The INA's Weekly Brief

Nanny Interview and Job Search Tips

What people see and how we look gives others a first impression of us.  How can what we wear impact how others treat us?  Take a look at this Leave it to Beaver clip and the impression Dudley has on the Cleaver family.  Each person forms preconceived ideas of Dudley based on what he is wearing.

Packaging Yourself ProfessionallyOn a daily basis, nannies of young children must be able to get on the floor and be active with young children.  How we dress should not impede us from doing our duties with children.  Our dress and accessories should never create a safety hazard for ourselves or the children in our care.  Additionally, some practical sense should be observed when traveling with children, engaging in outdoor adventure activities and participating in messy play. As you work with children, your clothing should continue to cover body parts and absolutely limit overexposure.  Ladies should avoid low cut shirts and pants. Gentlemen should avoid low cut or sagging pants.  Jewelry that could be choking hazards should be left outside the child’s environment if possible.  Most of the time closed toe shoes or shoes with a back are safer when actively engaged in outdoor activities.

Employers may have specific dress codes or suggestions when attending specific events outside the home.  As with any profession, it is important to abide by the rules and policies set by employers and those in authority positions.

When going on a nanny interview with potential families or attending professional development trainings such as the INA Annual Conference, a professional business attire is typically the best course of action to demonstrate professionalism.  Grooming should also be more than a passing thought.  Be sure clothes are clean, free from stains, pressed and fit your body.  Avoid clothing that is too tight and too revealing.  Moderation is key.

Although no one wants to be judged on their appearances alone, what others see first does make an impression.  So in addition to your appearance, your actions speak volumes about your professionalism, ethics and values.  Parents want nannies to demonstrate high moral values and conduct themselves with dignity and integrity.  They want the best caring for their children.

Everyone knows that little eyes are always watching us too.  Young children pick up on what you say and do even when you might not think they are aware.  Modeling appropriate behaviors both inside the home or eye shot of young children is a given.  Did you know that even in your private life outside of work others are watching you?  Yes, others are always watching.  Like it or not nannies are held to a higher standard than many other professions.  Since you care for and teach children, society views your actions to be fair game for others to critique.  This may not seem fair that what you do in your off time is criticized. But, this is the reality.

Moving on from your appearance to your interactions with others, let’s examine some general tips on being a positive person and getting along with others:

  • Be more tolerant and less of a judge. Everyone has their quirky habits. What is “Normal” to you may not be “Normal” to me!
  • Respect differences! Sometimes it is best to stay quiet in situations and less is more.
  • It is best to model appropriate behaviors to children.  They are watching you and taking cues from how you react to situations, speak to others, tone of speech and body language.
  • Don’t offer up your life story to a stranger in the elevator or spill all of your disappointments, tragedies and negative attitudes to anyone who is around especially employers.
  • When someone asks in passing, “How are you today?” they usually do not really want to know your every ache and pain.
  • Those sayings that Grandma used way back when — still apply! “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”
  • Try to listen to the other person’s perspective.
  • Write down compromises and post on refrigerator when trying to resolve conflicts.
  • If it is not yours, then don’t take it/use it/abuse it/ consume it/…

The main concern is how children interpret our actions and
how we model appropriate behaviors. 

You may not be Mary Poppins flying in for your interview but try to set yourself apart from other nannies interviewing for a family.  Focus on your positive attributes and sell yourself by providing examples of your work, an exit portfolio, written testimonials from past clients.

Related: 3 Tips for Authentic Self Promotions

Angela Riggs Sullivan UniversityA special THANK YOU to INA member Angela Riggs for sharing these resources with the INA. Angela is the Director of the Early Childhood Education Department at Sullivan University on the Louisville, Kentucky campus and International Nanny Association member since 2000.

Angela serves on the INA Board of Directors and chairs the Education Committee.

INA Service Award Pinsina sap
Six years ago, in preparation for the celebration of INA’s 25th anniversary, the association launched the INA Service Award Pin program. Individuals who have been employed as a nanny, nanny educator or business owner (referral agency or industry service provider) for 5 or more years and are currently an INA member in good standing may apply for the INA Service Award Pin.The pin program is in its sixth year and we have honored over 70 individuals with Service Award Pins.   When all the years of experience have been added up amongst our recipients, there is over 1000 years of experience in our industry.   That’s a lot of families who have been impacted by quality in-home child care.The INA is 1000 members strong – we KNOW more than 70 members qualify for an INA Service Award Pin! Our 30th Annual Conference being held in Cancun. If you haven’t been to conference before, this is an opportunity BOTH to experience the magic of an INA conference AND receive recognition with an INA Service Award Pin.

Next year when we join together at conference to recognize and honor our own, I hope you will be one of the pin recipients. The application can be found on the INA Website and the deadline is January 15, 2015.  I urge you to fill out your application today so you don’t miss out on being honored for your contribution at the 2015 International Nanny Association Conference.  If you have questions, please e-mail us at


Glenda Propst
INA Service Award Pin Chair


nanny background screeningThe nanny industry – nannies, nanny referral professionals, nanny background screeners and educators – share an overwhelming concern for the wellbeing of the children being cared for by a nanny in their home. We are all child care professionals. Sadly, there is yet another story making the news rounds about a nanny hired from an online venue mistreating the children in her care. The nanny was ‘caught’ on a nanny cam.

The International Nanny Association (INA) and the Alliance of Premier Nanny Agencies (APNA) want to inform parents that a computerized background check is quite simply insufficient ‘screening’ to evaluate a nanny applicant. The digital, criminal “background check” creates a false sense of security for families.

True nanny background screening also must include careful, probing interviews, and thorough reference checks. INA  and APNA agency members are experts at nanny screening.

So what do families need to do to carefully screen a nanny applicant?

  1. Verify Applicant Identity: It is only logical to first confirm that the individual applicant is who she says she is. Government issued photo identification should be reviewed at the beginning of any nanny interview. This can be a drivers’ license, passport, or a state-issued identification card.
  2. Gather a Comprehensive Work History: INA member Daryl Camarillo, Stanford Park Nannies, recommends that families “Verify and interview all previous employers (even non-childcare related) and do a thorough accounting for all gaps in work history.”
  3. Interview Carefully: A common mistake families make is using the interview to determine if the nanny is agreeable to hours, pay and scope of duties. This is totally insufficient to find out if this candidate will be a quality nanny. A good rule of thumb is if the interviewer is talking more than the person being interviewed, you are not asking the right questions. Behavioral interviewing is the gold standard.INA member Marc Lenes, Wee Care Nanny Agency, states that “It is imperative to meet and get to know the potential nanny in person. Together you should go over a comprehensive employment application and zero in on gaps in work history, discuss previous jobs in detail and gauge responses to gently probing questions that will help with the vetting process.”Australia’s Placement Solutions’ Louise Dunham shares “Three techniques we use are 1) listen carefully for the pregnant pauses when questioning a referee ..the nervous schooled referees sometimes confess here; 2) asking an open ended question such as “Describe  to me your typical day looking after a baby and a toddler” will soon show you whether they have actually spent a day doing that and whether they are proactive carers and 3) lastly a trick question ” under what circumstances would you smack a child?” The ONLY answer we want is ‘Never ‘.”

    Sandra Costantino, Neighborhood Nannies, has more than 30 years experience matching nannies and families. She reports “So often we are told by our families about “gut reaction.”  There is absolutely no substitute for that than in meeting a potential
    candidate in person and looking into their eyes and understanding their body language and their answer to questions asked and their comments in general.  A wealth of knowledge is transferred without even knowing it. You cannot get that ‘online‘.”

  4. Verify References: HomeWork Solutions’ Kathleen Webb advises families to “Personally speak to all references. Verify how they know the applicant. Ask questions and wait for answers. Avoid giving verbal clues of agreement or disagreement.”Fake references are a real problem for families hiring a nanny. Experienced nanny agency staff are highly skilled at detecting references that are simply “off.” When checking a work reference, you may want to ask questions such as “When did she work for you?” or “Tell me about your children – how old were they?” You will be surprised how often the person coached to give the reference trips up on the fine details.When talking to a nanny’s references, experienced reference checkers often try to obtain a third party or ‘wild card’ reference. This would be someone else known by both the reference and the candidate whom you may use as an additional reference. Third party references are invaluable, as they have most likely not been cherry-picked by the candidate and have not been briefed on the reference check ahead of time.
  5. Schedule a Second, Working Interview: Bring the candidate back at a time when you and the children are both present. Allow the applicant to observe your typical family rhythms, patterns, and interactions. After some orientation, step back and allow some time for the applicant to interact with the children independently (you observe). Of course you will pay the applicant for her time.

The International Nanny Association (INA) is dedicated to helping families find quality in-home childcare. The APNA is a regulated membership organization that establishes standards in the nanny and household staffing industry. Both organizations recognize that families are increasingly turning to online nanny recruiting venues when hiring. The INA and APNA feel strongly that the information above can assist a family to better screen their nanny job applicants. We further recommend that families who are not confident in their interview and screening skills, or simply do not have the time or talent to perform this thorough vetting, strongly consider engaging the services of a professional nanny referral agency. “Liking a nanny isn’t enough, we’d would argue your children deserve more,” advises Jami Denis, ABC Nannies.” Hiring a professional nanny agency to walk you through the screening, interviewing, hiring and employment process allows parents peace of mind when they need it most.”  INA member agencies can be found in the online directory at

2015 INA Conference Hotel Reservation Information

The much anticipated Hotel Reservation Information is here!    A few things to be prepared for when making your reservation:  reservation announcement

  • Patience! Please be patient through this process.  
  • Read instructions CAREFULLY!
  • We recommend Email or Phone Bookings.
  • When on the website, please use a computer program to translate the page, if needed.
  • When booking online, note the hotel calendar begins on MONDAY.

If any concerns or issues, please contact the hotel directly.    They have provided ALL this information and will be more than happy to assist you with your reservations. 



To reserve your room, please follow these instructions and have the required information handy when making your reservation.   Iberostar Cancun sets these reservation requirements.  ALL inquiries regarding hotel reservations should be made to Martin Pech.

By Email
Email directly Martin Pech

You will need a valid credit card and photo ID.  You will be asked to provide one night stay deposit (wire transfer or credit card), plus a copy of your credit card (front/back) and copy of your driver’s license (front/back).  You will also be asked to complete a credit card authorization form.  Martin Pech will provide all forms needed and provide details where to send the copies.

You must state you are attending the INA Convention. 

By Phone
Call Martin Pech directly +52 (998) 881 8000 ext. 8560, Monday – Friday 9 am – 5 pm (Central Time) Cancun.

You will need a valid credit card and photo ID.  You will be asked to provide one night stay deposit (wire transfer or credit card), plus a copy of your credit card (front/back) and copy of your driver’s license (front/back).  You will also be asked to complete a credit card authorization form.  Martin Pech will provide all forms needed and provide details where to send the copies.

You must state you are attending the INA Convention. 


You must use this exclusive INA Conference Link.   If making your reservation online, you will be required to pay for your ENTIRE STAY IN FULL.

If making your reservation online, you do not need to provide a copy of your credit card and driver’s license.

For those interested in the villas you must contact Martin Pech directly via phone or email, as this room category is not available online.

Week 4 of NOTY Portfolio Process

by Marcia Hall, 2011 INA NOTYINA Nanny of the Year Award

You are almost halfway done with the legwork of your portfolio. This week we will focus on your professional history, which is the longest part of the application. You don’t want to do this part all at once, so we will break it up into manageable parts.

Start with your Work History because it will take a whole week to complete. Review page 16 of the nomination packet and focus on Section 5 – Work History.

Make sure your explanation of each job answers the questions the application asks. Your work history is like your resume on steroids. Include all the jobs you have had in your lifetime that involve working with children. Start making a list of your past child care jobs and make sure you have the dates you held each job. Explain what your duties were in each position and how it changed over the time you were there. Include what made each job unique or challenging and share why you are no longer there (unless you still are). Talk about your relationship with the children and your employers.

Please note that the page limit requirements changed a few years ago. You now do not need to stay within a certain number of pages for each subsection of the Professional History. You do however need to stay within 23 pages for the entire Professional History section.

Quick Links to the previous weeks of the NOTY Portfolio Process

Week One

Week Two

Week Three

The INA pleased to welcome a guest contributor to the INA Weekly Brief. Dietitian and nutritionist Lisa Renn writes below about striking the right balance when it comes to ‘sometimes’ foods. This is an excellent leaping off point for a candid conversation between parents and nannies around the issue of food.

Lisa is introduced to the INA by Louise Dunham, founder of Placement Solutions. She writes:

Lisa’s article prompted me to think about a trend I’ve noticed over the last few years – a trend towards, in my view, excessively child-centred parenting. I think it’s time there was a move back towards what I call ‘good enough’ parenting. This doesn’t mean neglecting our children, but just as Lisa calls for balance in our approach to unhealthy foods, parents also need balance when it comes to caring for themselves as well as their children.

For kids to grow up healthy and resilient, they need their parents to also be healthy and happy. It’s a bit like the way they tell us we should use the oxygen masks on an aeroplane: look after yourself first, then you’ll be in a good position to help others. Put another way, the basic needs of a parent are just as important as those of a child.

A great example of what this means in practice is our approach to entertainment. Somewhere along the way it seems to have become compulsory for adults to fill every available minute of their child’s day. When a primary-school aged child is attending three different after-school classes on a single day (yes, it does happen!) things are getting out of control. This sort of wall-to-wall diary leaves almost no time for parents to look after themselves.

Another Lisa, early childhood expert Lisa Murphy (, says something that I think is spot on: “It’s okay for children to be bored!” In other words, parents do not need to be the repositories of all entertainment; kids are more than capable of entertaining themselves if given the chance to do so. In fact, kids who are given the chance to be bored are far more likely to end up self-reliant than those who have every moment of every day planned for them.

The keynote speaker at the International Nanny Association conference in Kentucky in 2012 was Dr Deborah Gilboa, also known as Dr G. A mother of four and a family practice doctor, she spoke of the need to teach both responsibility and resilience to our children – both of which are strengthened by unstructured time. (Her website at  provides a wealth of sensible advice.)

This is relevant for nannies too. While not for a moment advocating that nannies should be spending their working time on Facebook, they should be comfortable giving their charges unstructured play time at some point during the day. They should also be comfortable stipulating that that time is not spent in front of a screen, small or large.

Obviously this may require a discussion between the nanny and the parents she is working for – communication is critical as I have said before, often – but the main point is that neither nanny or parent should be fearful of a child being left to fill their own time occasionally.

Most parents, if they look back to their own childhood, grew up with a lot more freedom than they give their own children. I know I did. The parenting we all got was ‘good enough’ – and most of us turned out just fine. Perhaps its time for modern parents to loosen the ties a little.


Never say never; but you do need to say how often and how much

Lisa Rennby Lisa Renn

This thought came to mind following a conversation on a recent weekend about buying food on special. I was at a get together at a friend’s house with my kids and commented that I’d brought a six-pack of ice creams for the children for dessert; they were on sale for half price.

I am a firm believer that banning all ‘unhealthy’ food is a sure fire way to make kids run toward the party food whenever they get the chance, and it can create some unhealthy obsessions in adolescence when they have more control over their food choices. So it’s ‘never say never’: it’s unrealistic to expect that you or your children will never eat some form of less-than-healthy food, but these occasions need to be in perspective.

The conversation continued and my friend asked, “Why didn’t you buy two packets if they were on sale? Then the kids could have had two ice creams”. My other friend agreed that she too would have bought two packets. Because of my upbringing I would never have dreamed of buying, let alone bringing, two packets of ice creams. I was brought up with the philosophy that you only have one – of anything! The more I learn about how people think and shop and eat the more I understand that that philosophy has had a lot to do with helping me maintain weight as I have got older. Being a dietitian probably helps too.

While it’s true that children eat intuitively and that you shouldn’t force anyone to finish everything on their plate, it’s also true that kids need some advice and guidance on how often and how much. Many parents argue that their children can eat two icy poles because they don’t have a weight problem and they are very active, but my question is what happens when they grow up and they’ve formed these habits? It’s highly unlikely they will all of a sudden change what they have learnt as kids.

Food rules, core beliefs and ideas stick with us forever. We don’t tend to change unless we are given a really good reason to, and even then we still may find it hard.

The same thing can happen with leftovers. When you see only a small amount left over, or one biscuit left on a plate, is your natural instinct to eat it because it isn’t much, to wrap it up for later or to throw it out? Perhaps you think that if you eat it all now you won’t have any more of that unhealthy food in the house – you can start fresh tomorrow.

Another issue is fast food. We have more access to takeaway food than ever before. I had a client come to see me the other day who had emigrated from South Africa. She and her other family members had put on a lot of weight since coming here and she commented that access to fast food was mind blowing in Australia. She said that in South Africa if you wanted fast food you had to go out searching for it while in Australia you had three different choices on every street corner. This ‘advancement’ in our culture was not such an issue 30 years ago and is a large contributor to our overweight and obesity statistics.

If you are overeating to deal with waste or to ‘get rid’ of a food from your house, or if you are buying and eating two because they are on special, or if you are eating takeaway food too often, then you could be setting yourself and your kids up for some difficulty in maintaining a healthy weight.

Now, more than ever, we need to teach our kids how much and how often to eat these extra foods. It shouldn’t be never but it also shouldn’t be as much and as often as we like.

How often is sometimes?

How often should we give these ‘unhealthy’ foods to our kids – those that are high in calories, saturated fat, salt or sugar and don’t really have much goodness. You might think back to your own childhood where takeaway food may have been once per week, lollies were only on the weekend and soft drink was for parties. The lunch box did not have to contain an ‘extra’ food everyday – these were kept for special treats.

The current dietary guidelines recommend between zero and two serves of discretionary (extra) foods each day – where a tablespoon of jam is considered one serve. Perhaps if we move back to the old days and start teaching our kids that ‘one is enough’ they may thank us in the long term – just like I did my mum the other day.

Lisa Renn is an Accredited Practising Dietitian and Accredited Nutritionist. Read more articles by Lisa at her website:

More Information: Go, Slow and Whoa Foods

INA Nanny Employer Handbook DownloadHave you seen the International Nanny Association’s Nanny Employer Handbook?

Available to members and the general public, this handbook offers expert tips on:

  • Identifying a Quality Nanny Agency
  • Interviewing Candidates
  • Negotiating Salary and Vacation Time
  • Writing A Work Agreement
  • Identifying and Managing Problems
  • Employer Tax Obligations
  • Sample job applications, performance review forms, home emergency templates and more

Publication of the Nanny Employer Handbook supports the International Nanny Association’s educational mission. If you too support excellence in in-home child care, we invite you to support the International Nanny Association.

by Marcia Hall, 2011 INA NOTY  INA Nanny of the Year Award

This week you will write your Cover Letter. This is the letter that will be at the beginning of the portfolio telling the NOTY selection committee why you deserve or should be the 2015 Nanny of the Year. For a lot of nannies this is the most difficult part of the nomination process. We are asking you to sell your abilities and strengths and tell us not only why you are a great nanny, but why you would make a great example to all professional nannies. As nannies, we tend to want to underplay what we are capable of, our assets and our contributions to those around us and in the nanny field. We spend so much time caring for others and helping to mold them into great human beings we often forget how great WE are as human beings and we rarely know how to tell people about it. This is where you want to share how you “shine” as a great person and nanny.

Tips for writing your Cover Letter:

Review page 15 of the nomination packet. Pump yourself up. Read through your letters of recommendation from the past and present. Ask friends and family what qualities and assets you bring to them and others. Make sure to talk the person who is nominating you and ask him or her why you should be the 2015 NOTY. Don’t be shy. Give yourself credit and shine for the person you are. Make sure you answer the questions listed on page 15 of the packet and stay within the one page limit.

Quick Links to the previous weeks of the NOTY Portfolio Process

Week 1

Week 2

CHANGES AHEADMany kinds of transitions happen when caring for another’s children.

Beginning with a newborn, babies transition from rolling over to sitting up to crawling to pulling up to walking, formula to cereal and solid food, and making sounds to talking…and all of which happen within the first 2 years of their life. More changes come with potty training and preschool and so on and so forth.

Each day in our personal lives, as well as on the job, we deal with the transitions of growing up. Some transitions we breeze through and others we struggle with, but the most important thing that we can do with our employer during each transition is to talk about it.

Encourage your employers to baby-proof early before the baby is mobile so that by the time you have a crawling baby, you are already in the habit of latching & closing doors and putting the gates on stairs. It’s one less thing you need to remember. Baby proofing requires some thought and planning, and sitting down with your employers to discuss any concerns and to develop a plan to deal with safety issues is a good way to begin the process.

When preparing to potty train, discuss it with your employers, creating a plan so that everyone is on the same page, doing the same thing. Each developmental stage requires at least a little bit of discussion and planning. When working with our employers as a parenting team, anticipating the upcoming changes, finding solutions and talking about how to execute the plan is what makes nanny/employer relationships work.

One transition parents seldom discuss is how a nanny will transition with the family as the children grow up. This is such an important discussion. It’s easiest to have this conversation during the interview by simply asking how long the family anticipates having a nanny and how they plan to handle the transition. The discussion can also be revisited when the child begins pre-school. Knowing the long-term needs of the family will provide the nanny a plan to face the transitions and a professional path forward.

By bringing these issues up before they happen, a nanny can discuss them in a less emotional way instead of waiting to discuss them 6 months before the child starts kindergarten and the nanny must face the absence of the child in their daily life.

Having a plan for the transitions will offer the nanny and family a way to more easily engage in the midst of the transition as it occurs. Don’t treat upcoming transitions as though they will go away if you ignore them. Sometimes this is a difficult topic for an employer to bring up, but it should not be ignored.

Confronting the situation and having a mutually agreeable plan in place will be a great comfort to you as you grow with a family. Remember that lots of things can change even when planning ahead. However, if the doors of communication remain open on this topic, a traumatic and painful end to employment is less likely to occur. And as an added bonus, a nanny may also have a better chance of maintaining a lifelong relationship with the family.

Glenda ProbstA special Thank You to Glenda Propst, long time INA member, former INA Nanny of the Year, and the heart and soul behind Nanny Transitions for sharing her wisdom with us.

by Marcia Hall, 2011 INA NOTY

This week you will work on the Application and Nomination Forms of the portfolio.   INA Nanny of the Year Award

  1. Give to your nominator the Nomination Form (found on pages 6-8 of the 2015 NOTY Packet) as well as the Nomination Certification Form (page 12).  You will also want to give your nominator a firm deadline when he or she will get it all back to you.   I recommend asking for it 2 weeks before you need it because things almost always arise to make it difficult.  Since this year’s deadline is January 10th and you will want a few weeks to gather everything, print and mail them, I would ask for them no later than Dec 10th. The Nomination form also has several questions for the person nominating you to answer.  Ask them to have the questions typed and remind them of the maximum word counts.  They should be giving you back:
    • Nominator’s Certification Form signed
    • Page 1 and 2 of the Nomination Form filled out
    • Copy (file or hard copy) of the questions from page 3 of the Nomination Form
  2. Begin to think about who your NOTY references will be.  These are usually people that your nominator knows and a person that has seen you in action with children.  Sometimes the person can be other local nannies or parents that you have had play dates with.  It could be grandparents or neighbors of your charges.  You will need 3 and your nominator will list these on his or her forms.
  3. Print out an extra copy of pages 9-11 of the 2015 Nanny of the Year Award Nomination Packet, the Application Form.  Work on a test copy of this form and then write out the real one.  This will help you make it neat and clean and will also help you catch any spelling or grammar errors.
  4. Within the Application Form are 6 essay questions for you to answer.  This week you will want to start writing these.  It may take more than this week but get started on it. There are maximum word requirements for these questions.  At some point you may need to shorten the essay if it exceeds the allowed count but to start out, just write.  You will want to type these essays and you will also want to get several opinions on the content, spelling, punctuation and grammar of your work.  Computers don’t catch everything so it is important to have several “fresh” pairs of eyes looking at your essays.
  5. Take and sign the Candidate’s Certification Form on page 13 of the 2015 Nanny of the Year Award Nomination Packet.

Quick Links to the previous weeks of the NOTY Application Process

Week 1

Thorough nanny background screening by a nanny referral agency is a key service differentiator from online nanny job matching sites. A nanny agency must remain current on background screening regulations at the state and Federal levels to avoid engaging in prohibited practices. Here is a brief summary of new developments that INA agency members should be aware of.

INA Nanny Background ScreeningEqual Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) Updated Guidance (April 2014)

The EEOC issued new guidance for the use of criminal background screening records in the hiring process. The EEOC is intensely focused on insuring that criminal background screening “is not used in a discriminatory way” in the hiring process.

Household employers and nanny referral agencies clearly find background check information an important consideration when making hiring decisions. If your agency uses criminal history information in your referral process (and the INA definitely encourages responsible candidate background screening!), consider the following suggestions:

  • Don’t base a “no hire” decision solely on an applicant’s criminal history
  • Ignore arrests; only consider convictions
  • Ignore convictions that have been expunged
  • Consider the nature of the crime and its relevance to the current employment
  • Consider how long ago the crime occurred

In the guidance, which applies to all public and private employers, the EEOC recommended as a “best practice . . . that employers not ask about convictions on job applications and that, if and when they make such inquiries, the inquiries be limited to convictions for which
exclusion would be job related for the position in question and consistent with business necessity.”

Learn more.

‘Ban the Box’ Legislation Spreads to 13 States

States and localities are stepping up their efforts to remove barriers to employment for qualified workers with criminal records, specifically by removing conviction history questions from job applications—a reform commonly known as “ban the box.”

On July 19, 2014, Illinois signed  the Job Opportunities for Qualified Applicants Act which bans employers in both the private and public sector from inquiring about an applicant’s criminal history until an interview or conditional offer is made. This law becomes effective January 1, 2015.

On August 11, 2014, New Jersey signed the “Opportunity to Compete Act,” Bill 1999 into law. The Act limits the ability of covered New Jersey employers to inquire into a job applicant’s criminal record.  Private employers with 15 or more employees are covered by the New Jersey law. The law becomes effective March 1, 2015.

It is important to note that while most “Ban the Box” legislation applies only to employment screening of applicants to public jobs and positions with government contractors, many private companies are voluntarily conforming. This does not preclude including criminal records convictions in nanny background screening; rather, it prohibits asking for this information on an employment application.

Learn more.

 Lawsuits Alleging FCRA Violations Increase

Industry insiders report an increase of lawsuits alleging employers and staffing agencies violated the Federal Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) as it applies to pre-employment background screening. Employers must follow strict FCRA guidelines when using credit bureau records in conjunction with background screening. It is common practice in pre-employment background screening to use an SSN trace type search to determine all names and addresses used by the applicant over a 7 year period. This search relies on limited access to credit bureau records, and is NOT a report on an applicants credit worthiness (commonly referred to as a Credit Report). 

Most lawsuits accuse employers of illegally denying applicants employment based off information taken from background checks without giving the applicants opportunity to dispute the information. 

The nanny agency must:

1. Have the applicant sign an authorization for the background screening and provide a mandatory FRCA disclosure to applicants.

2. Perform the screening (or engage an outside agency to do so on the agency’s behalf).

3. Before taking Adverse Action (denying the applicant the position based on the results of the background screen), you must provide the applicant with the following: (1) Pre-Adverse Action Notification; (2) Copy of the Consumer Report (background screening report); and (3) Summary of Consumer Rights.

4. Rescind the conditional job offer (Take Adverse Action).

This is just a short summary. The INA recommends that you become thoroughly familiar with the regulations that apply in your state.

Learn more.

HomeWork Solutions Nanny Payroll and Tax ServicesA special thank you to INA-member HomeWork Solutions for providing this update. HomeWork Solutions offers both household payroll and household payroll tax compliance services to US families on a nationwide basis and has partnered with INA nanny agencies since 1993. HWS partners with National Crime Search to provide pre-employment background screening services.

Do you have specialized knowledge, experience or resources that you want to share with your fellow INA members? We encourage you to submit original, informational articles to the INA to be considered for publication. Authors of selected articles will receive attribution in the post. Email your submissions to the INA Office.

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