When you’re looking for a nanny, the best nanny agencies can be very helpful to parents throughout their search.  Good ones can provide an extra layer of guidance, screening, vetting, and background/reference checking –  not to mention handling the logistics of arranging all your interviews, trials and contract negotiations.  A great agency however, has a little “extra oomph” that can be critical in finding the ideal match.  When you finally decide to start looking for a nanny (and if you’re even considering the idea of hiring a nanny agency, I suggest asking them lots of questions.

Here are the top 3 questions to ask your nanny placement agency  

  1. Who are the employees that are actually doing the matching and what are their backgrounds? Is the staff comprised of fellow working parents who can empathize with your specific needs, understand your requirements, and really assist you with the intangibles of a search? Have they “felt the pain” of having to call out “sick” from work to deal with a childcare situation gone bad?  Or is it a group of young business people with a slick internet-based matching engine that’s looking to “robo-match” nannies to families without a particularly keen focus on the durability and appropriateness of the match?  This is an important consideration….would you hire a personal trainer who has never set foot in a gym for themselves and instead spends all day smoking cigarettes outside, infront of the building?
  2. Which of your team members will be doing my nanny screening? Do you have any therapists, experienced recruiters, or educators on staff who understand how to really screen candidates based on their emotional capabilities and understanding of the various developmental needs of children at the ages specific to your search?   Do they really know how to interview the nannies like a trained therapist would ask you questions during a session?  This too, is an important question.  You want the people who are screening and interviewing the caregivers who will be in YOUR home with YOUR children to know what the heck they’re talking about and to be “on the ball” when it comes to ensuring the safety and well-being of your children is their top priority.
  3. How much time will your team spend with me? The nanny-family match is mutual it only works when both nanny and family are happy which requires a lot of “hand-holding” (for both nanny and family) throughout the process as things fall into place. This takes time…and anyone who tells you “this can be wrapped up in a week” is selling you a bill of goods that isn’t real.  Sure, occasionally things just fall into place right out of the gates, but these things usually take 2-4 weeks at least.  How long did it find you to find your apartment?  How long did it take you to choose a name for your baby?  Don’t you think that choosing a person to care for your child should require some considerable thought?

Using these three questions will allow greater insight into what the best nanny agencies can really do for you.  Before you choose one, make sure you ask them!