Hiring Without Performing Background Checks? Bad Idea

hiring without performing background checksThe old adage, better to be safe than sorry, cannot be more true when it comes to using sources to hire an employee for your home. The media is rife with stories on the dangers faced when household employees are hired without performing background checks. Even more stories are bandied about the household help community by word of mouth. The dangers of hiring without background checks being performed range from theft to physical harm. All of which may be avoided by thoroughly checking an employment candidate’s background.

In early 2013, a nanny from Ireland was accused of killing the one-year-old Cambridge, MA girl in her care from physical trauma much like shaken baby syndrome. A simple background check would have showed orders of protection against her and a violent past. (While the nanny spent two years in jail, the Massachusetts state medical officer in 2016 reversed the medical decision in this case as well as two others dealing with shaken baby syndrome, resulting in the nanny being immediately deported to Ireland. The case remains in the news as 1,800 medical pediatricians petitioned the Massachusetts governor in 2016 to review the state medical officer’s controversial decision.) (The Boston Globe, WCRB)

A mother, who wrote a 2015 parenting.com article, details why a background check could have saved her family from a dangerous situation. The mom admitted she did not perform a background check when she hired her nanny via Craigslist. “Had we done a simple search,” she wrote, “we would have uncovered her [the nanny’s] history of passing bad checks and a string of arrests from her early 20s. But we didn’t, and we got burned—bad.” The nanny also worked as a restaurant hostess, a job the nanny did not disclose to her household employer, and also created a website featuring poses in various states of undress. The nanny stole credit card information from restaurant patrons and ended up in jail.

Household employers must be sure to be thorough in their checks. Employers who relied on a national agency to perform background checks are finding its checks were insufficient—and have paid dearly. In 2014, A California nanny who had been hired online physically abused the twins she was charged with caring. In 2013, a greater Boston area nanny—a notorious thief with dozens of larceny and fraud charges and who served jail time—stole some $280,000 from her employer’s checking account. And, in Chicago in 2013, a three-year-old child died from a fractured skull while in the care of a nanny with previous legal run-ins and a 2010 DUI conviction.

The importance of background checks—and the increase of parents asking for background checks on their nannies—markedly increased after a nanny stabbed two New York City children to death and then tried to kill herself. This horrific 2012 Upper West Side murder opened parents’ eyes to the dangers of ignoring background checks. As with any hire, it is wise to treat every source for finding a nanny or other household help with caution and use common sense throughout the process. Each hire should not involve any short cuts.

A New England Nanny performs rigorous, thorough screenings of all our applicants, ensuring peace of mind for any family that hires through us. Learn more about our background checks, and contact us at (518) 348-0400 for more information.

Hiring a Nanny: the Family Interaction Test

family interaction testThere are many concerns to consider when you are involved in hiring a nanny or other household employee, as well as many legalities to abide by to ensure equitable and fair employment opportunities. By taking the hiring process one step at a time, you can proceed with well-planned and well-researched employment offers.

After you have conducted phone and/or in-person interviews, and you have finally decided in your own mind which are the best candidates, make sure you let them meet the family members they will be looking after. If this is a nanny, you can tell a lot from how she interacts with your child. You should be there to watch and to facilitate the interaction, but you should also move to another room and eavesdrop on the conversation and actions of the nanny and the child. You want there to be warmth between the caregiver and the child, you want them to have fun, you want the candidate to be polite, caring, and professional. The child should feel safe and happy in their care. If you are comfortable with the idea, you can also arrange another interview time to give a trial run of the nanny on their own and then gently ask the child their opinion and whether they enjoyed being with the nanny and liked her.

The same process can apply to hiring a senior care worker. Observe how the candidate and the senior get along, see if they carry on friendly conversations, and determine, as with a nanny, if they are caring, professional, and sincere. Ask your elderly loved one later how comfortable they felt with the caregiver, and see if they would enjoy spending time with him/her.

You could choose not to pay for this as part of the interview process, but you need to make sure the caregiver is aware that this is unpaid interview time before you make arrangements. Or you could choose to pay the candidate for this time as a goodwill gesture to keep them interested and to set up an employment relationship of trust from the beginning.

Listen to your instincts and back that up with the background checks that A New England Nanny takes care of. This will be well worth the effort in your overall work to hire an employee that makes everyone in your household feel comfortable and safe—and happy. You are hiring a nanny or senior care worker to help you not worry about what is going on at home. Take time now to check out the person you are bringing into your home and who you are entrusting with your loved ones, your property, and your memories.

For more information about how GTM helps families with household employment issues like this, contact us at (518) 348-0400.

Social Media Tips for Getting that Nanny Job…and Keeping it!

social media tips for nanniesMost employers today – including household employers – use social media as a form of background checking and screening of job applicants and current employees. Nannies and other domestic workers who post things on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media sites may be exposing certain aspects of their personal lives to potential and current employers. Therefore, it’s important to be aware that anything you post online may not remain private. And while you may feel that you are keeping your personal and professional lives separate, many employers will not draw that distinction, especially when the applicant will be working in the family’s home with children.

Please see our guidelines below on social media tips for getting and keeping your job.

Things to Keep in Mind Before Getting the Job

  • Check your privacy settings on Facebook – you should only allow “Friends” to see what you post and anything in which you are “tagged.” Be aware that privacy settings change from time to time, so you should periodically check to make sure yours are set appropriately.
  • Anything you post on Twitter may be seen by the public, including prospective employers – even if they are not following you!
  • Potential employers may look at your grammar and use of language.
  • Most employers will check for posts containing vulgar language, nudity or sexual pictures, and slander (such as bashing a previous employer).
  • Social media sites allow employers to see a glimpse of you beyond what is on your resume or profile.
  • You might wish to take down anything that could be viewed as unprofessional or offensive.
  • Post photos that present you in a professional light – for example, a potential employer that sees photos of you consuming alcohol, drugs, or other objectionable behaviors may decide not to hire you.
  • An agency can only do so much in regards to assisting you in getting the nanny job you want. You have to also be diligent in your efforts to make sure you are presenting yourself professionally to employers.

You Got the Job – Now Keep it!

  • Do not post any photos of the children or other family members you work with, unless you have permission from the parents to do so.
  • Discuss with your employer about social media policies and what they expect of you as a nanny.
  • Do not discuss or divulge any information online or in person about the family you work for. Respect their privacy!
  • When you are with the children, do not “check-in” at any certain place. This will allow others to know your location.
  • Is it a good idea to “Friend” your employer? Unless you have a previous relationship with the family, the experts say no. Plus if your employer can see what time you’re posting things, they might wonder why you’re spending time online instead of watching the kids!

All aspects of social media and your employment should be discussed in detail between the family and the nanny, and then the rules agreed upon should be written down and have a signed approval. This will hopefully prevent any social media problems throughout the employment relationship.

For more information, please contact us at (518) 348-0400.

Resume Fraud and Household Employment

resume fraud and household employmentIn a tight job market and in the age of internet-based diploma mills, resume fraud is an increasing concern among employers, including those families that employ nannies or other household employees. On the other hand, with today’s internet-enabled easy and cost-effective access to information, families can easily verify resume facts with a few clicks of the mouse. The following examples show how seriously resume fraud is taken.

David J. Edmondson, Radio Shack CEO, resigned under pressure after it was learned that nearly a decade before, he had claimed on his resume that he held two degrees from a Bible college. The company learned that the school had no record of Edmondson graduating.

Notre Dame football coach George O’Leary was forced to resign just five days after stepping into the coach position after it was revealed that he lied about his academic and athletic achievements.

Food Network chef Robert Irvine was fired from the network in 2008 after it was discovered that many of the culinary accomplishments he claimed to have achieved were fabricated.

Such has been the growing concern of resume fraud within employers’ ranks that the Washington State legislature passed a bill in 2006 that would create civil and criminal penalties for lying on resumes or failing to disclose that a degree is from an unaccredited institution. The international employment screening firm, HireRight, conducted a 2014 survey which revealed that 88 percent of employer respondents reported discovering a person who lied on a resume.

Relevance for Household Employers

Checking resumes is particularly important when it comes to caregivers in the home. If a nanny says she has a certificate in early education and it is important to the family that she has, then you need to check it out. Similarly, if a senior caregiver for an aging parent claims to be a certified home health aide or a Licensed Practical Nurse without the required qualifications, this could be extremely dangerous in certain circumstances.  Therefore, lying employees who are directly involved with patient care are aggressively pursued in the legal arena and typically reported to the U.S Department of Health and Human Services to bar them from future employment in that type of work.

To learn more about how A New England Nanny takes steps to combat resume fraud and our other procedures for ensuring your family’s peace of mind, contact us today at (518) 348-0400.

Hiring a Nanny on Your Own: The Real Cost

hiring a nanny on your ownIf you have considered using an agency like ours to hire a nanny but you also want to see about doing it on your own, know what you are getting into and budget your time and money accordingly.

The worksheet below, provided by our affiliate company GTM Payroll Services, will help you figure out the real cost of hiring a nanny or other employee on your own.

The Real Cost of Hiring on Your Own (click for printable version)

Do It Yourself Hiring Task COLUMN A: Hours it would take (suggested hours) COLUMN B: Value of your time*, per hour Total cost of your time, multiplied by number of hours to complete task (column A x column B)
Time invested in preparing job  description and advertisement. __________ hours (e.g. 3 hours) $_________ per hour $_________
Time taken to perform background checking. __________ hours (e.g. 10 hours) $_________ per hour $_________
Time to select 10 candidates for phone interview. __________ hours (e.g. 2 hours) $_________ per hour $_________
Time to prepare interview questions. __________ hours (e.g. 2 hours) $_________ per hour $_________
Time to schedule and phone interview best candidates. __________ hours (e.g. 5-10 hours) $_________ per hour $_________
Time to arrange and conduct home interviews of 3 most desirable candidates. __________ hours (e.g. 5-10 hours) $_________ per hour $_________
Time to schedule and phone previous employment and educational references. __________ hours (e.g. 3 hours) $_________ per hour $_________
Time taken to make job offer and prepare rejection letters for unsuccessful candidates. __________ hours (e.g. 1 hour) $_________ per hour $_________
Time to prepare work agreement. __________ hours (e.g. 5 hours) $_________ per hour $_________
Time to research salary, tax, insurance compliance information. __________ hours (e.g. 5 hours) $_________ per hour $_________
Time to research employment laws relevant to location and type of work. __________ hours (e.g. 3 hours) $_________ per hour $_________
Time to investigate human resources information and personnel policies. __________ hours (e.g. 2 hours) $_________ per hour $_________
Time to research all necessary legal, tax, insurance, and payroll forms for hire. __________ hours (e.g. 5 hours) $_________ per hour $_________
TOTAL __________ hours (e.g. 61 hours) $_________ per hour $_________

 

*To calculate the value of a stay-at-home spouse when using this worksheet, salary.com estimates that a stay-at-home parent with two preschool children has a national median salary of $115,431 per year. Divided by 52 weeks, divided by 40 hours, this is approximately $55 per hour.

Please note that if a household employer does not want to invest all the time calculated above, working with an agency like A New England Nanny to hire an employee will save a lot of time, as will working with a household payroll company like GTM when it comes to knowing the relevant tax and labor laws and handling the complicated payroll and tax process.

For more information, contact us at (518) 348-0400.

Nanny Agencies vs. Online Agencies

nanny agencies vs online agenciesA good agency is a helpful resource in finding a nanny or other household employee. After all, household employers hire staff to make life more convenient, easier, and fun—enabling the employer to direct his or her energies toward enjoying his or her family or home.  Online nanny agencies have become more popular in recent years, and while both traditional agencies like A New England Nanny and online ones each have benefits, there are many differences that may help an employer to decide which route to take when hiring a nanny or other employee.

Our comparison chart below shows the general differences between us and online agencies.

   A New England Nanny
 Online Agencies
 Time Savings
  • All searches assisted by agency staff.
  • Job postings managed by agency staff.
  • Agency staff assist in job description and work agreement development, may provide interview questions and other necessary paperwork.
  • Agency will assist in scheduling interviews.
  • Agency will generally offer a select few qualified candidates, helping employers to immediately target the best candidates.
  • Search on your own.
  • Do the selection process yourself for your preferred candidates.
  • Post jobs yourself.
  • Develop job description and work agreement yourself (some sites offer templates or articles to help).
  • Perform background checks on your own (unless included).

Note: There can be even more effort involved on your part, and therefore the process can take longer.

 Turn-around Time
  • Depending on our current pool of candidates, this could be fast, or you may need to wait for a list of qualified candidates.
  • Can help you find a large number of prospective candidates in a matter of minutes, which may lead to your selection of candidates for interview.
 Cost
  • Because you are engaging a consultant with staff and many included services, you will be paying a higher fee.
  • Membership to online sites tends to be less expensive, however there can be “additional fees” in add-on services.
 Screening
  • Pre-screened applicants.
  • Phone and face-to-face interviews conducted before family interviews
  • Reference and employment checks verified.
  • Full background checks provided.
  • You may have to conduct all pre-screening and interviews.
  • You conduct your own reference/employment checks.
  • You conduct background checks (unless included).
 Expert Assistance
  • Assistance and guidance with job offer.
  • Job description development.
  • Compensation package.
  • Experience based on agency selected.
  • No personal guidance.
  • You are responsible for job offer.
  • Limited resources for employment policies.
  • Limited guidance on fair hiring/compensation.
 Tax, Payroll, and   Insurance Advice
  • Agency provides compliance education and materials.
  • Referrals for detailed advice and free consultations.
  • You decipher compliance requirements.
  • Some sites do refer to a tax and payroll service, such as GTM.com.
  • Some sites do post articles on tax and payroll issues.
 Post-placement Support
  • Ongoing support after placement.
  • Managerial advice and job coaching.
  • Temporary babysitting services.
  • Emergency backup care for unexpected absence of primary caregiver.
  • No managerial or personalized support after hiring.
 Guarantee
  • Usually an agency will guarantee a placement by providing a replacement or an extended membership so you can use its services again for free.
  • Limited or no guarantee.

 

If you have any questions or need more information, please contact us at (518) 348-0400.

Hiring On Your Own?

hiring on your ownAre you hiring a nanny or household employee? Have you found the right one but aren’t sure what steps to take? Are you concerned about background checks, reference checks, interviews, and all the paperwork that the hiring process entails?

This is a very time-consuming process, and most families are unable to take enough time out of busy schedules to conduct the in-depth screening, interviewing, and paperwork needed for hiring a new person for their family.

Don’t go it alone – let the professionals at A New England Nanny take care of it for you!

A New England Nanny is a fully licensed and insured household placement agency, providing peace of mind to thousands of families for over 23 years. Once you have found the domestic worker you are interested in hiring, our experienced, professional staff will handle the following:

  • Applicant interview
  • Applicant reference checking
  • Criminal checks
  • DMV check
  • Social Security trace
  • Credit check
  • Drug screening
  • Complimentary payroll consultation (if applicable)
  • Manager consultation
  • Sample employment contract
  • Sample Work Agreement
  • Employee Handbook
  • Tools and tips for a successful employment relationship, including:
    • Daily time log
    • Medical care release form
    • Time off request form
    • Performance evaluation form
    • Incident report form

We are offering this valuable package for a one-time fee of just $1,000!
For more details and information on taking advantage of this service, please contact Melissa Schoonmaker, Director of A New England Nanny, at (800) 929-9213 ext. 7202.