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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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!