How old is she? Can you send pictures? These are the ONLY two questions that we were asked recently after referring highly qualified potential nanny candidates to a family. These are not uncommon inquiries but also not the most useful ones a parent could ask.
Another (legal) version of the first question could be: Can she physically do my job? We have a lot of steps. We have three active kids. Can she kick a soccer ball with my son/daughter? I’ve already written the ageism blog (See: Don’t Be So Quick To Dismiss) There are very peppy, active people over the age of 30. Even over the age 50!
The second request is the one that really gets us. Hiring a nanny is not like finding your true love on Match.com, OkCupid, or eHarmony or a hook up on Tinder. While I often refer to the hiring process as a little like dating and clearly think that chemistry is an important element in finding the right person, how a person looks should not determine whom you interview for a nanny position. Here’s where the internet has made all those EEOC laws fuzzy. On online list serves, nannies are posting their own pictures. Agencies like WHN would be the posters and that’s where we are not clear on the anti-discrimination laws.
In the following scenario, you can guess who gets the immediate interview: Susie from the Heartland, Maria from El Salvador, Genet from Ethiopia, etc. In an instant, Susie is booked despite only having 3 years of babysitting experience as opposed to Maria’s 10 years as a nanny, and Genet’s 5 years. The adorable nanny from California that was hired from Care.com and subsequently arrested on abuse charges was quite adorable—if you were judging from her photo. She looked like the girl next door. In all my years of business, the only person whose background check revealed a felony charge was a blue eyed blond from Utah. Her employer brought her to my office because she didn’t need her anymore. Clearly, this mother had no idea she had a felon taking care of her kids.
The point is great nannies are from everywhere and come in all shapes and sizes and ages. They should be judged on the following: their experience, references, work history, personality and finally their chemistry with your family. You will see the real beauty in your nanny as your children thrive under her care.