Posted - March 21, 2023

5 Tips for How to Screen a Nanny in the Hiring Phase

How do you know you’ve got a trustworthy caretaker? Or, one that will show up and that you can rely on. We hear it too often: "the person I hired just no showed". As an experienced placement agency, we go over tips for how to screen a nanny so you don’t miss any details.

Hiring a nanny is no easy task. And when you’re entrusting them to care for your children, ensuring you have the perfect fit is paramount. While we’d like to believe everyone is good and who they say they are, the truth is you can never be too careful when hiring a caretaker for your children.  

It’s better to be safe than sorry in most circumstances, and this applies to the safety and well-being of your children. So, even though the process is tedious and arduous, it’s worth doing it right and finding a well-qualified nanny for your family. 

We want to touch on nanny screening so families feel confident in their pursuit of the perfect nanny for their family. With Hello, Nanny!’s thorough nanny screening process, families can avoid much of the stress and disappointment that often comes with hiring a caretaker.

Here are some tips on how to screen a nanny during your hiring process.

1. Find a nanny.

First, you have to find a nanny. Often, parents find nannies online through web searches. Unfortunately, many online platforms offer little vetting of the candidates they allow to build profiles. This means practically anyone can build a caretaker profile and call themselves a nanny on these sites. If you choose to search for a nanny online, make sure it’s through a reliable site or a nanny placement agency, such as Hello, Nanny!. 

Nanny placement agencies complete much of the work for you by vetting nannies through an extensive nanny screening process.

Many people often find nannies by word-of-mouth, so you can ask around and see what suggestions people you know may have.

2. Check references.

This may seem obvious, but a very important part of the nanny screening process is to check the references they give you. You can do this by speaking with each reference by either phone or video call. We do not recommend contacting references via email.

Take the time to chat with each reference and ask pointed questions about when and how the nanny worked for them. Unfortunately, fake references are a real issue, so it’s important you don’t skip this part of the nanny screening process.

Nanny placement agencies, such as Hello, Nanny! have experience in spotting fake references and we know what questions to ask. Working with a placement agency is one way you can ensure your nanny is thoroughly screened before working for you.

3. Have several interviews and working trials.

Typically, we recommend families and nannies meet for 1-3 interviews. This gives both parties the opportunity to get to know each other and ask any questions you may have. Interviews are great for the nanny screening process.

During the initial interview, resist the urge to only discuss availability and pay with the nanny. There will be time to talk about that later. This interview is a valuable chance for you to understand who the nanny sitting in front of you is. 


Consider asking questions similar to those following:

What experience do they have? 

How do they handle specific situations? 

What type of activities do they engage children in? 

What was their childhood like?

Are they shy or energetic and outgoing?

Is their personality one that will mesh with yours?

How was their time working with other families?

Why did they leave?

How do they feel about you working from home?


Following the interviews, we also recommend a meet-and-greet and a scheduled working trial. If you like what you’ve seen in your potential nanny, you can schedule a meet-and-greet where your children can meet the nanny and get to know them. This is a great opportunity for you to observe how the nanny handles your kids.

Before fully committing to hiring a nanny, there should be a working trial. A working trial consists of a period of time — usually 3-7 days — where a nanny works in your home before signing an agreement and committing to the job. A nanny should be paid for their time during a working trial.

The working trial is a chance for both parties to understand the job, how things work around the home, and how everyone’s personalities mesh together. Working trials are just as much for nannies as for families, so it’s an important part of the screening process and shouldn’t be skipped. You have the opportunity to see how your nanny handles stress, difficult situations, and your children during a working trial.

Hello, Nanny! takes care of scheduling interviews, meet-and-greets, and working trials for all our clients. We also have a thorough list of interview questions and are experienced in any difficulties that may arise during the process.

4. Run background checks and dig around online.

How to screen a nanny really comes down to being thorough in the whole process. Your children are too important to skip any steps along the way. While there is a lot of work in the nanny screening process, it’s worth it to weed out the bad from the good.

Part of the screening process involves a nanny background check. If you’re working with an agency this is something they’ll take care of, but if not, you’ll need to ensure a nanny background check is completed.

When interested in a nanny, dig around online to see what you can find out about them. Check out their social media and things they may have been tagged in. Sometimes there’s a whole other world a nanny is involved in they haven’t disclosed. 

5. Have a clear written agreement.

Before a nanny or family commits to working together, there must be a clear written agreement. This agreement outlines expectations from both sides. 

Some things a working agreement should include are:

  • Hours
  • Pay
  • Overtime policy
  • Sick leave and vacation time
  • Guaranteed hours
  • Any other benefits discussed and agreed upon
  • Customized, personal preferences discussed and agreed upon


A written agreement protects you as much as your nanny. It’s imperative that what’s been discussed is in writing. This will protect your family and your nanny from any future issues that may arise.

If you’re working with a nanny placement agency, they will assist you in drafting a working agreement that both you and your nanny feel good about. Agencies like Hello, Nanny! have experience in customizing agreements to each family, and ensuring nothing important is left out.

Let Hello, Nanny! do the work for you.

Hiring a nanny is a lot of work. Starting at sifting through hundreds of candidates, interviewing your top preferences, nanny background checks, reference checks, and working trials — the nanny hiring process is a long and tiring one. 

And when you need a nanny, you need one now. You don’t have the time to properly find and vet a nanny, leading to a rushed process with poor results. When needing your home painted, a car part updated, or your kitchen remodeled, you don’t simply wing it yourself and hope for the best. Instead, you find an expert that can take care of it for you.

Your children are far more important than your car or home. Don’t settle for less because you’re rushed and stressed. This often leads to poor or short-term placements and harmful situations for your children. Even worse, it can leave you in a bind scrambling for care because the person you found on your own didn’t show up, we hear it far too often. 


Working with a nanny placement agency ensures it’s done right the first time. At Hello, Nanny!, we thoroughly vet and screen every nanny we find. Only those with a certain level of experience find positions through us. When working with families to find the perfect placement, we ensure no step of the nanny screening process is missed. Plus, working with an agency often means finding a reliable match faster, since we have a network of pre-vetted candidates.

Whether it’s finding compatible personalities or matching up previous work experience, we make it our priority to make you 100% happy with your match. And with us taking care of the stressful paperwork, scheduling, and reference checks, there’s not much for you to worry about. 

Working with a nanny placement agency means you don’t have to know how to screen a nanny, because we take care of it for you! You get to be there every step of the way without the stress of having it all on your shoulders. While you are involved in choosing and interviewing candidates, we handle the heavy lifting for you.

If you’re ready to find the next extended member of your family and don’t want to go at it alone, get in touch with us today. We can’t wait to help you.