10 Signs a Nanny Candidate Might Be the Wrong Choice

Posted on by admin | in Background Check

Hiring a new nanny generally requires that you spend hours, and maybe even days, sifting through a pile of resumes simply to make a list of candidates suitable for first-round interviews. After investing so much time and energy to narrow the field, it can be tempting to hire the first candidate that seems remotely qualified because the task of talking to several different candidates is often so daunting. There are, however, several red flags that can indicate a nanny candidate’s potential unsuitability for a childcare position in your home. Taking these 10 warning signs into consideration can help you to reduce the likelihood of turnover and ensure that your children are in great hands while you’re away.

  1. She Has Limited or No Experience – Minimal experience is a common deal-breaker for many parents. While it’s true that every Mary Poppins in the rough must get her start somewhere, a marked lack of experience could mean that a candidate simply isn’t equipped to deal with any childcare emergencies that may arise.
  2. Her References are Friends and Family – A candidate who’s vague about her work experience and has a list of references comprised solely of friends or relatives could be hiding a lack of experience, or attempting to camouflage a less than savory employment history. If a request to contact prior employers is met with reticence, it could be a sign that a particular candidate is hiding something.
  3. She Doesn’t Have CPR or First Aid Certification – Choking incidents are much more common than many parents realize, and can easily be fatal if a caregiver has no practical knowledge of life-saving techniques. Kids are also notorious for being reckless enough to cause themselves accidental injury, so it’s essential that any candidate you consider have ample training and certification in both CPR and first aid.
  4. She’s Not Willing to Be Tax Compliant – Among domestic workers, the rate of tax compliance is remarkably low. While this can often just as likely be a result of an employers’ reluctance to tackle the complicated system of nanny taxes as a nanny’s refusal to obey the law, there are nannies out there who prefer to be paid “off the books.” If a candidate refuses to work in accordance with state and federal tax laws, it’s a good idea to opt for someone else. After all, you’ll be left facing the penalties and fines if your non-compliance is discovered.
  5. She Refuses to Cooperate With a Background Check – Modern nannies understand that a cursory background and criminal records check is par for the hiring course in today’s world. A candidate that refuses to sign a release may be doing so on simple grounds of protecting her privacy, but could also be attempting to obscure a checkered past.
  6. Her Education is Limited – While an Ivy League education absolutely isn’t necessary to care for, protect and love children, an extreme lack of formal schooling can make it difficult for a nanny candidate to help older children with homework or offer tutoring services. Nannies should at least have a high school diploma or the equivalent.
  7. Your Children Seem Uncomfortable With Her – There’s a difference between natural shyness and an outright discomfort with a particular person; if your children seem noticeably standoffish with a candidate or reluctant to engage with her during a trial period, she may not be the best choice for the job.
  8. She Doesn’t Understand or Respect Your Parenting Style – It’s important that a nanny respect the basic tenets of your chosen childcare philosophy, even if she doesn’t subscribe to them herself. If your parenting and disciplinary style is met with derision or confusion that can’t be easily cleared up, it might be wise to move on to the next candidate.
  9. She’s Very Young – It’s neither wise nor ethical to discriminate based on a candidate’s age, but it is important to consider how much practical experience and competence a girl fresh out of high school has. Before making the decision to hire a candidate, it’s wise to take her age and maturity level into account.
  10. She Asks Questions About Salary and Benefits, But Not Your Children – Though a childcare post is a job above all else, a candidate that’s consumed with discussing compensation packages, perks and benefits without ever asking about your children may not be as interested in a career as a quality childcare provider as she is in a paycheck.

While these 10 signs are among the most common, the list is by no means exhaustive. The reasons for choosing not to hire a particular candidate are as varied as the nannies themselves, meaning that you’ll have to think carefully about what is and is not acceptable to you and how a nanny can best suit your individual needs.

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