Seven Steps to
Successfully Hiring a Nanny On Your Own
1. Screen carefully.
Ask about background, qualification, experience, work
history, and references. Ask to see documentation that
proves legal work status. Arrange your initial interview
away from your home. If you are satisfied with the first
meeting and your initial impressions, arrange a second
interview in your home and introduce the candidate to
your children. Look for gaps in the work history and
ask about them; rely on facts at this stage of the process
to help you screen.
2. Use a written
Ask the candidate to fill out a formal application with
references, experience and work history. Make sure the
references and experience are in the childcare field
and that they are recent.
3. Offer a paid
If the second interview goes well, ask the candidate
to spend 4 or 8 paid hours in your home caring for your
children while you are there. Do not leave your children
alone with the candidate during this time. Observe how
the candidate interacts with your children, whether
she seems genuinely interested in them, and whether
she is creative in keeping them occupied. Ask her to
entertain your children while you are busy with other
work; and ask her to make a snack or a meal for your
children while she is there. Rely on your parental intuition
in watching how your children react to her, and whether
you see positive “chemistry” between them.
4. Discuss discipline.
Talk to the candidate about how she will discipline
your child. Ask her values surrounding discipline to
make sure they are similar to your own. Explain how
you and your spouse discipline. Think of recent situations
where you disciplined your child (temper tantrums, disobedience,
inappropriate behavior); describe them to the candidate
and ask how she would handle the situation.
5. Be clear about
Explore how well the candidate is prepared to handle
medical emergencies. Guerin requires that all nannies
she places have a TB test and be certified in CPR. She
also requires that nannies complete a health and safety
class that reviews what to do if a child breaks a bone,
is burned, is choking, or injured in some other way.
At minimum, decide how you want the nanny to handle
an emergency, whether it is driving your child to the
emergency room or calling for an ambulance. Be clear
about what circumstances would trigger an immediate
911 call. When your nanny starts work, make sure she
has information about the location of the nearest hospital
and knows how to get there; has information about your
child’s allergies; names and numbers of doctors;
and any special information about your child’s
health she needs.
6. Make any offer
contingent on a background check.
Once you have completed the interviews and in-home trial,
and have determined you want to hire the candidate,
make her an offer contingent on a thorough background
check, including calling her references. (The background
check is the last step because of the time and cost
involved.) The background check looks at driving record,
credit history, social security status, and criminal
record. Retain an investigation firm to do the check
for you, which will usually take three days to complete.
Many nanny agencies will handle the investigation for
you for a fee, even though you are not hiring through
their agency. (Staffing Solutions @ Mothers’ Aides
is one agency in the metro agency that will handle this
7. After hiring,
Once the nanny is hired, stay alert to the developing
relationship between the nanny and your children to
insure that it is positive. Keep the lines of communication
open among you, yourself, and your nanny.
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