To safely hire a new nanny (or even an assistant, or housekeeper!) is a serious undertaking, and should be handled with a certain extent of scrutiny and attention to detail. Your new hire will be working intimately in your home and with your children - so it's important to make sure that you have verified peace of mind before you bring someone on.
You may have heard a recent horror story, in which a New York City family returned home to find their new hire had systematically robbed their home of various furniture and possessions while the family were at work and school, after calling in sick and hiring movers to empty the house. While this story is extremely rare, there are lessons to be learned from this, and certain precautions that we would always recommend in order to screen your new nanny or any in-home personnel. While working with our nanny agency, there are certain built-in verification standards to which we hold all of our candidates. However if you are undertaking your search for a new employee on your own...
Here are a few insider tips on how to safely hire a nanny to ensure that your new hire has been properly vetted and can become a trusted role in your home.
1. Validate Candidate's Identity
First, validating identity is essential. We would highly, highly recommend using a legitimate background check company to do this. An identity verification can often still be run with a foreign passport. In the case above, all the IDs provided by the nanny were fake, but this was only realized after the crime was committed. With today's technology, telling a real from a fake ID can be harder than you'd imagine for the untrained eye. Hiring an outside company to assist you with a background verification will ensure peace of mind.
Our nanny agency offers nanny candidate background checks a la carte for clients all the time, as do several other NYC nanny agencies, to best help you safely hire a nanny. Even if you aren't using the agency's services for your recruitment search, they often will still offer background verification as a standalone service, at a relatively inexpensive cost.
2. Verify the References' Personas and Get (a bit!) Nosy
Second, verify references and get in depth with them. Always try a Facebook, Google and LinkedIn search of a reference provided: does absolutely nothing come up? Search their phone number or email into Facebook and Google, and see what name (if anything) corresponds. A fake reference is always a friend or family member of the person themselves, and will likely show up among their Facebook friends. [Though as a note: some high-net worth individuals will not show up in a Google search, so if possible try to get the partner or spouse's name as well when requesting references from the candidate].
When you do get a hold of a reference, take note of the person's tone and cadence. How do they sound? A real reference will state the facts and have specific examples; a fake reference will sound like a salesperson speaking in very general, broad, and overly positive terms.
Also, have your candidate's resume in front of you on the call, and get nosey, as if you know nothing. Ask what the details of the position were, and how old their children are presently (a real parent will know this information automatically without having to quickly do math). Ask what neighborhood they live in and cross reference with the resume. Ask why the position ended and see if it lines up. Not every reference will be open to discussing a ton of details, especially if it ended due to the family's personal matters. We recommend trying to speak to a minimum of 3 people, which will give you a chance to notice any patterns that might emerge.
3. Have a security camera.
Our last bit of advice is to install at least one visible security camera in the apartment or on the outside of your home before you leave your in-home caretaker for the first time. We highly recommend that it is visible so that your employee knows of it's presence. While voice recording is illegal in some states without express two-party consent, a soundless video camera is acceptable. because informing the caregiver about the camera first
Alerting the caregiver to it in advance will build a relationship of openness and trust, and will break any possible tension or hurt they may feel if they had found it on their own. Imagine your partner was spying on you, and what emotions that would bring up. A nanny may similarly feel the same, as this person is, in a way, a partner and co-parent in your family.
Telling your employee upon hire about any cameras you have in your home also allows you the opportunity to put it back on yourself: "We have it for our apartment's security, but also because I just miss my baby in the day!" Most caregivers understand that to many families, safely hiring a nanny means a "nanny-cam;" and they may be completely fine with the presence of a camera if it's not secretive, and because they also know it can protect them in the event they are accused of something. The majority of nannies only really take issue with a camera when it is used to micromanage and critique their practice in real-time.
Are you looking for background verification services to make sure you hire a nanny safely?
Check out our services on our website.
Have any wisdom of your own for how to verify a new nanny hire?
Let us know in the comments below!
- KITH & KIN
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Copyright 2020. Kith and Kin is a division of Adventure Nannies. Kith and Kin does not discriminate on the basis of race, creed, color, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender expression, gender identity, age, height, weight, physical disabilities, veteran status, and marital status. We place nannies, newborn care specialists (formerly called baby nurses) and private educators throughout the New York metro area. You may contact us at 917-310-2300 or at hello@KITHandKINnyc.com