50 Essential Tips for Nanny Background Checks

The nanny that you hire is going to be responsible for the most precious people in your life: your children. As a result, it’s imperative to run a full and thorough background check before you officially hire one. The more information you can gather about a caregiver the better informed your hiring decision will be.

10 Reasons Not to Skip the Background Check

Sometimes people are tempted to skip the background check either because they are embarrassed to ask the nanny for authorization or they don’t want to incur the added expense of running one. Parents should gather as much information as possible about a nanny so that they can make an educated hiring decision.

  1. You may fail to discover that the nanny is a registered sex offender. It’s easy to find this out, and failure to do otherwise is really risky.
  2. She may have a hideous driving record. If she’s going to be driving your kids around, that could be a deal-breaker.
  3. You could expose your children to a dangerous or untrustworthy person. Even if nothing bad happens, being around a bad influence could be very detrimental.
  4. If she lies about her credentials, you won’t have a chance to uncover those lies. Always verify the information provided.
  5. Your entire household could be exposed to trouble like theft and other problems. Items could go missing and identifying information could be stolen and used for identity theft and other crimes.
  6. It keeps you from making a risky hire. When you eventually run into trouble, you’ll have to go through the entire process again for a new nanny.
  7. Even if the nanny has nothing on her record that raises red flags, the information could reveal that she would be a poor fit for your family.
  8. A background check is the easiest way to confirm the things that the nanny tells you during the hiring process. Even small lies could indicate bigger problems.
  9. You won’t feel fully confident about hiring the person of you don’t.
  10. You will be left with doubts in the back of your head and may find yourself worrying whenever the children are left in the care of the nanny.

10 Excuses that Families Give for Not Running Background Checks

Parents have different reasons for opting out of running a background check. Some simply don’t feel the need and others feel it’s an invasion of privacy. When it comes to hiring a nanny, the ultimate screening responsibility lies with you. For that reason, gather as much information as you can about a potential caregiver so that you can make an informed hiring decision.

  1. People sometimes feel like they are being too nosy by running a background check on a prospective nanny. They view it as an invasion of privacy, rather than a tool for gathering and verifying information.
  2. They don’t want to spend the extra money that’s often involved in having a thorough background check done. The money that’s spent is more than worth it though.
  3. The prospective nanny “seems” nice and normal. It seems highly unlikely that she would have a criminal record. Looks can be deceiving, of course, which is why a background check is always necessary.
  4. The nanny’s references all check out. It’s important to keep in mind that the nanny has complete control over who she lists as references. This should not be taken as a sign of a clean background.
  5. She has impeccable credentials. Those credentials may not check out upon close scrutiny, though, and a background check is the only surefire way to find out.
  6. The nanny was referred by a close friend or relative. As a result, there’s a false sense of security. They may have been duped too.
  7. The parents are in a rush and need to find a nanny as quickly as possible. This is one search that shouldn’t be taken lightly, and it’s worth it to take the time to perform a background check.
  8. The nanny is extremely young, which makes the family think that she can’t possibly have a criminal background. While some criminal records of minors may be sealed, other important information can be gathered during a thorough check.
  9. The children have met the prospective nanny and like her. Many people who are great with children shouldn’t be entrusted to care for them.
  10. As busy as everyone is, it’s tempting to skip the background check. Busyness is no excuse.

10 Things Parents Should Consider About Nanny Background Checks

If you’re convinced running a background check on a prospective nanny is the right thing to do, consider these tips as you move forward with your pre-employment screening.

  1. It’s worth it to pay a company to run a thorough and comprehensive background check on a prospective nanny. Several checks will be done for one price, which makes deciding on which checks to conduct easy.
  2. The Internet is awash in legitimate background check websites. Before opting to use one, however, parents should know what they are paying for.
  3. Many states post sex offender registries online. They are free for anyone to use. In most cases, a person’s name can be inputted to see if there are any results. It’s free and easy, so it should always be done. Access them all through the national Sex Offender Registry site.
  4. If a nanny’s home state has an online offender registry, it’s smart to take a look at it as well. In most cases, offenders only remain in the system while they’re still active.
  5. In many cases, the local state police website may offer criminal records online. Parents can also call their local state police branch to inquire about obtaining a person’s criminal history, if one exists.
  6. A simple Google search can reveal a lot about a person, and it only takes a second.
  7. Profiles for the prospective nanny on sites like Facebook and Twitter should be searched for. If located, they should be examined for any signs of trouble.
  8. A person’s driving record can be quite revealing. For instance, it can reveal instances of drunk driving or patterns of recklessness.
  9. Some parents also run a prospective nanny’s credit report. If major financial woes are present, she may be more prone to stress, theft or other crimes.
  10. Another option is to hire a detective to dig into a prospective nanny’s background. This is ideal if a parent just doesn’t have the time or experience to do so on their own.

10 Ways to Tell if a Background Check is Legitimate

Many parents want to secure a thorough background screening on their nanny, but with all of the online options available, parents aren’t always sure which company to use or what checks to get.

If you’re concerned about the validity of a background check, consider the following:

  1. Ask for a detailed list of the types of records that are searched. In some cases, you could perform the same check for free by yourself.
  2. Ask if more than one source is used. It’s not easy to get the big picture about a prospective nanny if only one source is checked. High-quality background checks include several different sources.
  3. Confirm that the nanny’s information has been entered correctly. A misspelling could pull up information about an entirely different person, which isn’t going to help very much.
  4. Consider if the nanny has an extremely common name. This is another situation in which a case of mistaken identity could easily occur. Extra vigilance must be used to ensure that info about the right person is found.
  5. Do the records that are found make sense? For instance, do they correspond to the state in which the nanny lives? Do they mesh with the other information that she has provided?
  6. Ask if a check of the local sex offender registry will be included? Preferably, a search of all available sex offender registries will be performed, just in case the prospective nanny has had trouble elsewhere.
  7. Ask if a credit check be performed. If nothing else, it can reassure prospective parents that a nanny is a responsible and diligent person.
  8. A full report should be given and it should be presented in a way that’s easy to understand.
  9. Parents should find out if additional checks are available. It’s often worth it to have as many different checks done as possible, especially if some information is confusing or incomplete.
  10. The results of the background check should be easy to confirm. Parents shouldn’t base their decision on information that is incomplete or inconclusive.

10 Reasons to Give the Nanny a Chance to Adverse Results

It’s tempting to just immediately confront the nanny with the results of negative background check, but it’s important to remember that the nanny has a right to explain these things to you. You never know what the circumstances might be, so consider yourself armed and ready for a conversation with the nanny.

  1. An offense that appears during a background check may have happened many years ago. In the meantime, the nanny may have maintained a clean record.
  2. If the nanny has paid for her crimes and made amends for them, it may be fair to give her a second chance. As long as her debt to society has been paid and the offense was minor, she may turn out to be a great nanny.
  3. If the offense didn’t involve children, it may not be worth taking into consideration. The specific nature of the things that are uncovered must be taken into account.
  4. If violence or theft were not involved in the crime, it may not be a sign of any trouble in terms of a person’s ability to be a nanny. Some parents may want to dig deeper before ruling out a nanny.
  5. The nanny may be able to demonstrate that she has changed. If she can, it may be worth it to consider her as an employee.
  6. Is the nanny upfront and forthright about the information that has been found? If so, it may be worth getting her story.
  7. They may be inaccurate. Incorrect information could be included on a record, especially if the nanny has a common name.
  8. If everything else about the nanny is great, a small blemish on her background check may be mitigated.
  9. You could offer to give the nanny a trial run. If things aren’t perfect, you could back out of the arrangement then.
  10. There may be more to the story. Giving the nanny a chance to explain herself may be quite revealing.

There’s no question about it: It’s critical to run a background check on any prospective nanny. What you do with the information is up to you, but it pays to be informed either way.