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8 Critical Safety Steps to Hiring a Nanny in Your Home

1. Require a Job ApplicationYou may fill silly having a candidate fill out an application to work in your home, but you would be wrong to let that stop you. You can search on the internet to find a s...

1. Require a Job Application
You may fill silly having a candidate fill out an application to work in your home, but you would be wrong to let that stop you. You can search on the internet to find a sample application that includes the candidate's name, address, phone number and a chronological job and educational history. This information helps you positively identify that the person is who they say they are. Be sure to confirm their name and address by looking at a copy of their driver's license or similar photo identification. Be sure the application is signed and dated as well as includes the option to run a background check including drug screening.

2. Analyze their past work history
If significant gaps exist in between jobs, ask the candidate what they were doing during that time. Some people who have gaps in their records that show no work for any extended period of time are hiding something. Chances are you want to know what that is because it might be a prior experience they don't want you to know about, or worse yet, time spent incarcerated.

3. Require Work References
No application is complete without prior references from employers. They should not be friends or family of the applicant. Personally speak to all references and have a list of questions ready. If your candidate can't or will not provide references, walk away.

4. Do a Professional Interview
Many families have little or no practice experience interviewing prospective employees. Go online and search for a list of interview questions for this purpose. You might want to conduct your first interview in a public place; maybe a local coffee shop. This protects you from strangers coming into your home and may allay their fears as well.

5. Let the Candidate do the Talking
Don't make the mistake of talking throughout the interview. You want the applicant to speak as much as possible so you can get a greater amount of information while paying attention to how you feel about the person and their response. Ask them to relate past experiences with critical situations such as how to handle an injured child. Or ask something like, "Tell me about a time when you had to deal with a crying baby. What did you do?"

6. Schedule a Second Working Interview
Once you've chosen someone you think might be good, bring them back into your home so they can meet your children. Allow the applicant to observe your typical family interactions. Watch exactly how they interact with your children. You should get a good sense of whether they are going to handle your kids appropriately from this appointment.

7. Logistical Question for the Candidate
If the prospect is young, find out if she has every lived away from home before. Does her family support her in being a nanny? If she is traveling to work, does she have a reliable car?

8. Always Trust your Instincts.
If your gut says there is something wrong, listen to it. There are plenty of candidates out there and it is always better to be safe. If you see something on the background check that concerns you, don't hire them. If you are interviewing someone from overseas, make sure you can get a background check in their country of origin. Also make sure they have a US work permit. OtherwiseFeature Articles, don't hire them.

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Cathy Taylor is a marketing consultant and freelance writer. She can be reached at

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