For the past week we have been discussing that parents must screen caregivers themselves when using nanny web sites to hire in-home childcare providers. Nannies should check the backgrounds of the parents before accepting a new job as well.
When you apply for a nanny position, you should expect a background check will be conducted by the nanny placement agencies and parents before you are hired.
As a nanny you are not responsible for the cost of the background investigations. Nanny placement agencies usually charge their clients (parents) to pay for the background checks.
Parents and employment agencies typically perform criminal checks ($50); motor vehicle check ($30); social security scan ($40); education history ($30); and past employment check. Although performing credit checks for nanny candidates is controversial, credit reports can alert employers to fraudulent addresses, numbers, employment history, and assumed names.
Nanny placement agencies and parents will need your permission before checking your credit and it may cost about $25 to check credit. A few agencies and parents may also require a drug test.
Parents should also consider contacting the your references directly rather than just letting placement agencies talk to your references.
You can also check the backgrounds of parents. At the very least you should do a google search of the parents’ names.
You may also be interested in any civil litigation involving potential employers ($50).
For example, you want to know if the father has been sued for sexual harassment, if the parents have ever been sued by a former nanny, if a parent has filed a restraining order against the other, and if they have filed divorce in the past and then decided not to divorce. All of these issues are matters of public record and can be found in civil court files.
At the very least always be sure to ask the parents for caregiver references.
Some questions you might ask include:
1. "Why did your former nanny leave the job?"
2. "Would you mind if I asked your former nanny some questions about working for your family?"
3. "Who can I contact about character references about your family?"
Have you ever checked the background of the parents you worked for? How have you checked their background? What questions should other nannies ask the parents to screen potential employers?