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What else can a family do to verify the credentials of a nanny candidate?

The following are some suggestions.

  • Have the nanny/care giver complete a formal job application and either fax or mail it to you.
  • Require that the nanny show you original documents confirming her identity: drivers license, passport, college ID card, etc. At least one document should have a photo. Do not accept photocopies as these can disguise alterations.
  • Establish chronology of work and education history. Look for unexplained gaps. If significant gaps exist, ask the candidate to help ‘fill in the blanks.’ Make sure the candidate’s history is in month/year format. Ask probing questions – often gaps indicate a prior poor employment experience, but they can signal a myriad of other problems.
  • Personally contact all references and verify all prior employment. References from teachers and clergy are encouraged, and are often the only real references the younger candidate may have. Follow up on all written references with a telephone call if possible, or better yet try to meet the person informally for coffee to chat. People may be reluctant to admit to concerns on paper, but will sometimes share them ‘off the record’. Experts suggest that you attempt to get an additional reference for your candidate from their chosen references. A question like “Do you know anyone else who might be able to give me a character reference on Susie?” will often elicit a name and number of someone who has not been briefed by the candidate ahead of time.
  • Check DMV records, even if the nanny will not be driving. Either require that the nanny provide you an original, current DMV record or order this search independently as part of the criminal background check.
  • Verify education. Candidate can send you copies of transcripts or diploma. If you can, talk to a teacher or administrator that knows her.
  • TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS. Don’t worry that your spouse or coworker might think you are paranoid. If your gut says there is something wrong, move on to other candidates.


  • Employ a nanny without checking references and employment history.
  • Ignore unexplained gaps or discrepancies in work and education history – always check them out until you are completely satisfied.


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