>> Jan 7, 2013
When you are looking for a nanny or caregiver for your children or elderly relatives you know it is important to find the right one. But how do you do that? How do you know who the right one is? What do you look for? While every family is different and has different needs, there are a few qualities that all families should look for in a caregiver. Those are:
1. Knowledgeable –One of the first things you should look for in a caregiver is their knowledge. Do they know what to do in the job? You certainly do not want to hire someone who does not know what they are doing. Try to ask pointed questions about their history and experience. Give them example situations and ask them how they would deal with it. Often times you can get a good grasp of their knowledge and attitude by their responses to your questions. If they seem impatient, annoyed or puzzled then they might not be the right fit for you.
2. Experienced – Part of knowledge is experience. What children or elderly have they cared for before? How long did they work for them? Do they have any other relevant experience such as volunteering? Many times experience is more than just jobs held. Perhaps they have children of their own or have cared for a relative in similar circumstances. Do not dismiss a possible fit just because they have not had a job in the same field. However you do not want to hire someone who does not know what they are getting into either.
3. References –Whenever you ask about a candidate’s past experience you should also ask for references. You should get at least two or three previous employers names and numbers and check with them. Ask them about their experience with the candidate and what issues might have come up. Try to keep things light and positive, but watch for warning signs. Always ask if they would be willing to hire the person again. If they pause, try to find out why. It could be a sign of bigger problems.
4. Caring –If you are looking for a caregiver, for children or the elderly, then they should be caring! This attitude will be apparent during the interview. Do they show interest in the children? Do they seem genuine and helpful? Do they ask questions about their possible charges or is everything focused on them? A good caregiver will be caring and unselfish.
5. Patient –A good caregiver will also be patient. If the candidate seems impatient or in a hurry during the interview then you can be they will be the same way when trying to help the elderly get dressed or waiting for a child to finish their meal. You do not want someone who is always in a rush. Instead, hire someone who takes their time and does things right, with a caring attitude no matter how long it takes. It takes a special kind of person to do this, but that is what you need to find in a caregiver or nanny.
6. Responsible – You are trusting your nanny or caregiver with the life of your children or elderly relative. That is a very important position. Therefor the caregiver should be a responsible person. They should be able to deal with situations as they arise in a trustworthy manner. You should try to make sure that the person you hire has a strong sense of responsibility and will be able to function in a largely unsupervised environment.
7. Safe – Background checks are very important for any potential hire. You want to make sure that the candidate has no criminal history or even a history of repeated car accidents or driving violations. These could be signs of a bigger problem. A history of violence, theft or drug abuse is also a big red flag. It does not cost much to run a background check and it is well worth your time and effort. Do not trust free background checks or ones that come back within a few minutes. Those are not reliable and do not give you the whole story. Instead, invest wisely in a paid background check and make sure that you get the whole picture.
8. Intelligent –Another important thing to look for in a caregiver is intelligence. Not only are you hiring the nanny to watch over your children but they should also be able to help them to learn basic life skills like reading, writing or help with homework. The caregiver should also be bright enough to keep track of any medications, know the warning signs of illness, and know what actions to take in an emergency.
9. Good Language Skills –You need to be able to communicate clearly with whoever you hire. They should have good language skills and the ability to read or write to communicate with you. They should also be able to follow simple instructions such as mediation times and driving directions. The easiest way to determine language skills beyond just talking to a potential hire is to have them fill out a form or test with you. That way you can assess their skills without difficulty.
10. Transportation – Last but not least is transportation. How will they get to your home? Will they live with you? Do they have their own vehicle or means of transportation that is reliable? Do they expect you to supply them with a vehicle for transporting the children or elderly? If so, do they have a valid driver’s license? All these questions need to be addressed before hiring.
These are just a few of the things you should look for when looking to hire a nanny or caregiver for your family. Though different families have different needs, we all share some needs in common. Find the caregiver that fits with your family and that you feel comfortable with. Hopefully they will be a round for a long time.
Jack Meyers is a regular contributor for www.nannybackgroundcheck.com. As a detective he wants to spread the knowledge of terrible things that can happen when people don’t fully verify the credentials of a caregiver or any employee. He also writes for various law enforcement blogs and sites.