by, Steve Lampert President eNannySource.com
In 2001 when I started eNannySource.com it seemed as if the users of the site were almost pioneers. At the time I had been running Buckingham Nannies in Los Angeles for several years and the norm in those days was to hire through a nanny agency, get a referral from a friend or go to Craigslist. Families were afraid to even enter a credit card on the internet. How times have changed!
Nowadays it seems that almost everything is done over the internet and perhaps there is too much casualness about it. Hiring a nanny is not a trivial matter, but yet most everyone feels they can screen a nanny because they “know how to judge character”. Back in my nanny agency days we never felt that our “gut” was the most important part of making the decision on which nannies to represent and send out to families with our “stamp of approval”. We felt that was an important piece, but only a piece.
An important tool in our nanny screening arsenal was our nanny application. This application is much more complete than any online nanny profile can be. Areas of particular interest to us were her job history, references, and why she left those jobs. Seems very basic, but so important because through looking at her job history and then checking her references we could verify that she actually worked for those people, the reasons the job ended were truthful and the references weren’t fake. I wonder how many families do this? Perhaps the single most important part of screening a nanny, after the personal interview, is reference checking. We checked to see if the refs were real and more importantly we found out so much about the nanny. Most nanny references are given by the moms. We found that they greatly cared about the welfare of other kids that nanny might work for, as well as how she got along with the mom. We heard many amazing stories about truly awesome nannies—and some real nightmare stories too!