Hiring a nanny for your child, especially if it’s a small child, it’s a huge responsibility. You need to examine all the candidates using the same techniques and tools employed by Human Resources managers.
Well, you don’t need a degree in HR, but you could certainly use some tips.
Be very specific in the job requirements
You don’t want to waste interviewing a lot of would-be nannies that don’t meet your criteria. It’s best if you lay down your requirements when you start advertising for this job. If you use an agency, send them your criteria to help them narrow down the list of potential candidates.
For instance, you can specify the preferred age group. Some parents prefer an older, but more experienced nanny, while others would rather entrust their children to a person who is young and energetic.
If you want the nanny to speak a certain language make sure to write that, too.
Also, don’t forget to mention if you’d like the nanny to work long hours or weekends.
Ask for a background check
This is a must if that person will be in your house every day caring for your precious child. You need to be absolutely certain that this person is totally decent, has high moral standards and has never been convicted for any sort of offence.
A general pre-employment background check like a police check that discloses all previous criminal history will suffice. In some states of Australia, people who look after children are also mandated by the law to hold a working with children registration certificate on top of their police checks.
Make background checks a non-negotiable condition and put that in the job ad as well.
Most candidates probably won’t object to such a requirement as it is quite reasonable to want to know everything about the person you leave your child with.
In Australia, there are online service providers that are approved by the government so the background checks they provide are reliable. The applicant generally gets the result in a couple of days, so it won’t create much delays in the hiring process.
Test their behavior around children
When you ask a prospective nanny for an interview make sure the children are at home and awake. It is not advisable to have the children present for the duration of the whole interview as their presence could be distracting, but allow at least 15 minutes to see how the nanny behaves around them and how the children react.
In some cases, you may find the nanny is a bit off-putting and maybe you don’t like the way she talks to the kids. Trust your gut feeling and let the nanny go. You want someone who is kind and shows understanding, not someone patronizing.
This applies to the way they talk to you as well. Some nannies tend to be a bit condescending when talking to young inexperienced parents. You don’t want a nanny that tells you how to raise your children. You want someone who will raise your children as you see fit.
Check their references
Even if you like a nanny very much, don’t forget to ask for recommendation letters and contact details of their previous employers. Never hire a nanny without talking to their former employers. Also, in Australia there is a nanny association called the ANA where qualified nannies can register. You can check their registration with the official association to give a greater peace of mind. Don’t be afraid to ask for details about their responsibilities and if they were satisfied with her services.