Re: The Dangers of Online Only Job Listings to Hire Nannies
Dear Producers of The Early Show,
We are writing to raise a red flag about your segment this week when interviewing a Sittercity spokesperson, because job listing services such as Sittercity should not be confused with full-service nanny agencies. Sittercity connects families and nannies online and rarely screens either.
Online job listing services can give the client a false sense of security. Many online services steer parents to low-cost, computer background checks that offer minimal screening compared to what a top-notch nanny agency would consider adequate. Sittercity connects parents to the LexisNexis background check that costs $9.99. Sittercity’s own web site has a disclaimer that the LexisNexis check covers just 38 states (http:/ /www.sittercity.com/help_detail.html?tag=bgcin). Some online job listing services call the LexisNexis check “nationwide” which can be misleading.
Top notch household staffing agencies require a computer background check, and much more, on each job candidate. Most quality agencies hire a seasoned professional to conduct background checks. You can read in detail about what a thorough background check entails on our web site at: http://theapna.org/blog.
Quality nanny agencies also meet each nanny candidate in person and check the candidate’s references and resume. Online job listing services often do not check qualifications or references. They simply advise parents to perform those tasks.
Careful, experienced household staffing agencies are the best way to protect children, but they also help ensure a job seeker’s safety. Katherine Olson of Minnesota was found dead last October, one day after she responded to an online ad for a nanny job. The 19-year-old man police suspect placed the ad, where he posed as a parent seeking a nanny, is charged with her murder and awaiting trial.
A responsible staffing agency knows when one of its job candidates is being interviewed, and the candidate is expected to report in afterward. The personal contact that a qualified agency provides is an added security measure for both candidates and the hiring families. That service also increases the chances a family will find a nanny that is right for them and decreases the chances of high turnover of nannies in their employment.
Additionally, many online job listing services post the nanny candidate’s picture with his or her job profile. Household employment attorneys do not advise posting candidates’ photos for both safety and legal reasons. Pictures can be a way for predators to choose victims or for potential employers to discriminate based on legally protected characteristics such as race or age.
The points listed above are the primary reasons that our organization does not grant membership to job services that operate only online. Below is a list of some APNA members who would be willing to speak with you if you are interested in more information about the safest ways to find and become household staff.
Annie Davis President
Association of Premier Nanny Agencies