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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 application.
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 try-out.
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 emergency procedures.
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 for you.)


7. After hiring, monitor relationships.
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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