Online Nanny Finder Sites: What Every Parent Needs to Know
With an increase in popularity in “nanny finder” websites many families are using the power of the internet to find their next nanny or sitter. Especially when affordability is a primary factor, forgoing an agency and going online can be very tempting. And while some families have had success finding quality child care providers online, parents must also be aware of some of the potential dangers that exist when this method is used. Here are a few things to consider:
#1: There is absolutely a false sense of security. Buyer beware when you find online sites that boast “background checked” nannies. There is a major distinction between computerized background checks and a comprehensive background investigation done by a licensed private detective. We know from experience that a basic background check can be dangerously ineffective. We have seen nannies who have passed a popular online site’s background check and fail ours miserably. A background check is also just a small piece of the vetting process. An extensive in-person interview is a must. It is critical to also conduct thorough reference checks with former family employers or supervisors in a day care facility. References should be professional not personal and you should be aware of some of the red flags for “fake” references. Documentation verification is important and a drug test is another important deterrent. The bottom line is- online sites are extremely limited in terms of how they screen the candidates in their database. Anyone, and we mean anyone, can create a profile online. Any good nanny should be more than willing to be put through the ringer before being hired. It is common for nannies to respond to our online job postings only to disappear when they find out that we are an agency. Now why would that be? We don’t charge our nannies. The fact is, there is an added layer of scrutiny and accountability and some candidates are more comfortable flying under the radar. Red flag.
#2: Make sure you’re comparing apples to apples. We sometimes hear parents say they are going to find nannies independently rather than using our team of agency-employed nannies because it’s cheaper. Well, we hate to say it, but you really do get what you pay for. When you are a member of our Flex Division, you will have access to our entire team of fully-screened, agency-employed nannies and sitters. You don’t have to have cash on hand to pay the nanny directly for the service. You will be able to keep a credit card on file with us and we charge you automatically for the services you use- while you’re earning your frequent flier miles or other credit card rewards! The best part is, we pay the nanny and handle her taxes and giving the nanny a W2 at the end of the year. Did you know this is something you would be legally responsible for if you hired a nanny on your own? Something to think about! Plus, our nannies are all covered under our extensive liability insurance policy. What protection or recourse do you have if something goes wrong and you are working without an agency? When you have problems with your nanny or sitter, who will you have to turn to?
#3: Have a back-up plan. What happens when the nanny you have hired becomes sick, unable to work or leaves without proper notice altogether? It can be a disaster for parents to have to start the process all over again in the middle of a crazy work week or find a last-minute replacement. Most agencies have some sort of replacement guarantee for the nanny they refer and usually will help find a replacement free-of-charge if the relationship ends prematurely within the guarantee period. Most agencies like ours also offers a temp sitter service for last-minute care needs. If your nanny becomes sick or temporarily unavailable, with our Flex Membership you can rely on having a fully-screened, exceptional back-up nanny if needed.
#4: Finding a nanny is only half of the battle. Once you make it through the finding stage, the interviews and the selection process, it is critical that you protect your investment in time and energy by securing your nanny with a Work Agreement. This is undoubtedly the most important thing you can do to ensure a successful arrangement with your nanny. Yet a lot of families fail to have a work agreement in place. An agency can act as a knowledgeable third-party regarding what a contract should include and helps educate both parties. Household employment law is certainly nuanced and changes often. A good agency should be able to provide you with information on industry standards and current laws surrounding employing a nanny, taxes, etc. or at least be able to refer you to experts in those areas.
#5. Your time is valuable. How much money are you really saving anyway? Don’t underestimate the value of your time and sanity. One of the best things about working with a reputable agency is that most of the work is done for you. What any parent who hasn’t tried to find a nanny on their own doesn’t realize is that going online can be overwhelming and can zap already busy parents of their time and energy. A large quantity of candidates does not mean a plethora of quality candidates. One could easily spend hours upon hours of sifting through profiles and emailing potential candidates only to find that Emily G. isn’t really looking for a job anymore but just hasn’t taken down her profile, Mary M. wants to take five kids to work with her, Nancy Q. seemed interested and then you never hear from her again, etc. Then once you enter the interview phase, a whole new nightmare begins. Believe us, we have met and interviewed thousands of nannies. And boy, do we have stories to tell! Trusting Connections has a laundry list of requirements for hire. Less than 1 of every 8 candidates is deemed a good fit for our agency. We do the leg work and narrow it down to only the best candidates so you don’t waste your time sorting through endless profiles or interviewing people that are unqualified or unable to meet your needs.
Bottom line: Families generally do not have the resources or expertise necessary to effectively screen candidates and an experienced and reputable agency offer so many more services and conveniences. If you do choose to use an online site and find a nanny on your own, make sure you conduct your own thorough screening process. Our agency offers all of our screening services a la carte and we also offer complimentary consultations for families seeking more information about staying safe during their own search for their next nanny.