Nannies from the Heartland
Caring, Supportive, Professional Placements
Serving Families and Nannies since 1990


 
Choosing an Agency - Why Us?

This information is provided as a resource to both families and nannies who are considering working with a nanny placement agency.  It contains questions they can ask to help choose the right agency (or agencies).  We can't guarantee that all agencies are willing to answer all of these questions, but they are still important to ask.

In addition to the comments following each question, our answers to most of these are presented throughout the website. Of course, we would also love to talk to you on the phone!

1) How long has the agency been in business?
2) How does the agency screen nannies?
3) How does the agency screen families?
4) How does the agency recruit nannies?
5) What does the agency do to assist families in order for them to be good employers and offer an attractive, competitive employment opportunity?
6) What are the qualifications of the agency's staff?
7) What are the agency's fees for families? for nannies?
8) What are the minimum qualifications for nannies to be considered for referral by the agency?
9) What written information on nanny candidates does the agency provide to families?
10) What are typical salaries for nannies placed by the agency over the last six months?
11) What is the average length-of-stay for nannies referred by the agency?
12) Can nannies and families work with more than one agency at a time?
13) Does the agency do cooperative placements with other local agencies?
14) What support does the agency provide for nannies and families during and after the referral process?
15) Is the agency owner active in industry and business associations? Is she/he known and respected in the industry?
16) Can the agency provide references that you can talk to?
17) If the agency is advertising as a member of the International Nanny Association, is this in fact true?
18) Why should you use their agency?

 

1) How long has the agency been in business? Top of Page
Nannies from the Heartland was founded in 1990. An agency's longevity is important for several reasons.  Successful long-term agencies have a large number of nannies and families that come from repeat business and word-of-mouth referrals.  Industry experience is critical for providing advice that you can trust.

2) How does the agency screen nannies? Top of Page
Detailed applications and in-depth personal interviews with applicants are very important. Also, telephone interviews with references take more time than mailed questionnaires, but they provide more information and are more trustworthy. Criminal background checks should be standard. Driver's license checks are very important. Excessive moving violations are a concern if the nanny will be driving a family car and/or transporting children. Drug and alcohol problems can show up on the driving record. A social security trace will verify that the applicant's name matches their social security number and can provide a more complete history of where an applicant has lived.

3) How does the agency screen families? Top of Page
Are the families interviewed by the agency? Does the agency ask families for references? Is the agency selective regarding which families they will represent in a search, as good employers offering salary and benefits that are competitive and fair for their job situation?

4) How does the agency recruit nannies? Top of Page
Do they post current job openings on their website? Do they have an extensive online presence? Long-term reputable agencies should also have returning nannies and word-of-mouth referrals.

5) What does the agency do to assist families in order for them to be good employers and offer an attractive, competitive employment opportunity? Top of Page
 What written materials and support resources do they provide? Does the agency provide an employment agreement form for the family and nanny? A detailed agreement form is an excellent way to make sure important items are discussed before the job starts.

6) What are the qualifications of the agency's staff? Top of Page
Agency staff with long-term experience in this industry are better able to provide the support and information that you need. The 67 total years of experience of all our staff is greater than any other local agency. In addition, we bring a very broad set of skills, experience and education to this business.

7) What are the agency's fees for families? for nannies? Top of Page                                                         An agency that charges families well below the average of established local agencies may not be putting the time into careful screening and investing in extensive recruiting efforts in order to best meet their client's needs.

There should be no fees to nannies.

8) What are the minimum qualifications for nannies to be considered for referral by the agency?       Top of Page
Agencies differ on the amount of child care and related employment experience they require of nannies. These are crucial indicators of how likely a nanny will be to succeed in the job. There are a number of criteria we assess to determine if an applicant can be considered for referral by Nannies from the Heartland.

9) What written information on nanny applicants does the agency provide to families? Top of Page
Does the agency provide a detailed and complete file on each candidate that they refer to families? Nannies from the Heartland provides families with candidate files that are at least 20 pages of detailed information. This allows a family to know about a candidate prior to interviewing. Nannies are presented to a family in a professional manner, enhancing their chances of getting a job.

10) What are typical salaries for nannies placed by the agency over the last six months? Top of Page
Salaries that are on the low end may indicate an agency is referring less qualified nannies than other agencies. An agency may also quote low salary ranges to families or high ranges to nannies to entice them to sign-up with their agency. In such cases it can take much longer to complete the search process. An experienced, established agency should have the most accurate knowledge of the market.

11) What is the average length-of-stay for nannies referred by the agency? Top of Page
If the agency is doing a thorough job of screening and matching nannies and families, the average placement should last well over a year. Our average placement longevity is 3+ years. Some nannies have worked with the same family for many more years than this. Ask how the agency tracks their placements.

12) Can nannies and families work with more than one agency at a time? Top of Page
Some agencies may try to discourage you from working with other agencies. They may also overstate their ability to make a referral within your timeframe. We will always give you an honest estimate of how long we think it may take to find the right nanny or job. If your time frame is much shorter than our estimate, we will actually encourage you to work with other agencies. We may suggest agencies that we trust and respect.

13) Does the agency do cooperative placements with other local agencies? Top of Page
We have always been a strong advocate for agencies to work together when it is in the best interest of families and nannies. However, we are selective in which agencies we choose to work with.

14) What support does the agency provide for nannies and families during and after the referral process? Top of Page
During the placement process, we discuss potential matches with both nannies and families before sending out files. Of course, this takes a lot of extra effort on our part. Ask whether the agency includes this very important step in their referral process. Sometimes nanny candidates are surprised when they are called by families as they didn't even know the family had received their file. Sometimes families review files and call nanny candidates only to find they are not interested in their job.

After the placement ongoing agency support is very important. This can include extensive written materials, follow-up calls, educational blog, planned activities for nannies, an extensive and up-to-date website, etc. We do all of these.

15) Is the agency owner and staff active in industry and business associations? Are they known and respected in the industry? Top of Page
Agencies who have demonstrated a commitment to quality in-home child care through involvement in professional and business associations provide expertise to both nannies and families. Membership in the International Nanny Association requires adherence to standards of ethics and integrity, and recommended practices.

Mary O'Connor (owner of Nannies from the Heartland, Inc.) was the elected President of the International Nanny Association (INA) from 1997 to 1999 and served on the Board of Directors for 10 years. Thus, professional nannies and successful agency owners from around the country have demonstrated their trust and respect for Mary as a leader in this industry. Her extensive regular contacts with those colleagues are a tremendous source of knowledge and insight into this business. Nannies from the Heartland is a member of the International Nanny Association, an accredited member of the Better Business Bureau with an A+ rating  and an honored business member of the Twin Cities Professional Nannies.

16) Can the agency provide references that you can talk to? Top of Page
References can be a good way to determine if an agency gave you honest answers to some of the above questions. As an experienced, long-term agency, we have a large network of satisfied nannies and families, many of whom are willing to be references for us. We always ask their permission first and only release their names to nannies and families who are seriously considering working with our agency.

17) If the agency is advertising as a member of the International Nanny Association, is this in fact true? Top of Page
Over the years, some agencies have advertised as a member of the International Nanny Association when in fact they are not current members. You can verify membership by visiting the website at www.nanny.org.

18) Why should you use their agency? Top of Page
If you have asked the above questions, and probed for clear answers, then you have the information you need to make a good decision.

Of course, we hope you choose to work with us. If you are looking for an experienced agency with a solid track record, an excellent reputation with both nannies and families, and who will be there to support you all the way through your placement and beyond, then you have come to the right place. You won't go wrong by choosing the best and trusting the experts!

 
5490 Balsam Lane No, Minneapolis, MN 55442-1805 | Phone: (763) 550-0219 | Fax: (763) 519-0881 | Email: info@nanniesheartland.com
   

 

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