Trusting Your Nanny Goes Beyond a Background Check

A common mistake we see from families is, after speaking with or meeting a nanny candidate and feeling like she is a match, they feel that running a background check is enough to establish trust. As we have seen in horrific incidents like what happened recently in Livermore, this is not a thorough enough process. See the article in the Sacramento Bee.

My name is Jennifer, and I am the head recruiter here at Stanford Park Nannies. As a recruiter on the front lines in the childcare industry, I am continually faced with the question of trust. During my first phone call with a candidate, I need to ask the right questions and determine eligibility in just a matter of minutes. I have learned what to look for in terms of trusting candidates. In fact, most families are shocked to hear that running a criminal background check is one of the very last steps in our lengthy vetting process. It is an important step for obvious reasons, but let me take you deeper than a background check, into what I believe establishes trust.

In addition to checking the legitimacy of a candidate’s experience, you also need to understand who this person is. To us, this means not only speaking to all references, but also asking questions that help us understand her character. “Checking references” for us does not just entail an in-depth conversation with all of the candidate’s previous employers. Checking a reference also means verifying and exploring who that reference is, so that we understand the context and authenticity of their opinions and comments.

I understand why busy parents speed through (or sometimes skip altogether) steps in the vetting process. I understand how incredibly time consuming it is and how much diligence it requires. At the end of the day, you’re trying to find the person who will care for your children unsupervised—you need to be sure that you can absolutely trust this person’s character. Our process takes 8 to 12 hours per candidate, from start to finish, and we know how intense that is! However, I don’t have a flight to catch for a business trip like you do. I don’t have children to pick up from school, or dinner to prepare. My sole responsibility here, 8 hours a day, 40 hours a week, is to make sure the nannies we represent are worthy of your trust and ours.

I’d like to take a moment to share my February experience with you, because it’s one for the books! I made my daily phone calls to applicants and brought in a small percentage of them to interview with the agency owners. After a successful interview, Daryl and Maggie handed the files over to the SPN team to begin our research. While processing these files, we found an unusually high amount of discrepancies. In fact, we found that an outrageous 50% of new candidates interviewed in February had misrepresented themselves and/or their work history. 

Although the candidates in question probably didn’t have any kind of “criminal record,” can you really trust their judgment alone and unsupervised, in your home, with your children? This is how we work at SPN (and how I highly suggest you work in your home): fake references and/or embellished work history demonstrate a lack of integrity, as does signing our application stating it is “true, accurate, complete, and correct.” A lack of integrity and good moral character demonstrates the inability to be trusted—with or without a criminal background check. Boy, am I glad February is a short month!

I get completely invested in these candidates—I understand how badly you want to trust them. I am hard to please; if I bring a candidate in to meet with an owner, it typically means I have a lot of faith in them making it through our process! If I had gone by first impression, overall demeanor, and the agency owners’ successful interviews, then we wouldn’t have seen the true colors of those applicants. We shudder at the thought of making this discovery on a nanny cam, like we witnessed in Livermore.

As you search on the front lines for the right nanny to care for your children and your family, I implore you to do your homework. Yes, acknowledge your connection with a candidate, and of course, run a background check. Just don’t forget to also invest the necessary time in figuring out if this person deserves your trust, because as you pull out of the driveway and leave for work, trust is all you have.

Stanford Park Nannies
June 14, 2016
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Stanford Park Nannies
June 14, 2016
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“I would like to thank the whole team at SPN for all you guys do. In this midst of the heartbreak and hardships the COVID-19 crisis has imposed on our neighbors, our families, and our friends, I am also inspired and deeply moved by the compassion, resiliency, and the human spirit of the  SPN team. Thank you for being there with us. We are here for you.”

Jessica P.

"I would rate Stanford Park Nannies very highly! They provide a great flow of very qualified candidates, who are all prepared to pay taxes. They have a great vetting process and did not waste our time with those that weren’t a fit. In addition to our full-time search, they had the ability to quickly identify relevant interim/temp nannies as well!"

Jaime B.

"SPN is a powerhouse agency of incredible women who embody experience, passion, and a heart for service!"

Jamie H.

"SPN provides you with a current understanding of what should be expected of nannies and employers and they empower you by coaching you through it all. When I started to interview with families, they gave me great feedback—it felt like I had my own personal interviewing cheerleaders!"

Tara G.