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Passing All the Safety Checks Before Hiring Nanny

Jen Geller
Feb. 26, 2018

Follow these tips to make sure that the nanny you hire is a safe bet.

When you're looking for someone to care for your children, safety always comes first. Above and beyond meeting your general standards, the potential child care provider must be someone whom you can trust -- but how can you make sure that you've found the best nanny for the job?

From background and reference checks to that final gut-check, Care.com can help you cover all the bases by putting safety first. Follow these guidelines to help make the right choice for your family.

Research, Research, Research

You're online at this very moment -- take this opportunity to Google the candidate and see what pops up. Check her profile on Facebook or on her school's website. Chances are good that nothing too out of the ordinary will come up, but you'll still want to take these precautions anyway. It’s a simple, fast and free way to uncover information that may not be returned by a background check.

Interview Thoroughly

Really take the time to get to know applicants during the interview process. Be sure to ask all of the questions that are important to the job and specific to your family. (For some suggestions, be sure to check out our Questions Checklist.) This is also an opportunity for you to detail your safety concerns to the applicants, as well as your strategy for handling emergency situations, if certain rules apply. It's also a good idea to schedule the first meeting with a potential caregiver at a neutral location, such as a coffee shop.

Take Reference Checks Seriously

Create a timeline for your potential nanny by having her provide a list of previous employers over the last five years, including dates of employment. Ask for at least three references and make sure two of them are former employers.

Here are some good questions to ask when you contact references:

  • What is this candidate like to work with? Is she flexible, inflexible, social, shy, open to constructive criticism or defensive?
  • What were her strengths and weaknesses in that role?
  • Was she punctual? Did she often call in sick?
  • Why is she no longer working for you?
  • Would you hire her back if needed?
  • Did she take initiative, or did she do better with explicit instructions?
  • Was she warm and engaging, or tough to get to know?
  • How did the kids relate to her? How did the parents connect?

When you speak to the reference, you should have a candid conversation with them and explain your situation, the job's responsibilities, your needs and even your parenting and management styles to see if their former nanny may be a good fit for you. Parents tend to be honest with one another -- be open and ask questions.

If there are places of employment she listed that don't have references, you can call them to verify that she did, in fact, work there on the dates she mentioned. You may also ask the circumstances in which she left.

For more extensive information on reference checks, click here.

Request a Background Check

Think you've found the one? Before hiring, take the time to look for information that wouldn't come up during an interview. Background checks can be an important part of the hiring process, especially because they can reveal a person's criminal history that they might not have mentioned before. Care.com uses third-party vendors to offer three different background checks that range in comprehensiveness. Please click here to learn more about the background check offerings available through Care.com. We recommend that you request a background check that includes a Motor Vehicle Records Check.

Trust Your Gut

Reviewing the background of someone who will care for your children is an incredibly important task. If something doesn't feel "right" about a potential hire -- regardless of her check -- trust your gut and don't hire her.

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