The search for reliable nanny services or domestic help can be an overwhelming and time consuming process, especially if you decide to start from scratch with a classified ad. After weeding through countless responses, making endless phone calls, and interviewing dozens of potential candidates, it’s no wonder many families decide to bypass this screening process and turn to the nearest domestic staffing agency for help. Once you decide to seek help finding nanny services, what features and services should you look for in a quality agency?
Features of a Quality Domestic Staffing Agency
First, look for a domestic staffing agency that has a successful history of matching quality candidates with the right families and has a reputation for excellence. Request client or candidate references to ensure that the agency delivers the level of service that they claim to provide. Is the agency affiliated with any professional associations? If so, they are typically required to comply with certain industry standards and quality guarantees. Ask questions to find out how long the agency has been in business and inquire what type of experience and background the employees of the agencies have. The longer a domestic staffing agency has been in business, the more likely the company is to have business processes set up to ensure that it will find the right nanny services for your family’s needs.
Ask the agency if you can visit its place of business. If the agency is hesitant, it’s probably because it’s trying to look like a much larger operation than it is in reality. Many of the nanny services and domestic help agencies out there are run by one person who is struggling to juggle client relations and candidate hiring at the same time, while managing the financial side of the business as well. When a domestic staffing agency is running on such limited resources, the quality of service that the agency provides may be unreliable.
The Screening Process
One of the most complex components of finding nanny services is the screening process. Quality agencies have strict processes in place to ensure that only the best, most qualified candidates get matched with families. Before selecting a domestic staffing agency, ask how it finds candidates. Do applicants have specific qualifications that must be fulfilled to be considered a quality candidate? Does the agency screen out illegal aliens? Candidate screening is a highly important part of the hiring process and it should be treated as such.
Ask the agency to provide you with an average turnaround time for the candidate selection and hiring process once you hire them to provide you with nanny services. Once again, the size of the agency will affect how long it takes to find the right candidate. A domestic staffing agency with more resources will likely have a faster turnaround time since there are multiple employees available to handle the different sides of the business. Using a candidate screening service should speed up the hiring process, not slow it down. A domestic staffing agency with efficient business and candidate screening processes in place should be able to handle a professional nanny placement in as little as two days, although most domestic staffing agencies take one to three weeks to fulfill a placement. Do keep in mind that the length of time greatly depends on the type of nanny services you are looking for, as well as the hours required, salary and benefits you will be providing, and the duties you will require.
Look for a domestic staffing agency that offers a wide variety of domestic staffing services, not just nanny services. You may think that you need a live-in nanny when, in reality, your needs are better suited for a housekeeper two days a week and nanny services once a week. A domestic staffing agency that fills a range of positions such as professional nanny, housekeeper, house manager, or baby nurse, can act as a consultant, matching the appropriate help to your family’s needs.
Since the agency is doing all of the work of the screening and hiring process for you, oftentimes they charge a fee for nanny placement. Some services, such as helping to create an employee agreement, may be optional, but many agencies will charge an additional fee for them. Make sure that you understand all of the fees and cost of placement upfront so that there are no unpleasant surprises when you are ready to select the right candidate and welcome them into your home.
Most importantly, a quality domestic staffing agency that is confident in its ability to match the right candidates with the appropriate families will offer a replacement guarantee on its nanny services. The best agencies will offer a replacement guarantee that covers families for the first six months. If the initial candidate turns out to be unsuitable for any reason, they will conduct a second search without charge, not to exceed more than one replacement. A replacement guarantee provides peace of mind that if the initial placement does not succeed, your money is not lost.
Finding nanny services can seem complicated but, with the help of an experienced domestic staffing agency, the process is much easier to approach. There are many agencies out there that claim to provide the best service in the industry. By asking some key questions and performing due diligence, you are bound to find an agency that suits your needs and provides the right candidate for your home.