Hiring and screening nannies for newborns and infants
February 16, 2011
Every parent has great concern and anxiety over screening nannies for their newborn or infant. Having owned a brick and mortar nanny agency for many years I was able to see the qualities that help parents feel comfortable making this big decision.
It’s particularly important to follow safe nanny hiring steps for this age group. This can be time consuming, so for some families where money isn’t the main issue using a nanny referral service can be well worth the extra money. Good nanny agencies are experts at nanny screening and understand very well the parent’s anxiety and can help make you feel more comfortable.
For those that want to use an online nanny referral service here are the steps that have been used for years and work very well.
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- Only interview candidates with prior experience with infants and newborns.
- Do a careful phone interview first. Have the nanny’s complete resume or nanny job application (available in our Hiring Pro Toolkit) on hand prior to the interview, if possible.
- In the phone interview use a good interview form (available in our Hiring Pro Toolkit) and take notes.
- Look at her resume/application (available in our Hiring Pro Toolkit) for prior jobs with this age group and ask her questions about why she liked working with those children. Listen for genuine enthusiasm and care for her charges. Can you feel her warmth?
- If the phone interview is satisfactory set up an in-person interview. My preference is with the child present so that you can see her reaction to your baby and the baby’s reaction to her.
- Ask her numerous questions about those nanny jobs with very young children.
- Check references using a reference check form (available in our Hiring Pro Toolkit).
- Reference checking is the “secret weapon” in the nanny hiring process. It’s usually mom-to-mom and very personal. That mom will empathize with you and try to help you with information about the nanny.
- Did the reference checking confirm your feelings about the nanny or did the references raise issues?
- It sounds trite, but trust your instincts.
- If it’s all positive and you want to hire her do a nanny background check for your peace of mind.
- Use a family and nanny hiring agreement to put in writing all the points. Our Hiring Pro Toolkit has a free International Nanny Association agreement included.