Running a job candidate’s background check, calling references, and checking resumes are some of the most important steps in hiring a nanny. It’s a great way to learn more about your candidate, evaluate their professionalism, and determine their fit for your job.
Here’s how to research and verify your candidate’s background to ensure you’re making the right hiring decision.
Call Their References
References can speak to a candidate’s background, abilities, personality, strengths, and weaknesses. You can tell a lot about what a reference thinks about your candidate from the tone of their voice and enthusiasm when speaking about your potential hire. Vague or short answers to your questions could be a red flag that the reference doesn’t fully endorse your candidate. On the other hand, long and detailed responses indicate a higher level of satisfaction.
If you are hiring through an online job site, it’s critically important to call references as well as run background checks and verify resumes as there likely isn’t a vetting process before placing the applicant in front of you.
Even if you are using a placement agency, which will vet candidates, you should perform your own reference checks. An agency likely has already contacted your candidate’s references but sometimes the nanny’s previous family may be more open and honest when talking with another family.
When speaking with your candidate’s references, some good questions to ask include:
- Would you hire them again? Why or why not?
- What do you believe are their strengths and weaknesses?
- Why did they leave your employment?
- What were the dates of employment?
- Were they punctual?
- Were all aspects of the job completed to your satisfaction?
Before checking employment history and personal references, it’s a good idea to get a signed release from your candidate. Provide a copy to the candidate and file the original with their personnel file if they are hired.
While at least one state may make providing fake references and lying on applications for child care jobs a felony, dishonest references are a possibility. Fake references may be provided by the nanny’s family or friends.
Conduct a Candidate’s Background Check
Suggested background checks include driving record, social security, credit history, criminal convictions, drug testing, sex offender registries, professional licensing, and higher education verification.
Among other factors, these checks can reveal:
- Driving history and any alcohol- or drug-related incidents
- Fraudulent use of another person’s Social Security number
- Criminal activity including sex crimes and child abuse
- Drug use
- Accuracy of professional designations and college degrees
Checking the financial background of your candidate can help you judge their responsibility, maturity, and honesty. However, the Fair Credit Reporting Act requires you to provide the applicant a copy and summary of their credit report if they are rejected for employment.
Looking into your candidate’s professional licensing, higher education degrees, and employment references can help you uncover resume fraud. Potentially untrustworthy candidates may embellish their experience, certifications, degrees, and more in order to get a job they may not be qualified to hold.
Review Their “Digital Footprint”
A relatively newer screening method for families is to review a candidate’s background through their publicly accessible “digital footprint.” This would include social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram. Using a web search of your candidate may also provide information helpful to determining suitability for your job.
A candidate’s “digital footprint” may persuade you to hire the candidate because you found information that supports their job qualifications, a professional online persona, or an online personality that would be a good fit for your family.
At the same time, what you find out could also lead you to reject a candidate. Maybe you found provocative or inappropriate images, evidence of drinking or drug use, disparaging words about a previous employer, or discriminatory comments.
A Word of Caution
When conducting candidate background checks and online research, be careful not to illegally discriminate against your applicant. While most federal discrimination laws apply to businesses of certain employee sizes, they may impact your hiring process along with state and local regulations.
Also, remember that nannies have professional and personal lives. Their online persona may not accurately reflect their character and strengths.
Why is This Important
You are hiring someone to come into your home and care for valuable – and vulnerable – loved ones. Do the extra work of calling references, checking resumes, and conducting candidate background checks. Most importantly, follow your instincts. A lot of time and effort is spent in hiring a nanny. You don’t want to do it all over again shortly after realizing you hired an unsuitable employee.
It will be well worth the effort to make the right hire and bring on board an employee who will make your children comfortable and keep them safe.
Remember, you’re hiring a nanny to help you not worry your children when you are at work.
GTM Can Help
We offer candidate background services including criminal checks, credit checks, driving records, social security tracking, and reference checking. Call (800) 929-9213 to learn how we can lift some of the burdens from your shoulders when hiring a nanny.