Most of the time, if an applicant lies when trying to land a job, it’s relatively risk-free: “My biggest weakness is that I care too much.” “I graduated from Cornell with honors!” When interviewing a nanny, however, a little lie or equivocation could have dire consequences for your kids. And the dangers are magnified if your nanny will be taking care of an infant, who can’t report back to you at the end of your workday.
Obviously, you should always contact references and run a background check on applicants before hiring them. Those steps, however, still may not uncover a potential employee’s bad habits or past undesirable activity.
Some warning signs to look for on a nanny’s resume include many jobs of short duration, unexplained gaps in work history, or an unusual number of moves among different cities. Beware of an applicant who will not provide a home phone number, driver’s license and Social Security number, or who refuses to sign a release form for a background check.
Interview potential nannies more than once, and have your children present. Watch how she interacts with your kids. Does she seem at ease or uncomfortable? Even more telling may be how your children react to this person who’s potentially going to be spending an awful lot of time with them while you’re out of the house.
In the interview process, you may ask sensitive questions that a potential employee won’t answer honestly. These questions, however embarrassing they may be, are important to ask of a person you’re allowing into your home unsupervised.
Here are the top 10 things your nanny won’t tell you in an interview:
1. I had an affair with my last employer’s husband.
2. I like to snoop through your belongings.
3. I’m not authorized to work in the U.S.
4. I stole from a former employer.
5. I lose my temper easily and physically threaten your kids.
6. To avoid conflict, I let your kids eat/watch whatever they want.
7. I believe spanking is the best form of discipline.
8. My references are all from members of my family.
9. I don’t really have CPR and First Aid training.
10. I have a sealed juvenile criminal record.
If you’re suspicious about your babysitter’s behavior, or you notice a change in your child’s demeanor, consider installing one or more nanny cams in your home. Every state in the U.S. legally allows you to secretly record video footage of what goes on in your personal residence, as long as no sound is recorded — and as long as you don’t place the camera in an area where your nanny can have a reasonable expectation of privacy, like a bathroom.
These affordable, hidden mini-cameras capture video recordings of activity in your home, either continuously or by motion activation. Some models also enable live remote monitoring on a PC or smartphone.
The bottom line simple: You have a right to know what really happens when you’re away.