Hiring a new nanny is always nerve-wracking – whether this is your first time, or whether you are looking to recruit an additional or replacement carer for your child. The stress of the process is entirely understandable. The person you hire will be responsible for the safety and wellbeing of your child when you are not around. These are not decisions that are taken lightly. They are borne of necessity – of the fact that you need someone you can trust to care for your child while you juggle the stresses and strains of your home and career.
You are essentially looking for a person who will be spending time in the heart of your family, and in your home, which means that you need peace of mind. You need to feel reassured that your new nanny will be trustworthy, reliable, and that they will be committed to looking after your child as if they were their own. They need to be compatible with the personality of your child, but they also need to be compatible with your own parenting style – with your attitudes and philosophies around raising your children. This is because your nanny will be spending a significant amount of time performing this role within your family.
The hiring process
Once you’ve established that you need to hire a new nanny, it is vital that you take the time to move through the process, step by step.
- Determine the job specification – Just like any job, it is vital to first determine what the job actually is; what the new employee will be expected to do. This may seem obvious, but one of the biggest mistakes during the nanny hiring process is in making assumptions. We assume that the right person will understand what we mean when we say ‘nanny,’ but nothing could be further from the truth. When we ask people to work inside our home, with our family, it can be easy for expectations of things outside of childcare to fall on that person – and these are the boundaries that must be set, right from the beginning. To determine the job specification, it is important to ask yourself questions about what you will realistically expect the nanny to do. Will the nanny be required to provide stimulating and educational activities? Do they need to drive in order to provide transportation for your child? Crucially, do you expect the nanny to undertake any household cleaning chores? If so, these expectations must be clearly agreed within the household, as part of the job specification. This helps to avoid potentially disruptive misunderstanding and conflict at a later stage.
- Set the salary – When hiring someone to care for your children, you need to attract qualified professionals. The way to do this is by researching the average salary rate for your local area, and for the job in general. Once you have this information, you need to consider the number of hours of work you will require, along with the detail of the job specification. With all of these elements factored in, you should set a realistic salary, with an offer regarding the reclamation of expenses. Setting the right salary not only attracts the right candidate, it also ensures that the right candidate will stay with your family for the longer term, and not leave for a better paid position elsewhere. This minimises disruption for your family, and allows your child to build secure bonds with their carer.
- Write the job advert – It is one thing to agree the job specification and salary within the household, but it is quite another to put it all in writing in a job advertisement. The crucial thing to include in the written job advert is an overview of your family – specifically the types of activities you enjoy and encourage in your children. Do you emphasise art and crafts during your child’s day? Or perhaps sports? Do you spend a lot of time outside, in nature, or are you more comfortable inside? Are your preferences actually a combination of all those things? Do you require a particular combination of professional qualifications and experience? Including this level of detail, along with the job specification and salary details will help to ensure that only those who are likely to be compatible with your family will apply. This avoids wasted time – on your part, and that of the applicants.
- Plan the interview – The point at which an applicant meets you for an interview is arguably the most important part of the hiring process. This is the opportunity to really get to know a candidate, but it requires significant preparation in order to ensure that the limited amount of time available is maximised and used to the best possible effect. It is advisable to spend lots of time beforehand writing a list of questions that are designed to encourage conversation, while also prompting the candidate to provide detailed information about themselves, their attitudes, and their philosophies. This is the time to get your child involved in the process, too. Observing the way an applicant interacts with your child and wider family can be highly informative and important to the decision-making process.
- Create the contract – The contract is the document that will outline the relationship between the nanny and your family in legal terms, so it is important to get it right. It should set out the obligations and responsibilities of all parties involved, including salary and benefits, hours of work, and the limit of expectation regarding the detail of the job.
- Hire a nanny agency – Having undertaken all the preparatory work of determining the job specification, setting the salary, writing the job advert, planning the interview, and creating the contract, it is time to hire a nanny agency. Part of the reason for doing that preparatory work is that it then informs your selection process for the instruction of a nanny agency. There are countless agencies available, so it is necessary to choose the one that is best suited to your needs, and your family. Doing the preparatory work helps you to understand what those requirements are, and the type of organisation that you are looking for.
- Hire a Private Investigation firm – Last, but most certainly not least, you should hire a Private Investigator. Most reputable nanny agencies perform background checks on their nannies as a matter of course, because they understand that ensuring the safety of their clients is good for their business. However, it is important that this not be relied upon as the sole means of professional vetting. There are several reasons for this. Firstly, you are not privy to the standards the nanny agency applies to the results of a background check, and they may not match your own. Secondly, if a nanny has been registered with a nanny agency for some time, the agency may not perform a fresh background check before each placement, meaning that issues may have arisen in the time since their last background check was undertaken. Thirdly, in hiring your own Private Investigator, you not only gain an entirely objective view of the candidate and their background, you also have the option to retain that Private Investigator, or hire them again, to monitor the nanny you ultimately hire while they are performing their duties, for the purpose of gaining further peace of mind.
What do Private Investigators do for families hiring a new nanny?
People applying for jobs are naturally trying to sell themselves as the ideal solution to the needs of the person doing the hiring. While this can be easy to deal with in a corporate situation, it requires a different level of scrutiny when it comes to hiring someone to be closely involved with your family and home. It is absolutely crucial to determine whether or not the applicant is being honest and truthful in their application and in their interview.
A professional and reputable Private Investigation firm, such as OpSec Solutions, will perform a comprehensive background check on the individual in question – confirming all of the details they have included in their application, along with general information that helps to determine whether this is the right person for your family. While conducting a full background check on the candidate, Private Investigators will look at:
- Proof of identity and address
- Employment history
- Education history
- Credit history
- Right to work in the UK
- Driving licence and driving record
- Social media profiles
- Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) check (previously known as a Criminal Records Bureau check)
All of this information is gathered in accordance with the strict ethical and legal guidelines stipulated by the organisations from whom accreditations have been secured, including the Association of British Investigators, the Institute of Professional Investigators, the Professional Investigators Network, and the Information Commissioner’s Office.
Beyond the background check, Private Investigators can provide a further service of monitoring the conduct of your nanny during working hours. This can be completed as covert spot-checks, or discreet surveillance for specific time period. In all cases, the investigation is handled with the utmost confidentiality and sensitivity. Call OpSec Solutions today to discuss the hiring of your new nanny.