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Part Two How to avoid hiring the wrong nanny

August 13, 2011

This nanny blog post is a continuation of the prior blog post with the same name. For those that didn’t read part one, it was based on a recent incident of a nanny caught on a nanny cam dropping, kicking and hitting a baby.  Fortunately the child wasn’t physically harmed, but you can imagine the emotional trauma to this baby.

In my prior post I mentioned that a well-respected full service nanny agency is your best defense against this type of horrible incident since they truly are professionals and have many built in safeguards to assure this won’t happen.

Since a high percentage of families won’t use a full-service nanny agency because of the cost and perceived idea that they don’t add value to their hiring, what can a family do to protect themselves? First of all, don’t take yourself off the hook by saying you did a nanny background check.  I sincerely believe the nanny involved in the incident in NJ didn’t have a criminal record. Very, very few nannies do. By all means do a nanny background check just to be sure and not sorry, but don’t rely on that for your screening.

Remember, first of all nannies found on Craigslist, online nanny sites are not vetted in any way, in spite of what some of these sites may lead you to believe.  We’re all DIY sites, so be prepared to do your homework!

What is the homework?
Use a real nanny application not just the information provided by the online site.  Look for inconsistencies such as when one job began and the other ended and the reason for the job ending.  Be on the lookout, many job hunters use their friends and relatives as references, but don’t say they’re related.  Use a nanny reference check form so that you ask the right questions. Listen to your instincts, does the person feel like a salesperson to you?  If, so it may be a phony reference.

Demand that the nanny explain gaps in employment and give you prior addresses where she lived and then compare them with the SSN address report from the background check.  Get a copy of her ID, driver’s license, SS card and immigration documents if they are not native born.

I’ve saved the most important part for last.  Interview her first in a neutral place and then if you like her have her come to your home.  Be sure if both spouses live together that both are at the interview, if not have a friend sit in on the interview.

Once she’s passed all these tests, have her come back to your house and spend some time with your children to see how they respond to her.  If you’re still comfortable with her at this point, I bet you’ve made a good decision, since you were thorough and NOT RUSHED.

Just to be on the safe side use a nanny cam and drop in on her once or twice a day at different times just to see how things are going.


6 Responses to Part Two How to avoid hiring the wrong nanny

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Laura Hewitt says:

These are all interesting points, and I appreciate your candor in saying that DIY sites like this one are just that – Do It Yourself!

John H says:

It definitely seems like a long process to find the right nanny, but one that’s necessary. I like the idea of doing a first interview with the parents and a second one with the children to see how they interact with the potential nanny. Children can be very perceptive about people.

Shelly says:

This is the basic process we follow, and if we find a candidate we think we like we then schedule her to come in for a paid working interview for a week to see how she does with the kids. We’ve found this gives us the most peace of mind when hiring.

marsha says:

a paid working interview is a great idea! i’ll have to consider adding that to our interview routine the next time we’re hiring!

Rhonda says:

I’m in HR, so I check references for a living and am pretty good at spotting phony ones… It’s amazing how many people try to put friends and family on their applications as previous employers. Be very thorough when you check references and really listen to the answers to the questions!

Lena R. says:

I know a lot of people shy away from full service agencies because of the price tag, but I think they can be so useful – especially if it’s your first time hiring a nanny and you’re unfamiliar with the hiring process.