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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.

  1. Only interview candidates with prior experience with infants and newborns.
  2. 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.
  3. In the phone interview use a good interview form (available in our Hiring Pro Toolkit) and take notes.
  4. 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?
  5. 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.
  6. Ask her numerous questions about those nanny jobs with very young children.
  7. Check references using a reference check form  (available in our Hiring Pro Toolkit).
  8. 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.
  9. Did the reference checking confirm your feelings about the nanny or did the references raise issues?
  10. It sounds trite, but trust your instincts.
  11. If it’s all positive and you want to hire her do a nanny background check for your peace of mind.
  12. 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.

7 Responses to Hiring and screening nannies for newborns and infants

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amanda says:

we usually do two in-person interviews – one where the nanny meets with me or my husband and then a follow-up if we like her where she can then meet our children. i like this method because you can end up interviewing several nannies and it can get confusing to keep introducing the kids to new potential caregivers.

admin says:

That’s a great point, and a great way to go through the process!

Vicky G. says:

I can vouch that the hiring pro toolkit is an awesome resource to use throughout the hiring process! We used it for our last nanny and couldn’t be happier!

Jo Sills says:

While the whole hiring process is obviously important, I can’t stress enough how much every family and nanny needs #12!! DON’T FORGET TO GET AN AGREEMENT IN WRITING!! It’s important protection for both you and your nanny in the even that something goes wrong or there’s some sort of misunderstanding!

Carly says:

I also think it’s important to point out that if you have a good feeling about a nanny and she has one bad reference but other good ones you shouldn’t immediately exclude her from the running because of the one negative reference. Sometimes it just doesn’t work out with a family/nanny and the reaction is negative, but that doesn’t mean that she won’t be a good fit for YOUR family. I say this because we interviewed a nanny who had one bad reference but the rest were glowing and we gave her a shot anyway and couldn’t be happier with her caregiving toward our children!

admin says:

Great point Carly!

haley says:

definitely agree with the trust your instincts part. gut feelings can be very telling.