Employers usually want to know about the candidates’ work style and quality, especially if they do not work with a recruitment agency that screens candidates for you. The best way to find out more information about your helper is through reference letters. Reference letters will help you get to know your potential helpers’ work before you hire them. You will have the chance to learn about their strengths and weaknesses.
Importance of recommendations
Reference or recommendation letters will help you manage the expectations you have for your domestic helper. You will also be able to read the responsibilities their previous employer gave them and what skills they have that have been helpful: how they handle kids, how they clean the house, or their cooking skills.
You will have an overall idea of how happy the previous employer was, which can influence your final decision whether to accept your new domestic helper or not.
Getting in touch with previous employers
If you think that speaking with the helpers’ previous employer would help you, then do so. Get as much information as possible and decide what skills would be applicable for your needs. When you call their previous employer, be mindful of your questions. Be specific and detailed. You can ask them questions such as:
1. What does a usual workday look like?
2. What are the skills the domestic helper should improve?
3. Does the domestic helper know how to cook?
4. How does the domestic helper feel around kids, and how does she discipline them?
Just remember that it’s not always easy to contact previous or current employers. Some don’t want to give their contact details, or the helper may be worried about what the employer would say. For example: if the domestic helper left her job because of how she was treated, the employer might give a bad recommendation.
There have been cases where some employers found that the references given were quite different from the experience shown, and they may wonder why the previous employer gave such a note. Just remember that a working relationship always involves two sides. It doesn’t mean that it would not work for you if it was not working for other families; the recommendation is just an additional reference. The helper’s attitude, work experience, and character should be the focus. Trust yourself to make the right decision. If you think that you need a recommendation just to make a decision, then do that. However, if you already saw what you need to make an evaluation, don’t let others’ opinions change your mind.
At the end of the day, it will always be your decision.