our everyday life

How to Find Nanny or Housekeeper You Can Trust

by Kathryn Hatter, studioD

Domestic help might be a necessity if you juggle professional and family responsibilities. A nanny or housekeeper on board can provide important and reliable services to help you care for your children and oversee household management. As you survey your hiring options for domestic help, one of your most important considerations will be finding a trustworthy nanny or housekeeper with a solid employment history and desirable qualifications.

Define your expectations for the position you wish to fill in your household to enable you to create a job description. For example, if you want to hire a nanny, write a list of the duties and responsibilities of the position. Your list might include meal preparation, serving meals, supervising homework, transporting children to and from school and extracurricular activities, laundry and light housekeeping. For hiring a housekeeper, make a detailed list of all household chores and responsibilities you will delegate to the housekeeper. Decide the number of weekly hours, working hours each day, days per week, rate of pay and vacation time you will offer.

Place a specific advertisement to find candidates for the position. By adding specific details to the ad about the position and the person you wish to hire, you eliminate many calls you might receive from undesirable applicants, advise Susan Carlton and Coco Myers, authors of “The Nanny Book." You might place ads in your local newspaper, on Internet websites or on bulletin boards. Consider contacting an employment agency to find leads for candidates you might hire.

Require specific information from anyone you consider hiring, advises the Dr. Phil website. Ask to see a birth certificate, driver’s license, Social Security or Individual Taxpayer Identification number, contact information, professional references with contact information for past three years, personal character references with contact information, proof of CPR certification and proof of physical exam within the last two years.

Verify the validity of all information you receive from applicants. Check contact information to ensure it is current. Contact all professional and personal references to inquire about past job performance, asking specific questions about positions held, any problems that occurred and overall satisfaction with the applicant’s work.

Conduct a thorough interview with any applicant you consider hiring. Inquire about childrearing philosophies to ensure the applicant’s beliefs and values complement your own. Present “what if” scenarios that could occur on the job to find out how the applicant would respond. Take notes during the interview so you can review information later as you make a hiring decision.

Perform a background check on any applicant you seriously consider hiring. Use Internet search engines to search for information on an applicant using first and last name. Search social media websites for information on applicants. Purchase criminal checks on websites such as CriminalSearches.com and SearchSystems.net, advise writers at PCWorld.

Schedule a follow-up interview that includes your children with an applicant you are seriously considering hiring. Observe the interaction between the applicant and your kids. Note whether the applicant’s demeanor and approach with your children seems genuine and positive. Watch your children -- kids often have an innate perception with adults, making them able to spot someone without genuine affection for children. If your children feel uncomfortable or seem put off by an applicant, heed the warning and reject that applicant.

Hire a nanny or housekeeper on a trial basis to determine whether or not the applicant is a positive fit with your family, suggests Ilona Bray J.D., author of “Nannies & Au Pairs.” Choose a short period, such as two days or a week, and tell the applicant that you would like to start with this period to ensure that styles and personalities mesh. Consider using a “nanny cam” in your home during the trial period to enable you to watch interactions and work styles.


  • Avoid an applicant with gaps in work history or a series of short-term jobs or one that seems to move frequently. Avoid an applicant who seems overqualified or one that seems too eager for a position.

About the Author

Kathryn Hatter is a veteran home-school educator, as well as an accomplished gardener, quilter, crocheter, cook, decorator and digital graphics creator. As a regular contributor to Natural News, many of Hatter's Internet publications focus on natural health and parenting. Hatter has also had publication on home improvement websites such as Redbeacon.

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