Monday, December 24, 2007

Preventing Potential Disaster: Collaborating with Your Nanny Agency

Armed with your family’s needs list and job description it’s time to approach your nanny agency. There are many benefits of utilizing an agency to find your family’s new nanny.

First and foremost, an agency, especially one that is a member of an industry association such as the International Nanny Association, is made up of professionals well-versed in this process. This piece in and in itself is invaluable. Often nanny agencies have been started by former nannies who know the industry inside and out. Hiring a nanny agency saves you significant time and effort by prescreening applicants. They meet with prospective applicants in person, review resumes, help the nanny narrow down what they need and want, all in the best interest of helping you to find the right match! They complete background checks, gather pertinent information such as driving records, TB test results, and reference checks. They can also provide you with tax and payroll information as well as resources to provide ongoing support once you have found the right nanny.

The prescreening process also means you won’t be inundated with resumes. A good nanny agency only sends you the most appropriate applicants for your family, not a copy of every resume they receive. Once you receive resumes of potential applicants from the agency, you will spend some time reviewing those resumes to decide whom you think is appropriate for your family to interview. Your nanny agency will be available during this time to discuss the details of these potential applicants as well.

The interview process is one that can bring up a lot of feelings. As a parent you want so much to find the right nanny for your child, however, these feelings, if not identified and addressed, could inhibit you from finding the right person. You may be feeling fearful about having someone else care for your newborn, or you may be overwhelmed at the thought of using alternative resources to help you find your nanny. Due to your family’s schedule, you may feel pressed to go with the first applicant you interview. Or your family may still be recovering from the departure of your last nanny. These are all common experiences that if not properly addressed, may effect your ability to find the right nanny for your family.

As The Nanny Doctor – both a licensed clinical psychologist and former nanny of 10 years – I cannot stress enough the importance of developing your family’s needs list and job description. These two documents will guide both you and your nanny agency through the interview process. Your agency will be better equipped to identify potential applicants, and you will be much more aware of what your family needs.

After you narrow down the potential applicants, your nanny agency will take steps to set up interviews for you with the applicants in your home. It is incredibly important that you prepare for these interviews. I know it’s tough when you have a baby to feed and kindergartner to drop off and a house to run, but the time spent preparing for the interview can be priceless. That time spent screening out potential problematic applicants will save you time down the road. If you can, find time at night after the children are in bed to review your interview questions. If you don’t have time, I recommend you seek out help from a professional who is knowledgeable of this step. Failing to ask the right interview questions could result in a failed match. All to often I see families who become engaged in conflict with their nanny over an issue that could have easily been avoided if only it had been asked about during the interview.

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Linda Rivadeneyra, MFT said...


Given the information you have provided on the usefulness of Nanny agencies, I will recommend them to my clients with children. Are there reviews on Nanny agencies so that parents can obtain information about specific agencies? Also, what kind of price can a family expect to pay for a live in nanny versus not a live-in?

Linda Rivadeneyra, MFT

The Nanny Doctor said...

I wish their were reviews on agencies! Unfortunately, you have to utilize word-of-mouth reputation most of the time. However, you can also look to see if the agency belongs to any professional organizations such as the International Nanny Association and the Association of Premier Nanny Agencies.

The price of a live-in vs. a live-out varies according to region and responsibilities. You can consult with your local nanny agency to get a good idea of what you should expect to pay for your circumstance.

Lindsay Heller, Psy.D.

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