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Nanny Reference Questions

A list of nanny reference questions is useful when checking the references of a nanny candidate.  Following is a list of nanny reference questions to ask families who previously employed the nanny:

  • When did the nanny care for your children?
  • What type of care did the nanny provide? (live-in? full-time? part-time? occasional?)
  • Was care provided by the nanny alone or with a stay-at-home parent?
  • What was the nanny’s rate of pay?
  • What were the nanny’s work hours?
  • How many children were under the nanny’s care?  What were their ages?
  • What were the nanny’s responsibilities and daily activities?
  • How did the nanny relate to your children? (Do they remember her, talk about her, keep in touch?)
  • How did the nanny relate to adults? (You, neighbors, family, friends?)
  • Assess the nanny’s ability to help teach a child.  (At what age or grade level might she have difficulty?)
  • How did the nanny handle your child’s illnesses? (Did she administer medication, take the child for doctor’s visits?)
  • Can the nanny handle emergency situations?
  • Were there any injuries to your children under the nanny’s care?
  • Is the nanny neat around the house?
  • Did the nanny do any housekeeping?
  • Is the nanny an honest person?
  • Does the nanny smoke?
  • Does the nanny drink?
  • Have you met any of the nanny’s friends or family? Do they seem like good people?
  • Is the nanny a patient person?
  • How did the nanny handle behavior problems?
  • Did the nanny have any problems with lateness or absences?
  • Did the nanny have any health or other problems that might affect her work as a nanny?
  • How did the nanny spend any downtime at your home?
  • Is the nanny a good and safe driver?
  • Is the nanny committed to being a nanny?  Does the nanny have alternative career plans?
  • Why did the nanny leave your employ?
  • If circumstances were different, would you hire the nanny again?
  • What are the nanny’s strengths?
  • What are the nanny’s weaknesses?
  • Is there anything else you can tell me about the nanny that I may not have asked?

Most families that employ nannies have busy lives and may not have a lot of time to spend on the phone, but do not hesitate to ask a lot of questions.  Past employers of really good nannies are usually happy to provide very positive references with a lot of anecdotal detail.

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Nanny Screening – Personality and Risk Assessments

A new nanny screening tool – nanny personality and risk assessment – is available to nanny services and family employers.  This guest post on nanny personality and risk assessments was written by Yossi Pinkas, the Founder and CEO of TakeCare, a provider of personality and risk assessments for screening nanny and babysitter candidates.

Nanny Personality and Risk Assessments

Nanny personality and risk assessments are psychological tests that help parents assess potential Nannies, Au Pairs or Babysitters. The tests provide a better insight into the caregiver’s personality and traits, as well as an assessment of possible risk factors, and allow parents to select the best possible nanny. Similar tests are used by corporate and government organizations worldwide (including some 80% of the US Fortune 500 companies and 75% of the UK Times 100 companies) as well as by some Nanny, Babysitter and Au Pair agencies and childcare organizations. As a matter of fact, such tests are mandated by the US government for all Au Pair agencies.

Why are such tests needed? Aren’t interviews and checking references sufficient to select a nanny? Most recruitment specialists agree that the validity of interviews is quite low, even when conducted by trained professionals. Most parents are not trained interviewers and are usually lacking the necessary experience to properly formulate interview questions, read between the lines of what the applicant says, interpret non-verbal signs and body language, etc.

A Nanny Personality and Risk Assessment test can be considered as a very detailed and structured interview that overcomes some of the parents’ face-to-face interview limitations.  The test includes several hundred questions, covering all relevant issues, including questions which parents may feel uncomfortable to ask in a face-to-face interview. Personal traits covered may include responsibility, obedience and discipline, self control, emotional stability, coping with pressure, positive attitude and service awareness. Risk assessment issues should include violent behavior, drug abuse, drinking problems, truthful reporting, respect to property and more. In a similar manner to an ordinary interview, online interactive tests of this sort allow different questions to be asked according to prior responses, as well as provide real-time feedback to the applicant triggered by specific answers that are considered problematic.

Yet, the main benefit of the Nanny Personality and Risk Assessment test is in the accuracy of the information provided. A properly constructed and administered test includes various mechanisms which are aimed at identifying misleading and inaccurate responses; the large number of questions (some repeating themselves in different versions), the way those questions are structured (which may sometimes seem peculiar), the time constraints and some additional mechanisms (which won’t be detailed in this article for obvious reasons).

Using a Nanny Personality and Risk assessment by parents may also create certain challenges. Some parents are concerned that the use of such a test may offend an applicant and create a bad impression. While this may be true and certain applicants may even refuse to take such tests, parents should always keep in mind that such tests are a standard procedure for applicants in many business and government organizations, as well as part of the screening process in a number of Nanny and Au Pair agencies. There is really no good reason why parents recruiting a nanny on their own, will not benefit from the use of such assessments. There is no other position as important and as critical as that of a child caregiver. Parents shouldn’t compromise on the screening process and use all possible means to make the best-informed decision. To minimize objections, parents should explain to the nanny about the test, why they feel it is important, and ask her to put herself in their place, facing a similar decision about her own kids.

Another challenge is for parents to avoid using the test results as a single decision factor. Parents should keep in mind that Nanny Personality and Risk assessments do not replace interviews or any other component of the existing caregiver screening process. As any other psychological tool, they are not 100% accurate and should be considered a decision supporting tool and not a decision making tool. When hiring a nanny, parents should always interview applicants, check references and use their intuition, which is as important and useful as any scientific tool.

Nanny Personality and Risk Assessments should be used correctly to ensure test results are valid. The applicant must read fluently the language in which the test is administered. Applicants who are not fluent in the test language should not be tested. Tests are also designed for a specific purpose. For example, a test designed to assess applicants for a job should not be used for self-test purposes, such as by someone who wishes to check if he is suitable for a certain position or occupation.

Designed and used correctly, Nanny Personality and Risk assessments are invaluable for parents who are looking for a nanny for their child, and should become a standard component of the screening process of any childcare provider.

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Los Angeles Nanny Service Helps on Moving Day

Los Angeles nanny service Nanny Poppinz has partnered with NorthStar Moving, a Los Angeles-based moving service, to provide childcare for busy families on moving day.

The moving package–with nanny care included–has been nicknamed “The Angelina.”  According to NorthStar Moving, clients’ children will be “under the watchful eye of a modern day Mary ‘Poppinz,’ freeing up mom and dad to focus on moving and/or saving the world.”

Nanny Poppinz is a national provider of nanny services based in Naples, Florida.  Nanny Poppinz has 35 nanny franchises nationwide including Nanny Poppinz of Orange County South California, based in Mission Viejo, which serves the greater Los Angeles area.

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