As state and local officials begin to re-open businesses, despite what COVID-19 numbers
are doing, many parents are heading back to work and looking to hire new nannies
. While many amazing and qualified nannies who would otherwise never be on the market for long are now available, parents need to be extra cautious when it comes to hiring post-pandemic. While indeed many nannies have been laid off
due to the virus, parents should beware. References are always imperative during the hiring process, but parents should be extra judicious during this time.
The candidate pool is flooded with wonderful, experienced career nannies and parents are lucky to have the pick of the litter. However, a global pandemic could be an easy out for nannies who were fired around the same time for a very different reason. Be skeptical of anyone who says that their last job ended “due to COVID-19.” Of course, this may be the case for many, but parents should contact the previous employer in question to find out more about your candidate’s reason for leaving. A nanny who was chronically late or had issues taking direction would happily use COVID as a coverup for their misdeeds.
What to Ask a Reference
References are hard to track down
, parents spend days trying to get a candidate’s previous employer on the phone. Once you get them, what do you say? How do you know what to look for? Here are a few good leading questions to get to the bottom of a candidate’s history:
- Tell me about your time with ______
- What was _____ like on an average day?
- Do you trust them with your children?
- Would you recommend them to another family?
- Would you hire them again?
- What was their reason for leaving?
- Was there anything you would have them improve upon?
Parents should take notes during a reference call, especially if they are interviewing more than one nanny at a time.
If a nanny lists a previous employer that refuses to provide a reference, this is not a good sign
. The same goes for a reference who is short, evasive, or refuses to elaborate. References who withhold information could just be busy or “like that”, but they could also have had a negative experience with a nanny that for some reason they wish not to divulge. Have a nanny’s resume in front of you when you call a reference to cross-check and confirm information. Ask a reference for the dates the nanny worked for them, the ages of the children, and any other basic information listed on their resume. If there are discrepancies, your nanny is likely unreliable or even untrustworthy.
Letters of Recommendation
It’s very common for nannies to leave a job with a letter of recommendation from their previous family in hand. They are a great tool to consider along with a nanny’s resume, but should not replace a reference call. Often, letters of recommendation are signed with the date and contact information of the person doing the recommending. Parents should look out for letters that do not have contact information, and inquire with the nanny. Letters of recommendation
should never be taken for fact and their validity should always be confirmed via phone call.
Hire an Agency
If you’re hiring a nanny, chances are you may not have time to do the deep dive into background checks that the interview process deserves. Agencies take all of the stress of finding and verifying nannies
off of a parent’s plate. Agencies hunt down references, ask the right questions, know what to look out for, and perform background checks so that parents can rest easy when leaving their child with their new nanny.
While many parents looking for nannies may be overwhelmed with golden candidates, they should not skip the very important step of checking references. If you are a parent searching for a nanny and have any questions or concerns regarding background checks or reference checks, reach out to us.