We want to make sure you find Care.com a useful and invaluable tool in your search for a caregiver or your search for the perfect job. As Care.com grows, and more people join the site to find work or to find caregivers, we want to make sure we are helping you get the most out of Care.com. Make sure you aren’t making any of these 10 most common mistakes made by caregivers and families on Care.com (and read of our advice on rectifying them too!)
Remember: if you are a babysitter, nanny, senior care provider, pet sitter or housekeeper, then you are a ‘Provider’, because you provide the care. If you are a family looking for help, you are a ‘Seeker’, because you are seeking help for your family.
1. Not knowing about auto-renew
Just like a gym membership, your Care.com membership is automatically renewed when it ends. We highlight this on our billing page, but realize that if you are focused on finding care or a new job, you may not see it right away. Most of our members are aware of the auto-renewal policy, but some don’t always notice it and find it odd or a bit unhelpful (especially if it surprises you on your billing statement).
But there is a reason behind it. Care.com automatically renews our customers’ memberships so you don’t lose any of the information you have gathered mid-search. Everyone has different needs, and sometimes it takes time to find a perfect fit. By keeping your Care.com account going, you can still perform multiple searches and contact additional care providers, all without interrupting your process.
Don’t worry though — if you find someone and are finished with your search, you can always downgrade your membership to a free, basic account. You don’t have to completely close your Care.com account to stop the billing; you can just cancel your subscription and continue to be a free member.
2. Poorly written descriptions
We see it all the time. People want jobs, but their profiles are bare. And people try to find the right caregivers, but their job descriptions are generic and bland.
Providers: Sing your own praises in your profile! Are you a dog walker? Talk about the favourite places to go for a walk. A nanny? Talk about your favourite after-school games. Mention classes and courses you’ve taken.
Seekers: Create a detailed job description that explains exactly what you are looking for. Share a little information about your family and its needs. This way, the best applicants will respond directly to what you’re aiming for. Also include qualities that you value, like organization or an ability to be silly. Be clear about the “must-haves” (non-smoker, has a car, etc.) and the “nice-to-haves” (speaks Spanish, enjoys reading, etc.). Encourage your kids to help with the hunt. Ask them what they want in a tutor or babysitter. Don’t ignore your schedule, either. You may find the perfect nanny, but if she can’t provide care when you need it, she’s not a good fit.
3. Forgetting or ignoring messages
Sending a quick reply is a must on Care.com.
Providers: Ignoring or not responding to a message can hurt you while you are looking for a job. Even if you receive a “No Thanks” email, always respond back to the family, thanking them for their time.
Seekers: Try to close the loop with everyone who has applied to your job. By letting providers know that you are not interested, they can apply to other jobs without hesitation. To find out how to get the right applicants for your job ad, read How to Get the Best Applicants Interested in Your Job.
4. Having restrictive options
Whether you’re a provider or a seeker on Care.com, there are lots of options to explore.
Providers: Each profile is category-specific, with prompted questions in that field. For example, if you are filling out a pet care profile, you would answer a series of questions about pets. Create multiple profiles for multiple services, and allow more families to find you…and potentially hire you for their different needs!
Seekers: Make sure you are using the right job title. Do you think of your after-school childcare support as simply a babysitter? Or do you require a more qualified part-time nanny? Not sure which one to opt for? Read our It’s All in a Name: Babysitter or Part-time Nanny?
5. Not making the most of safety features
Care.com’s Safety Centre provides a lot of wonderful information about safety options. Although we do run basic background checks, we always encourage members to complete standard background checks in addition.
Providers: Run a background check on yourself. Keep the information current by running one on yourself every year.
Seekers: When you find a provider you really like, make sure you run a background check on them.
6. Neglecting references and interviews
Providers: When applying to a job, give families as much information as possible. List references so families can check them. Treat interviews like you would an interview for any other job. Show up on time and be professional. If you have to cancel, don’t do so at the last minute.
Seekers: Make sure you conduct a thorough interview with the caregiver (either on the phone or in-person) before hiring them. This is the time to ask important questions to see if they are the best fit. Care.com has compiled interview questions for nannies, senior care providers, housekeepers, special needs caregivers and more, so look them over before you interview your next candidate. Request references: call past employers (including families and businesses) and dig for more information. Ask about strengths as well as weaknesses. Look for details and examples of why the candidate is responsible, mature, a healthy cook, etc. Don’t just call the references the candidate provides. Ask for a former coach, neighbour, boss from a job outside of the nanny industry. If your candidate can’t provide more than three references, it’s probably a bad sign.
7. Being unaware of everything Care.com has to offer
Beyond helping families find care and providers find jobs, we provide free, educational resources to the public. Have questions about potty training? We have articles giving you tips. We even provide information on how to calculate the pay for providers. Feel free to share your favourites on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. If you want to post any of our articles on your website or personal blog to share them with your readers, go for it! And of course, if you have any feedback about any of the resources, don’t hesitate to leave a comment.
8. Not upgrading to premium membership
Being a premium member on Care.com definitely has its perks. Our premium membership offers seekers complete access to Care.com, including care provider contact information and references. You can select a one month, three months or one year subscription. And don’t forget, all subscriptions are automatically renewed until cancelled.
9. Letting profiles go out-of-date
On Care.com, out-of-date information can mean not landing a job or still getting applicants for a filled job.
Providers: Keep your contact information (email and phone) as current as possible. Update your profile with recent courses you’ve passed. If you now have access to a car, update the distance you are willing to travel for a job.
Seekers: If you moved to another town, update your profile and job description so you get responses from nannies who are nearby. After you find the perfect match for your family on Care.com, be sure to “close” your job.
10. Lack of a profile picture
A picture is worth a thousand words — and it helps your profile come alive.
Providers: If you’ve signed up to be a provider on Care.com, it’s important that you include a profile picture. We have a great article that provides tips on how to get your profile approved. Take some time and read “Is Your Profile Picture Hurting Your Job Search?”
Seekers: By having a picture of your family next to your job description, this allows providers to put a face to a name. It reassures the provider that an actual family is receiving their application. It also helps a provider know who you are if they are meeting you for an interview at a local coffee shop!
Read Next: 5 Steps to Background Check Caregivers
Read Next: 12 Steps to Firing a Caregiver
Read Next: Your Step-By-Step Guide to Hiring a Nanny