Hiring a Nanny: Traditional Nanny Agencies vs. Online Nanny Services
The nanny hiring process can seem overwhelming, especially if you
choose the do-it-yourself route of placing a nanny classified advertisement.
Sifting through hundreds of responses from potential candidates, making endless
phone calls and screening and interviewing candidate after candidate is enough
to make some families run for the nearest nanny agency and let the
professionals take charge. However, with an online nanny service as your
partner, there are many benefits to bypassing traditional nanny agencies and
investing the time and energy required to find the right nanny for your family.
Traditional Nanny Agencies
who wish to bypass the hefty investment of time and energy required with the
do-it-yourself route may go directly to a traditional nanny agency. With a full
staff on hand, an agency has more resources to screen candidates carefully and
full-service agency basically does all of the “dirty work” for the family,
prescreening the candidates before the families ever meet them. Nanny agencies
will initially screen a pool of candidates over the phone to ensure that they
meet the minimum qualifications required by the agency and family. They then
set up in-person appointments with potential candidates. Oftentimes, a large
percentage won’t pass the phone interview, and of those candidates who do, some
won’t make it past the in-person appointment because they won’t pass muster during
the meeting, or their references simply won’t check out. Only those candidates
who pass all of the agency’s screening protocols are presented to the family,
who knowing that the agency has pre-screened the candidates, needs only to
choose which nannies out of the pool of highly qualified candidates they feel
the most comfortable with and would like to personally meet.
nanny agencies, you are effectively paying top-dollar to access a pre-screened
pool of professional nannies who are serious about finding employment. While
this is the most expensive option, a quality agency offers the best service for
those who are short on time or energy. But even when using an agency, parents
must use caution. There are hundreds of nanny agencies out there, but only a
select few have real processes in place to find the best candidate for
your family. Securing a nanny through a quality full-service placement agency
can cost upwards of three-thousand dollars for a full-time nanny placement. If
you choose to go this route, look for an agency that will provide you with a written
replacement guarantee. This way, if you feel that the agency did not provide
you with the nanny you expected, you have a point of recourse.
Online Nanny Services
The do-it-yourself route of nanny selection has come a long way
since the days of placing a “nanny wanted” ad in the local newspaper and
waiting for the phone to ring. Today’s online nanny services combine the
do-it-yourself approach with the resources used by traditional nanny agencies
to help parents find the right nanny for their family.
Many people like the fact that with an online nanny service they
are completely in charge and ultimately can determine the quality of the outcome
of their nanny search. Although the nanny hiring process requires you to take
an active role in the search for the right candidate, quality web-based services
act as a partner so that you do not feel like you are going through the hiring
process alone. The best online nanny services provide helpful hiring forms and
information similar to what nanny agencies provide the families with whom they
Although families must essentially act as their own HR department
during the nanny selection process, conducting nanny
interviews and filling out all the appropriate paperwork, a paid
membership with a quality online nanny agency involves much more than access to
nanny listings. An online nanny service should present members with nanny candidates
that align with the families’ preferences. Look for an online service that asks
both families and nannies to fill out preliminary getting-to-know-you
questionnaires, and the search for a nanny online will be a lot more targeted. A
targeted search reduces the headache of sifting through hundreds of ads, only to
find a handful of candidates who may or may not pass your screening process.
Although some web-based nanny services will include nanny criminal
background checks for an additional fee, parents should be clear that most
online services typically do not screen or conduct background searches on
potential nannies or on nanny members; their claim to fame is connecting
parents and nannies.
If you are unsure whether to go with a particular web-based nanny service,
ask for an in-depth preview of the pool of candidates or a free trial
membership. Trustworthy online nanny services will provide families with a
sneak preview of their candidates so that they can decide whether or not a paid
membership is worth it. Take note of the number and type of candidates that the
service represents—you will likely be impressed with the quantity of candidates
available when using an online nanny service.
The primary reason that many families decide to use an
online nanny service is affordability. Oftentimes, families feel that the value
an agency provides is not worth the high price tag that comes with the service.
Online nanny services provide tools comparable to those that nanny agencies use
at a significantly lower cost, but the important question to ask is whether or
not you have the time and resources needed to effectively use those tools and
conduct an in-depth search.
There are benefits and drawbacks associated with both traditional nanny agencies and web-based nanny services. It is important to evaluate and understand the tradeoffs associated with paying a lower price for a membership to an online nanny service. For those who have the time and resources available to spend on the nanny hiring process, using an economical and efficient web-based nanny service is likely the more attractive option.