8 things to do before offering a nanny a job
You need a new nanny, stat! But once you think you've spotted your ideal Mary Poppins, don't rush to hire her. Follow these eight steps to perform your due diligence before bringing your child’s new caregiver on board.
1. Call references
You should talk to at least five references for a candidate, including previous employers and character references. In addition, check to see if the child care provider has any reviews on their Care.com profile that you can read.
Don’t be afraid to probe deep when you ask questions, although even simple questions like how long the person employed the nanny and the names and ages of the children in the nanny’s care can be very telling in terms of making sure the nanny told the truth on her application.
For a complete list of questions to ask, read How to Handle Reference Checks.
2. Run background checks
You may have picked initial candidates, but when you've narrowed the pool down to your top choice (or choices), look into more extensive searches. Learn about the background check options available through Care.com.
3. Search on Google
When you Google your prospective nanny’s name and the names of her clients, look for the basics, including reviews from past customers and client testimonials on sites like LinkedIn and user review websites. Has her name been mentioned negatively in any local media stories? Double-check factual information, such as education and work history.
4. Connect on Social Media
Even more than a Google search, social media networks offer important insights into the way your future nanny lives. Friend or follow the nanny on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.
Be wary of hiring someone who constantly posts about personal or family drama or has bad mouthed previous employers.
Also make sure this person is living the type of lifestyle you want around your children, including portraying an upbeat and positive attitude. How do they treat their friends and acquaintances on social media? What do they share regularly? Are there lots of photos involving alcohol or unsafe behaviors?
“You have to be true to who you are as an individual and for your family as a whole,” says Melissa Cummings, founder of SHIFT Legacy. “Ask yourself, what values do you hold true? Is this person a role model? Do they share the same family values? Can I trust them with the most valuable person in my life?”
5. Check consistency
Jay Silver, a father from Long Island, N.Y., notes that his first interview with a prospective nanny is comprehensive, thanks to his expertise as a human resources professional. He asks about hobbies and career aspirations, as well as specific questions related to work and child care situations, such as: what’s the most challenging part of watching someone else’s child?
Then, his wife will interview the prospective nanny at a later date, alone. “She will ask the same questions in different ways, to make sure the answers are the same,” Silver explains.
You want to make sure your candidates are truly informed and passionate about this career -- and aren't just saying what they think you want to hear.
6. Do lunch
How someone behaves in a job interview and how they act when they don’t realize they're being evaluated can be very different. If a nanny passes the interview and the background check stage, Silver's wife takes her out to lunch just to see how she acts in a social situation -- either with or without their child. You can also head to the park or go for a walk around the neighborhood.
7. Write a contract
To make sure you and your nanny candidate are on the same page regarding the expectation of the job, create a contract (if you haven't already) that spells out the job description, expectation, benefits, confidentiality policy, etc. Is the nanny okay with the hours and pay rate you're offering? How will you handle employment taxes? Is the pay you're offering gross or net? Discussing these details may help pinpoint any red flags.
Learn more about Why You Need a Nanny Contract.
8. Talk to your kids
The final decision, of course, rests in your hands, but speak to your children about how they feel. After all, your children’s safety -- and happiness -- is paramount. And your child may even pick up on cues that you missed in your eagerness to find a child care solution.
If your child has any misgivings beyond separation anxiety that is to be expected, re-consider your choice. Tune in to your intuition and see what your instincts are telling you. “In the end, this person is going to have a huge influence on your child...the most important person in your life,” Cummings says. “If something feels wrong, you are probably right. Follow your gut.”
Dawn Allcot is a full-time freelance writer, blogger and inbound marketing specialist. As the mom of two young children, she understands first-hand the importance of choosing the right caregiver.