Why Some Agencies are Thriving Despite the Existence of Nanny Databases
Why are we having a great year when nanny databases provide large numbers of “nannies” online?
One simple reason: We provide quality, not quantity.
Many of the agencies who provide quantity are struggling. The agencies who provide quality are thriving. Here’s what we’ve seen since the advent of the nanny databases:
*We saw a decline in business for about 2 years when the databases first came into existence. Then we saw a strong resurgence of business, mainly from families who said they were disappointed with the maturity, performance, experience, and longevity of the nannies they had found on their own. They also found the do-it-yourself nanny search to be extremely time-consuming. One of our clients said, “When you spend weekend after weekend researching and interviewing nannies, and then your new nanny leaves after a few weeks for another job she found on the same database, you say, ‘that’s enough’”. The nannies we place through our agency value the long term relationship with us and with our families. We require a long term commitment, and they know they will have job security with us for many years to come, but only if they demonstrate solid commitment, performance, and loyalty to our families.
*We’ve seen a decline in the jobs that pay less, are short term (a few months), or require a low number of hours. (under 25). We’ve also a seen a decline in jobs with chaotic, changing schedules. Overall, we’ve seen a decline in the less desirable jobs. If a family is unsure as to how long the job will last, (a few weeks or months), or if they are paying below the market rate, they are probably more comfortable finding a short term solution on a database. That is a niche that is well served by databases.
*We’ve seen an increase in full-time, long term jobs with 2 working professionals who don’t have time to search for a great nanny and who cannot risk hiring a nanny who may not work out. They’re working hard and can’t afford a disruption to their jobs and children. These families also tend to be committed to their child receiving long term, quality care, with the same caregiver, not several. I believe we’ve seen growth in this type of business, (which is our favorite business) because many agencies whose value was to provide a large quantity of nannies have been replaced by the databases. Ninety percent of our families hire the first or second nanny we send them, because we send experienced nannies with excellent references who are the right match for your family. We typically pursue one candidate out of fifteen who come to us. We feel we’re hired to find you the best nannies, not to inundate you with candidates you could find yourself.
*We’ve seen an increase in excellent, experienced nannies applying to our website and a decrease in under qualified nannies applying. We believe this is because the highly qualified nannies want an agency behind them now more than ever, in this uncertain economy. Many sought jobs on the databases when they first appeared, but the nannies have complained to us that the jobs they found were often short term, they paid less than advertised, and the hours were unreliable. They also want to work with an agency who will stand by them and provide them with job security for many years to come. We have solid jobs with solid families, and they know this. The nannies also appreciate that we match the right candidate to the right job. We know what type of personality the family is looking for, and which traits are best suited to the family and their children. We also believe we’re seeing more highly qualified nannies because the agencies that specialized in quantity are placing more on-call babysitting jobs.
We have a huge, time-saving advantage in finding great nannies that families don’t have access to on their own for two primary reasons:
1) We’ve been in business for almost 15 years and have placed thousands of nannies in San Diego. When one of our nannies finishes a job (usually when the baby matures to school-age), they call us and watch our job list to see what we have available.
2) We have online tools that allow us to zero in on the very best, most qualified nannies who come to our site. (About 15 nannies apply each day). Every candidate completes a standardized, statistically validated personality screen that assesses characteristics such as conscientiousness, interpersonal sensitivity, reliability, impulse control, cooperation, rule orientation, judgment, emotional stability, etc. This screen is interpreted by a licensed psychologist. We rule out approximately 4 out of 6 candidates based on the screen alone. We have a detailed online application that shows us exactly where she worked, for how long, including phone numbers. (this is not a “nanny profile”.) We check references thoroughly by phone, not e-mail. We interview all qualified nannies in person for 90 minutes, and we run a felony and misdemeanor check in every county she’s lived in. This is NOT an instant Internet check! We also run a DMV check.
In summary, finding excellent nannies is not easy, as many families have discovered. But when you know what we know, and have our history, tools and experience, it actually is easy.
To get more tips on hiring and retaining a nanny go to: www.safeandsoundnannies.com
Dr. Ann Wycoff is founder of Safe and Sound Nannies, a full service agency, and The Nanny Answer, an online, do-it-yourself nanny screening service.
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