Nannies and babysitters are people with whom you entrust your most prized possessions. So it goes without saying that safety is the principal concern when it comes to hiring a new one. Beyond the general requirements you set out in your job posting, trust is the most crucial quality you should be looking for.
On Care.com you can find a range of articles with helpful tips and advice for putting safety first in the hiring process. Using the five safety checks detailed below can also help you decide which candidate is the best choice your family.
1. Do Your Homework
You are online at this very moment. Google your candidate and see what pops up. Check their profile on Facebook or other social media accounts. More than likely nothing too out of the ordinary will come up but you want to make sure to take these precautions.
2. Conduct a Thorough Interview
Really take the time to get to know your applicants in the interview process. Be sure to ask all the questions that are important to the job and specific to your family. This is also an opportunity to detail your safety concerns or your strategy on handling emergency situations, if certain rules apply. It is also a good idea to schedule the first meeting with a potential nanny at a neutral location, like a coffee shop.
3. Make Sure You Check References
To undertake your own reference checking, ask your potential childcare to 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 person like to work with? Flexible, inflexible, social, shy, open to constructive criticism or defensive?
- What were their strengths and weaknesses?
- Were they punctual? Did she call in sick often?
- Why are they no longer working for you?
- Would you hire her back if needed?
- Did they take initiative or do better with explicit instructions?
- Were they warm and engaging or tougher to get to know?
- How did the kids relate to them, how did the parents connect?
You should have a candid conversation when you speak to the reference and explain your situation, the job’s responsibilities, your needs and even your parenting and management style to see if their former nanny may be compatible with you. Parents tend to be honest with one another – be open and ask questions.
If there are places of employment they listed that did not have references, you can call them to verify they did in fact work there on the dates they mentioned. You may also ask the circumstances in which she left.
4. Review Driving Records
If driving the kids is part of the gig, you’ll want to check the caregiver’s record. Explain that you will be looking into their driving record as it pertains to the job. You can request a ‘driver’s abstract’ from your provincial government which includes the current status of the license and lists conviction information, any applicable demerit points, and suspensions. Also, if your nanny will be driving your car, touch base with your insurance company to see about adding coverage for them.
5. Ask Yourself!
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 their check, don’t hire them. However, if you find yourself constantly searching for the deal breaker in each candidate, it may be the result of an unrelated stress. There are extensive checks that go into hiring so just prioritize what is most important to you and remember to trust your instinct. You’ll be well on your way to matching with someone who suits your family.
Your Next Steps