Here’s a scary story shared by D., a Mom in my playgroup. She’s been looking for a babysitter since she recently moved to town. I have used Craigs List in the past with mixed results. Well, here’s her experience:
Babysitter’s Ad on Craig’s List
The Perfect Family Addition! Nanny Available FT ASAP
D.’s email response
My name is D. and I have a two year old son.
Are you able to work in W. and are you still looking for a position?
I would absolutely work in W. How many hours would you need me to work? Please feel free to call me at xxx. xxx.xxxx.
Instead of responding right away, D. visits MySpace to see if Babysitter has a page. Uh, yes she does and it’s kind of profane. The top line reads, “F. these B.’s…”
Needless to say, D. politely declined to employ Babysitter. Furthermore, Babysitter sent mean-spirited emails afterwards and put profane postings on her MySpace page toward D.!
So, while we all prefer to find babysitters and nannies from credible references, sometimes we need to look a little farther afield.
1. Always, always call at least two references. (In fact, another friend recently stopped proceedings with a potential nanny who she loved after interviewing her, when the first reference “trashed” the nanny.) Always good to call.
2. If you’re finding a stranger online, do your online due diligence. It’s pretty common knowledge these days that what you put online, especially through social media such as MySpace, Facebook, etc. can be found by potential employers. MySpace is public so it’s easy to search. Try Google, too. You never know what will show up.
3. Have a trial playdate with the new babysitter and your children. I found a college student on Craigs List who sounded fabulous on the phone and through her references. But when she showed up, she just sat there and my kids looked bewildered. Well, so did she actually. I sent her home immediately. No pay.
But I also found our most fabulous babysitter to date on Craigs List. We’re still searching for her replacement as she now has a full time job after graduating college last year.
Hopefully, we all have more heartwarming stories than scary ones. We just have to do our homework.