Why You Need to Run a Background Check on Your Nanny

Background Check

Hiring a nanny is one of the most complex decisions parents face. But a common mistake is not to address the hiring process in a professional manner. Crafting a precise job description is the first step. No family has the exact same needs as another, so start by making a list of what’s most important to you. Consider every factor: time availability, character traits, knowledge, experience, habits. Nothing should be left out. While chances are you will probably not find someone who meets each one of your expectations, a comprehensive list will help in finding the most suitable candidate. 

First Impressions Count, but They Are Not Enough

You set up the first meeting with a potential nanny, and she is delightful. You feel you could spend hours talking to her. She has a great first approach to your children and they seem to like her. A lot. She’s funny and smart, and she says she can cook like a professional chef. So you hire her. During the first week, you find out that she, indeed, can cook like a chef, but your kitchen ends up looking like a war zone. And she does not clean up after herself. Your kid tells you that she’s cool, but she’s on her telephone a lot. A few days later, after daycare pick-up, she misses a red light and rear-ends another car. And then you learn she has a history of speeding and several tickets. Of course, you fire her. And you need to start all over again, with higher insurance primes and a very messy house. Fortunately, this nanny hiring guide may offer you some valuable insights.                                                       

Steps That Should Not be Overlooked

If you want someone who will conduct themselves professionally, you need to act professionally too. Create a thorough job description that includes shifts, wages, payment cycles, benefits, and clear requirements. Clearly state in your offer that candidates who do not meet certain criteria will not even be considered. Once you have a pool of suitable candidates, it’s time to move to the interviews. Consider the following: 

  • Don’t be afraid to ask all the questions that you deem important in order to know the person better. But keep it professional and relevant to the job. When it comes to nannies, this gets a bit tricky, because there’s a personal contact while on the job, so explain the need for certain questions if necessary.
  •  Open-ended questions tend to give you a broader image of someone’s character and response to emergencies. Consider these: What would you do in case of an accident in the house? How can you describe your style when it comes to discipline? Which activities do you feel are more suitable for a child of my kid’s age? How would you plan your day with the kids?
  • Qualifications: The need for certain qualifications varies with each family. For example, if you have a kid with special needs, you want to know that who you hire is trained to care for them. A background in education can be helpful too. First-aid training is important, especially if you have younger kids (from newborns to toddlers). 

Checking References

This is a very important step in the process. References will allow you to access important information about your candidate’s past performance. Ask for at least two contacts, and if you feel that you did not get enough information from them, don’t hesitate to ask for more. When talking to references, open-ended questions are very helpful too. Consider asking for examples of how they handle complicated situations or ask them to describe a normal day of their routine.

See Also
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Background Checks

A background check is part of the screening process for most nanny agencies, so you should not feel bad to ask for one. Understand which aspects are important. For example, a credit background check is usually not necessary, but verifying sex offender lists and driving records is very important. 

Hiring a nanny can be a stressful process. In the end, it is one of the most important decisions you can make, so make sure to leave nothing behind. And set up a probation period. Even with great qualifications and amazing references, someone may not be a good fit for your family.

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