Tips on Reference Checks
Here are some questions I typically ask a caregiver's former employer:
- What are her strengths, and what about her do you most respect?
- In what areas could she improve? (This is a really important question. I typically let a former employer complete her list before I probe on any one item so that I don't interrupt her train of thought. If she can't think of anything, I may offer up some negatives that the caregiver raised in her interview. For example: "She mentioned that she sometimes loses her patience. Have you experienced that before? If so, can you describe an incident where that happened?")
- Note some specific things you may want to probe for:
- How are the caregiver's communication skills?
- Does she have initiative?
- Is she organized?
- Does she handle stress well?
- Is she warm and social?
- How is her energy level?
- Can she work independently, or does she need very specific directions?
- If you were to rate her overall caregiving, would you consider it excellent, average, or poor? Why?
Duties and Fit
- Other than caregiving, what did her duties entail? Was she open to other duties?
- Let me tell you more about the duties I'm planning to give her. I'd love your feedback on whether this is the right job for her given your own experience with her.
- How long did you employ her?
- Why did she leave?
- What was her compensation level?
- What advice can you give me on managing her?
- Do you have any final comments?
- Please let me know which aspects of the reference check I can share with others and which ones are strictly confidential.