Warning Signs to Look out for When Hiring a Nanny

August 24, 2016

For a parent hiring a nanny is a crucial decision. Ensuring that a nanny will give your children loving and safe care is very important. When you go through the process of interviewing nannies, there are certain warning signs you must pay attention to.

CanadianNanny.ca founder and child care expert, Martha Scully is here to help you identify these red flags you should be aware of.

Part of her how to hire a nanny series this article goes over the warning signs to look out for when interviewing a nanny.

Lack of Professionalism

A professional nanny who is on time and takes her job seriously is a valuable asset. But, how do you weed out potential caregivers who don’t act like professionals? If the job candidate does any of the following, you should think twice about hiring her:

  • Arrives late to or misses the interview without reasonable reason
  • Talks negatively about former employers
  • Doesn’t pay attention when you talk about her duties or your children
  • Interrupts you when you speak.
  • Answers cell phone during an interview (unless expecting a very important phone call)
  • Curses or uses vulgar language that you wouldn’t want your children to repeat
  • Clothing is dirty or her outfit is very inappropriate
  • Post negative comments about friends, family or past employers on social media.
  • Bring someone else to the interview
  • Asks if she can have friends visit while on the job
  • Asks very personal questions about your family
  • Only talks about salary
  • Wants to be paid under the table

Questionable Integrity & Honesty

A caregiver must be trustworthy. She must have unquestionable integrity. Most of all, you must feel completely secure when leaving this person alone with your children. So, how can you tell if a potential nanny is untrustworthy during the interview process? Consider it so if she does any of the following:

  • How does the candidate react when you say that you plan to drop by once in a while to see how things are going. If the nanny looks uncomfortable with the idea, think twice about hiring her. You need someone you can trust and who would welcome unexpected visits.
  • Doesn’t make eye contact with you or your children
  • Won’t submit to a background check
  • Unable to provide references
  • Refuses to provide you with her SIN # or birth date (after you hire)
  • Won’t go into detail about why she left her previous nanny position or offer an explanation for termination of employment
  • Doesn’t provide you with links to her social media pages
  • Won’t discuss her past
  • Appears younger or less knowledgeable than her resume would lead you to believe
  • Won’t answer a specific question about her job — for example, if you ask “What would you do if my child got a fever of 103” or “How would you handle it if my child fell down the stairs.” and she gives a vague answer.

Doubtful Interest in Children

A great nanny is passionate about her profession and has genuine love and enthusiasm for children. A nanny who has no passion for children will not bond with yours. Here are some tell-tale signs your potential nanny may not be passionate about her career:

  • Doesn’t ask about your children
  • Doesn’t seem to listen when you talk about your children
  • Asks more questions about salary, hours and benefits than about your children or her duties
  • Mentions money or other perks rather than stating she does it for the love of kids and family when you ask about her career choice
  • Gives a vague answer when asked what she loves most about being a nanny
  • Lacks knowledge of appropriate child care and ways to discipline a child
  • Doesn’t ask about your child’s routine or the manner in which you discipline
  • Asks no questions at all

If Children are present during the interview the nannies interest in the children will be revealing.

  • Is there a genuine enthusiasm for the children?
  • Does she take the time to learn your children’s’ name?
  • Does not listen to your children when they talk — isn’t willing to participate in a conversation and does not ask questions
  • Doesn’t play with your children, even if invited to do so

Emotional Instability or Poor Self-Worth

Being a nanny can be stressful at times. You want to hire a nanny that can handle day to day stress of caring for children and sometimes being isolated. A nanny who cries or has an outburst over the slightest issue might not be a person who can handle the day to day challenges of being a nanny.

If you speak about inappropriate behavior with this type of individual, she may take it personally rather than realize you are simply protecting your children.

Here are warning signs that a nanny may be emotionally unstable:

  • Most of her jobs were short term, typically less than a year
  • Frequent moves from city to city within a short period of time with no logical reason
  • Gaps in her resume or long periods between jobs and an unwillingness to explain the gaps
  • Mentioning of personal issues that aren’t relevant to the job, such as boyfriend or friendship issues
  • Talking about herself negatively — has poor self-esteem or being of little self-worth.

If there are unexplained gaps in the resume, probe to find out what the candidate was doing during this period. Look for someone who is honest about the past and has learned from mistakes she has made.


For a parent, finding a nanny with the right qualities is essential. Too many of these red flags when it comes to professionalism, integrity, interest in children, and emotional stability during the interview process may be a sign that she is not the best nanny for you.

Let Us Guide You Through The Process of Hiring a Nanny

About Us

CanadianNanny.ca is Canada’s largest and most trusted online service for finding nannies and babysitters. We have been recognized by Today’s Parent, CanadaAM, the Globe & Mail, Reader’s Digest, Canadian Living Magazine, and many reputable parenting websites and publications across Canada.

Contact Us

Although we may be a self-serve nanny service, we are still very much devoted to helping families and caregivers succeed in their search for a match through our site. Our customer support team is always here and happy to offer any advice to our potential and existing customers.

Need a Nanny?

View Nanny Profiles Near You

Post Your Nanny Job

Need a Nanny Job?

View Nanny Jobs in Canada

Post Your Nanny Profile

Canadian Nanny Payroll and Tax Service powered by Heartpayroll