully will confirm you are employing the right person, or will allow you to ensure you do not make a very horrendous mistake. Your children are the most precious thing you have, it is vital that you spend the time undertaking the necessary checks and ensuring that the person you are recruiting is the right person for the job.

At we recently asked our members to tell us what they found to be the most challenging aspects of reference checking – 38% told us that the hardest thing was getting enough quality information from referees, closely followed by 29% who struggled to get hold of the referee in the first place.

Our reference checking team concur with these challenges – fortunately they are able to use their extensive childcare recruitment knowledge to know which questions to ask referees, and how to probe further to get more detailed answers, but every single case is different and requires a slightly different approach and questioning technique.

Likewise in terms of trying to get hold of referees, they often have to persevere over a number of days in order to contact a referee to speak to them on the phone. One solution to this is trying different times of day, including weekends and evenings if necessary, as working professionals often cannot find the time to speak in depth during the day time.

Other challenges parents face include finding the time in their own busy schedules to contact referees, and knowing what questions to ask to secure the information needed. It is not an easy task!

Whilst we agree it can be an incredibly challenging and frustrating process, we still believe that this is a vitally important part of the recruitment process and really should not be forgotten. For your own peace of mind when recruiting someone to look after your children, it is well worth the investment needed. offers a cost effective Reference Checking Service with a team experienced in childcare recruitment who can spend the time needed contacting referees, talking to them directly, and then providing you with the answers you need to know. The service costs from just £25+vat. Contact today for more information

08707 201277

Emma Baron

About Emma Baron

Marketing Executive in the metropolis, for bringing great advice to parents and child care professionals in the UK. Connect with Emma Baron.
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