Hiring a nanny can be a daunting, intimidating process, especially for new parents or parents who haven’t had extensive experience in the childcare industry. The interview process is a crucial time to weed out unworthy applicants, but how can one really know whether or not a candidate is right for the job? You can check out our list of questions to ask a nanny during an interview, but knowing what the right answers are can be a different story. Below are some red flags to look out for during the process.
We require specific information to be present on our nannies resumes, and this includes the ages of children upon hire. This gives us an indication of the types of developmental activities each nanny is accustomed to providing based on the child’s age. However, just because they have worked with a child before doesn’t mean they were particularly present or engaging. Having worked in the childcare industry ourselves at Los Angeles Nannies, we’ve seen many nannies in story time or at the playground who spend more time on their phones or chatting with other nannies than they do caring for the children. It is important to ask specific leading questions about the types of activities they are used to participating in with their nanny children. The more specific, the better. If they cannot get specific, or they describe activities that are not age appropriate, this is a red flag as it shows they were not present enough for the child, or they were exaggerating on their resume.
35% of people have lied on their resumes, a scary number when considering the nature of a childcare position. The interview process is an excellent way to decipher between who is lying and who is speaking truth. Ask specific questions related to past positions on a candidate’s resume. If they trip up, avoid the topic or change the subject, that is a red flag. An additional red flag is if they refuse to give references, or avoid giving references from past childcare providers. Ask for references from the names they’ve listed on their resume, and refrain from accepting references from jobs outside of childcare. You want to know what this person is like in the home and with a child, and speaking to past employers is the best way to get to the point.
“Hiring someone to look after and spend long hours with your child can be a stressful and intimidating process. For families that have the option, hiring an agency to assist in the hiring process can be of great benefit to ensuring that your nanny is trustworthy, dependable and professional.”
A professional, caring nanny will want to know the needs, personality, and health concerns of your child. They know that they will be directly responsible for the health and safety of your child, as well as their emotional and social development, and they will want to make sure that their own personalities will be a great match. A wonderful nanny’s main priority is to create an environment for your child to succeed in. A red flag nanny will skip over the topic of your child and get straight to the pay and benefits. This is someone who is not in the industry out of a passion for seeing children grow, but for what they believe is an easy paycheck. This is a red flag.
If a nanny says one thing, then contradicts themselves later, or if they are inconsistent when talking about their resumes, this is a red flag. Either this nanny is attempting to deceive you, or they are unsure of themselves, or are trying to say what they think you want to hear. This is a red flag. A nanny should know themselves and know their work history, as it is their career and something they should take great pride in. Be wary of someone who contradicts themselves.
Of course some people are nervous during interviews or are shy until you get to know them, but generally interviews tell a lot about a person. Your child and family may require someone with a calming presence, but generally it is your child who is the one who needs time to open up, not your nanny. We have found that our success in placements stems from an ability to match families based on personalities, as nannies spend enough time in the home to become part of the family. If you are going to not only trust this person to the care of your child, but also have them in your home for 40 hours a week, they should be someone you get along with. Mix-matching personalities is a red flag.
The key to bringing up a well rounded child is to expose them frequently to a diverse range of people, ideas and subjects. However, children also require consistency in the home and in parenting and disciplining techniques. A nanny can easily read in a job description that a family is looking for Montessori experience and make a note in her resume that she has it, even if she has no background on the subject. For this reason, it’s important to ask leading questions in an interview, questions that start like, “what would you do if….” If a nanny gives answers that make you uncomfortable or that differ from your own philosophy, this is a major red flag. Of course some disciplinary actions may be taught, but it is a good idea to hire a nanny who already closely mirrors your own ideals.
Hiring someone to look after and spend long hours with your child can be a stressful and intimidating process. For families that have the option, hiring an agency to assist in the hiring process can be of great benefit to ensuring that your nanny is trustworthy, dependable and professional. However, if you choose to hire on your own, it is important to look out for any red flags. At the end of the day, your intuition will be your best marker, so always go with your gut. Reach out to us with any questions or concerns, we would be more than happy to assist you in your search.