How can I avoid facing the same problem as Frustrated?

How can I avoid falling into the same trap as Frustrated, the one who hired a dud of a maid highly recommended by her previous employer? Where I come from employers do not give a good reference unless the maid has earned it. I have come across job references where only the good points of the maid are mentioned and her weaknesses only hinted at. But I have never actually come across an undeserved glowing reference.

But here in Singapore I have often read such comments as "great with kids" or "excellent cook". Actually, I have observed many Filipino maids with young children and readily believe this "great with kids" come-on.

Indonesian maids are supposed to be better at cooking, and yet, when I asked a couple of Indonesian maids I interviewed to describe how they cook their favourite dishes, I was disappointed for their answers suggested to me that they knew very little about cooking. And a couple who were supposed to be great with kids could not even read a simple story or narrate one.

Does this mean that I cannot rely on a reference? How can I tell if a candidate is suitable then? Do I have to rely solely on luck?

Be Prepared

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