Only workers who have been employed by expat families have reference letters, and even then, reference letters remain very rare. Lack of reference may be explained by the worker’s poor performance or perhaps the past employer was upset because the worker left the job. On the other hand, a good reference doesn’t necessarily mean the worker will be a perfect match for your family.
Very experienced workers may have one or a few letters, covering only part of their career. They may have a lot of experience looking after children but only have references from their housekeeper roles. Keep in mind that many workers do not understand the value of letters and do not think of asking for them. The same can be said from employers, many of us do not realize how much they can impact a worker’s job search and earning capacity.
Conducting a reference check is useful and should be done whenever possible, but ultimately understanding the circumstances of previous employment fully is nearly impossible. Look beyond the reference letter and consider what it is you are looking for in a employee. Hire for attitude and teach for skills.