“Nanny Nightmare” is a common phrase agencies hear constantly, but the incident in New York is the pinnacle of a most horrifying nanny hire. Knowing how to choose the right nanny is tedious and nerve-racking for all parents. To make a good decision, careful and proper due diligence is necessary. Consider the following steps:
1) Whether your candidate is from an online service, personal referral, or even an agency, request: Employment History for the last 10 years, Letters of Reference for every job performed, Driver’s License/ID, Proof of Eligibility to Work, and Certifications & Diplomas from schools, seminars and training workshops, Immunization record for TB, Whooping Cough, Hepatitis, Trustline Registry Letter, and CPR Certificate.
2) Create your own application (even if an agency is sending the nanny). As long as the questions are not discriminatory, this will facilitate your decision-making. Samples of an application and other forms can be found at www.martaperrone.com
3) Prepare questions to discuss with the nanny. Create scenarios that might pose difficult and tenuous circumstances to see how the nanny would respond under pressure. Use these questions for a personal in-depth interview. Write down the responses and cross check information received from the candidate as you do your reference check.
4) If you are satisfied with the references, have a second interview. Review the job description carefully. Introduce the children and let this part of the interview be more informal where there is plenty of interaction with the children.
5) If that meeting goes well and the entire family feels comfortable, have the candidate sign a “Consumer Authorization Form” to perform the necessary background checks. You will need to collect a date of birth, social security number, and current/alias names in the past 7 years. A driving record check will give you a history of where this person has been residing. Perform a full nationwide criminal check. Consider having the candidate undergo a professional psychological exam.
6) Assuming this goes well, put together an employee/employer contract stipulating the following: salary, deductions, schedule, overtime, vacation, holidays, sick/personal days, duties, expectations, terms for review, salary increases and termination/notice terms.
7) Train your employee. The amount of input you provide this candidate will have a direct relationship with the success rate of this hire. Prepare and present written guidelines and schedules for everything you want accomplished. Create your own “Nanny Manual”. Working parents should spend at least a week together with the nanny to train and observe.
8) Consider installing “Nanny Cam” and popping over unexpectedly. Have relatives or friends come by until you are comfortable with the candidate.
9) Conduct periodic evaluation sessions to cover any concerns. Root out the problems and make the necessary adjustments as early as possible.
10) Encourage professional training by sending your nanny to training workshops, nanny conferences and seminars such as TheNannyInstitute.com. Continued education helps nannies step out from what can be an isolated existence into a community of childcare professionals.