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How do I conduct a nanny background check?

June 10, 2010

By, Dr. Lindsay Heller, The Nanny Doctor

Congratulations! If you are ready to conduct a nanny background check, you are probably very close to finding the right nanny for your family! There are several layers to the background check that you need to be aware of before you hire your nanny. Check out these tips for conducting a nanny background check:

  • Ask the potential candidate to provide you with at least three references from former employers. Don’t just rely on letters of reference, take the time to call the nanny references. Ask them about the details such as how long they employed the potential candidate, how they managed their children, what was it like to manage them? Did they have any issues with communication? Why did the employment end? Would they hire that nanny again? What are the ages of their children? Use the eNannySource Nanny Success Kit’s nanny reference check form.
  • If you find that you are unable to reach the references provided, ask that they provide you with alternative references or ask that they track down their former employers and get back to you. It’s very important that you hear from former employers.
  • Go to enannysource.com and click on “Order a Nanny Background Check”. Online background  checks are very affordable starting at $49.00. You can complete everything online and in a very short amount of time. Through their comprehensive background check, you can check for criminal activity in all 50 states – scanning as many as 300,000,000+ records!
  • Make sure you order a nanny background check as soon as you believe you have found “the one.” An online check can take 2-3 days, however the completion time varies according to candidate and state. If, in some cases you need the nanny to start immediately, put it in your work agreement that employment is dependent upon background clearance.
  • Make sure that you have authorization in writing to complete a background check on your nanny candidate. Enannysource’s process is completely online. All checks are fully FCRA compliant.
  • By all means just run the nanny’s name in a Google search. You may be surprised what you find!

Beware of websites that promise “instant” reports. These nanny background checks tend to rely entirely on information from preexisting databases that are outdated and incomplete. However, these “instant” background checks are valuable as preliminary background checks, for example in the case that you need a nanny to start right away and will have to wait a few days for the comprehensive background check.

I cannot stress enough the importance of a background check. So many people skip this step and later discover something in their nannies background that is troubling. No matter how “sweet” you nanny appears to be, no matter how many families gush about her, conduct a nanny background check.


6 Responses to How do I conduct a nanny background check?

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Sal says:

What do you do if your potential new hire’s background check comes back with a violation or two, but you really felt like you connected with her? Do you think you should just keep looking or give her a shot?

Linda Johnson says:

I made the mistake of relying solely on an instant report with my last nanny… and then a few months into her employment I found out that she had SEVERAL moving and traffic violations. I understand that everyone makes mistakes, but she was responsible for driving my kids around and I just didn’t trust her behind the wheel with them after that.

Claire Nyguen says:

Do you think it’s OK to check Facebook and see what your nanny posts on her page?

Emily T. says:

What if a potential candidate hesitates to give you permission to run a background check?

Kristen Braun says:

As someone who has used eNannySource for both finding a nanny and running background checks before, I can attest that the background checks are WONDERFUL! Thanks so much for providing this service :)

Morgan P. says:

This article was so helpful! I’m in the process of hiring my first nanny and I would have completely forgotten to run a background check if I hadn’t read this!