Here is one more near-horror story that, perhaps more graphically, illustrates why it’s so important to check references. The wife of one of our best clients wanted to hire a nanny for her little 9-year-old daughter. We were asked to check references on the leading candidate for the job, who had been recommended by a friend of a friend of a friend.
When we started contacting her references, it turned out that her closest experience to ever being a nanny was a one-month stint working in a daycare center. Other references revealed that her longest tenure anywhere had been working in a florist shop for six months. The rest of her work history reflected very short periods of employment, termination from variety of jobs, and no experience as a nanny whatsoever.
This is the sort of situation that could have turned out very badly had a background and reference check not been done. As it turns out this was one of those situations where the candidate had very good interviewing skills and seemed like a great candidate for a job as a nanny. The mind boggles at the range of things that could have happened if she had been hired. This is exactly why we check!