Misleading Nanny Web Site Ads
What separates a nanny placement agency from a nanny web site is that nanny placement agencies screen job applicants for the parents prior to sending caregivers on a job interview.
Yesterday we started a discussion about misleading nanny web site advertising. Some nanny web site advertisements claim that their site lists pre-screened nanny candidates.
But, nanny industry experts clearly note that no nanny web site can pre-screen their job applicants.
Nettie Weber, owner of Perfect Match Nannies & Sitters in Wisconsin explains, "Nannies and parents using online sites to locate nannies and sitters are generally under a false truth and very mislead that the candidates have been properly vetted."
Ms. Weber says, "If they only had read the fine print of their online search site they would see what their $9.99 background check gets them, or rather, doesn't get them."
"It's unfortunate both that some online listing services aren't more forthright about their so called 'screening processes,' and that many families put background screening at the very bottom of their 'must do' list when hiring. Unfortunately, in most cases, you get what you pay for concerning this topic," says Ms. Weber.
Most nanny web sites clearly state that they do not pre-screen the nanny candidates and do not falsely advertise that they do so.
One such reputable site is 4nannies.com, a nationwide nanny referral web site that includes the nanny background check in their membership. Yet, Kathy Webb, the owner of 4Nannies.com, 4nannytaxes.com, and HomeWork Solutions in Potomac Falls, Virginia says, "The family and the nanny need to know that they are the ones responsible for their own due diligence when seeking a match. We go to considerable lengths (to our financial detriment I might add) to make sure everyone understands that."
In fact, the 4Nannies.com web site states, "You must interview, reference check, and order the background check -- we provide you all the tools. No nanny job sites pre-screen the nanny for you!"
Steve Lampert, owner of eNannySource.com also tries to educate parents how to properly screen nannies. He says, "This is an area of passion for me and my goal is to attempt to educate families and nannies about proper Internet hiring."
Mr. Lampert explains, "At eNannySource we offer families the tools needed to screen candidates and don’t imply or state in any way that we pre-screen and in fact work hard to make our screening tools available to families."
The nanny web site owner says, "Even when a family uses a full-service agency that professionally screens the candidates, it is still the family’s responsibility to thoroughly interview and reference check anyone they are considering hiring. It’s puzzling to me that people are so skeptical (and rightfully so) about anything that comes from the Internet and take many precautions, but yet when it comes to their children and home they sometimes hire with what seems like a blind eye."
Deborah Smith, President of Parents With Nannies, Inc. and of NannyClassifieds.com a nationwide nanny web site, says this is one of her biggest pet-peeves of sites that purposely mislead parents and nannies. She says, "We make it very clear to families that we do not pre-screen nannies. We do not want families assuming the nannies have been screened."
Ms. Smith continues, "It is virtually impossible for any online service to reliably pre-screen candidates. This is why nanny agencies get $2000 and more for nanny placements. It is why I named my site NannyClassifieds.com . I did not want any families to be confused as to what and how we operate."
"We offer thorough background checks through a reliable company that cost between $89 and $129 depending on which state the nanny resides," says Ms. Smith.
Candi Wingate of Nannies4hire.com and Care4hire.com says, "Nannies4hire.com and Care4hire.com do not pre-screen the nannies or caregivers, but give members the tools and resources they will need to do the screening they require."
Monta Fleming, President and Founder of GoNannies, Inc. also candidly states, "We do not conduct background checks directly. Since we're not a placement agency, we offer families the ability to order and run background checks through our site."
Ms. Fleming explains, "We recommend to families that they run our full background checks on any final candidate they are considering hiring to work in their home."
Despite the fact that nanny web sites do not perform any screening of job applicants and should not advertise as such, it is appropriate for reputable nanny placement agencies to advertise that they pre-screen nannies.
Reputable nanny placement agencies have extensive applications, personally conduct phone and when possible in-person interviews, and finally conduct background checks on the nanny job candidates. In fact, this thorough process is what separates a nanny placement agency from a nanny web site.
Most nanny placement agencies cannot afford to actually pay for the pricey background check prior to sending applicants on interviews, but they do extensive pre-screening of the nanny candidates.
In fact, Pat Cascio, owner of Morningside Nannies in Houston, Texas explains, "It is my understanding that the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) says that the pre-employment criminal check should not be done until the person has been offered employment pending their background report," says Ms. Cascio.
Susan Tokayer, co-president of the International Nanny Association and owner of Family Helpers in Dobbs Ferry, New York agrees. Ms. Tokayer explains, "Our clients know that the background check is not performed until a candidate is offered a position."
"But, we do extensive screening before sending job candidates on interviews with parents," says Ms. Tokayer.
Ms. Cascio says that pre-screening nanny candidates includes finding out all information needed to make a great placement for the family and job seeker. Pre-screening nanny candidates requires the caregiver to complete an application for employment, be personally interviewed by nanny agency staff, and have all references verified to ensure the individual has professional childcare related work experience.
Ms. Cascio says, "Nanny placement agencies must assess the nanny's skills and ability to handle the job requirements before ever sending the job applicant on job interviews."
Annie Davis, President of the Association of Premier Nanny Agencies and owner of Annie's Nannies Household Staffing says, "We conduct the background check before the nanny candidate interviews with the potential family."
We are still awaiting replies from some nanny web sites. One nanny web site says they will provide us with their screening process. So, we will continue this discussion as it progresses.
Tomorrow we will post the International Nanny Association's recommended practices for background screenings that nanny agencies and parents may conduct.