Saturday

..."a stickler for politeness"....

Received Saturday, August 4, 2007- Perspective & Opinion
I just sat and interviewed the person I had narrowed down as my top candidate this afternoon.
I had already had a phone interview with her, spoken with her references who raved about how wonderful she was and read her background information the agency sent over. She arrived on time, dressed impeccably and answered all of the questions with just about the right answers. Am I being extraordinarily particular or would the following bother you? I noticed when I greeted her and said "I am so happy to meet you", she smiled and shook my hand. I offered her something to drink, she accepted and I returned with the beverage. (No comment). We showed her around the house (the reason we had pre checked her references) and she didn't say anything. She just had a stern-well maybe focused look on her face. She took the train up from Brooklyn, so as per the agency's recommendation we reimbursed her travel expenses. I handed her the money. (No comment). I thanked her for coming out and told her it was a pleasure to meet her. She smiled. Oh, and at one point she needed to use the bathroom and she asked, "where's the bathroom at?". Either I am a stickler for politeness, her previous bosses were not or she was just nervous? Do I start over?

44 comments:

CA Nanny said...

I'm not in the same situation as you, but I'm a nanny who is a definite stickler for politeness. I believe in please, thank you, you're welcome, and excuse me (among others) to the fullest extent. If you're old enough to talk, you're old enough for common courtesy and manners!

Usually you'd think people put their best foot foward during an interview process, so if she's polite now, I can't see it getting any better. If this is something that will truly continue to bother you, I'd say still keep looking. I know most Mothers that I've worked for hired me partly because we both have some of the same beliefs and ideas when it comes to taking care, and raising children. If you two don't share being polite among other things, it might end up working your nerves in the long run when maybe you should have just trusted your judgement from the beginning!

Anonymous said...

Where is this nanny from?
Certain nannies are notorious for their inability to be gracious.

PASS

Anonymous said...

maybe it wasn't her?
some of them people trade around green cards like playing cards and had out ss# too. The person with the good refs can get money from th other ones. when i went to a interview i got my pictures taken by the man. he wouldnt to make sure i am who i said. and i am. but not everyone is.

br said...

hijack--are all the nannies in hiding this past week--or maybe it is too hot and they come out -- take the kids to the park-- and dont stay long enough to get up on their phone and chats--

Anonymous said...

5:51 - what on Earth are you talking about?

OP - the following would bother me as well. I would definitly pass as I would want a better example caring for my children. Thank you - but PASS :)

Anonymous said...

Lady, I hope you pass on this particular candidate. You don't want your kids to mimic her behavior, do you?

And with that sort of English (where's the bathroom AT?) if you decide to keep her ask her to speak in her native tongue. Hopefully it's not English!

Best of luck.

Anonymous said...

I agree with these comments, I'm a nanny myself and I think manners are extemely important, if she doesn't have any herself then how can she teach them to your children? By the way it was generous of you to reimburse her travel expenses...she should have been grateful as you were not obligated to do that.

Anonymous said...

Don't even think of hiring this person!! She obviously doesn't even know the basics in terms of how to behave. I am surprised to hear you would even consider hiring someone who behaved this way. Forget it!

Anonymous said...

I have had several experiences similar to yours when I did a nanny search about a year ago. I think that some parents are just not around their nanny enough to know much about her and give a reference because it is required.

I think even if the nanny/babysitter is just so-so, previous employers feel obligated to say whatever they can to make her look good. Perhaps then they won't feel guilty for letting her go?

It's the only explanation I have for mediocre candidates getting glowing references.

I would pass because your gut is telling you something. It's not easy finding the right person. Good luck in your search.

Anonymous said...

it's not just a question of politeness, it's also an indication of the basic friendliness (or in this case, unfriendliness) of the nanny. someone who doesn't say "thank you" or use other social smoothing words/phrases, or who doesn't make requests nicely, is someone who is just not a friendly or thoughtful person. i would not want my dc to spend all day with someone who isn't inherently nice, kind or friendly.

Helen said...

I agree with the above. I think that yes, start over. I don't like the sound of any of them.

I will say this, many parents do not understand that children learn by example. I sat at a table recently with a friend and her nanny and the nanny was barking at the children to say please or say thank you or this or that. But when the nanny needed something, she just said "hand me the pepper", "get me some bread". I seriously wanted to get up and walk around to their side of the table and bash the nanny and my sil's head together.

CHILDREN LEARN BY EXAMPLE.
CHILDREN LEARN BY EXAMPLE.
CHILDREN LEARN BY EXAMPLE.
CHILDREN LEARN BY EXAMPLE.
CHILDREN LEARN BY EXAMPLE.
CHILDREN LEARN BY EXAMPLE.
CHILDREN LEARN BY EXAMPLE.
CHILDREN LEARN BY EXAMPLE.
CHILDREN LEARN BY EXAMPLE.
CHILDREN LEARN BY EXAMPLE.

helen said...

(of course not literally)

t.r. said...

ah helen, you realize that you did let it slip that it was your sil and not your friend...

Anonymous said...

Ha, ha, ha! Oh Helen. You're so busted!

Anonymous said...

It is important for parents and nannies to say please and thank you TO children. They learn by imitating what they hear. If you want your children to have good manners, you need a nanny who will model the behavior you want your children to learn.
OP, keep looking. I would also tell the agency why you are passing on this nanny. It will help them match you. GL
A Nanny

Anonymous said...

I agree. Take a pass. I interviewed several nanny candidates with glowing references that were not a good match for my family. When I hired my nanny I wanted more than a babysitter--some parents are happy as long as their kids are safe. I wanted a professional caregiver to help educate and raise my kids as I want them raised. If the authority figure who will be in charge of them for 40+ hours a week is crass and ungracious, what do you think they will learn? Hold out for someone who will be good for your children and has the values you want them to learn.

Heidi said...

This post made me realize how infrequently I hear "thank you" from my nanny. If I bring her lunch or a coffee, she accepts it. But she never says thank you. I complained about this to my friend who told me that *certain types* do not like to say thank-you because to say thank-you is to acknowledge that I or someone went out of the way for them. And by not saying "thank-you", we are to understand that what we have just done is not extra but par for the course.

And Helen, too funny!

Elizabeth said...

I agree w/ most of the theories above. I think someone touched on "where is she from?" I'm not saying it's ok, but is it a cultural thing? That's not an excuse, but a possible explanation. If you are not cool with her, follow your gut. It's bugging you enough to post it so you need to move on.

Anonymous said...

Something to realize is that most of the agencies out there are crooked. I see on here time and time again, people say "how did this nanny ever make it through an interview". or "Why don't the parents see how bad she is". That is because the agency gets paid when they place a nanny. So if a 9 foot tall, walking, talking piece of dung walked in their office, the agency (excepting perhaps 5 percent of the agencies) are going to coach the nanny on what to say and what not to say. I have interviewed a nanny in my home who filled out this very indepth questionairre on what she would do if the phone rang if a child was in the tub and all types of hypotheticals. The nanny herself, when we were reviewing her answers told me what she originally said, before her placement guide changed the answers. The agencies want to make these people look appealing. It is a tremendous insult to the legitimately great candidates out there. I have also heard of nanny agencies helping references rewrite their letters of references, doing their resumes for them, showing them how to fix their hair and having them call the employer to express interest in the job while the placement director was at her side.

If you are a family that has a moderate turnover, new nanny/housekeeper every 1-2 years and you pay your fee on time, you get automatic dibs at the best candidates. Family's are ranked not on how much money they have but on the difficulty they cause the agency (effort extended) and the turnaround in paying their placement fee.
You might think that placement supervisor is on your side but she is on the $ side. The end. The nanny is the commodity. Once the placement supervisor interviews you or looks at your family application and finds out what you want, they take a look and see who they have that matches. Some times there are matches. Most of the time they force those puzzle pieces to fit.

Best way to find a nanny-
Ask a nanny you admire. Ask her who she knows.

c said...

reminds me of the nanny I had that would tell my three year old not to talk with his mouth full, while her mouth was jammed with a fistful of food.

she lasted all of four days.

Anonymous said...

I dont think it matters where she is from.

I live in NY and we have some of the rudest people here, kids, parents, all colors extremely rude.

In reality if someone is caring for a child or children, the kids learn what they see everyday and will eventually imitate the behaviours around them.

If that is who you are, and you expect if from the person taking care of your young ones, then this candidate is definitely not the one for you.

You have to make the choice and therefore go with your gut feeling. Mother knows best (or should)

Yaya said...

I agree-Pass on her. It will only get worse and your resentment will grow. And at an interview?? What is wrong with people these days?

Good luck in your search. I am a nanny and my advice is to go with your gut instinct on people. Personally, I think the agencies are just a waste of money for the families when you can do a background check on your own for a fraction of the cost. The best nannies are always found through word of mouth of another great nanny. Ask your friends who have good nannies if their nanny knows anyone looking for a job at the moment. It's that 'nanny-connection' that gets the winners!

Anonymous said...

7:51&8:36pm - Please tell me what a "sil" is?????

Anonymous said...

sil= sister in law

tell me, do these *certain people* come from a large island in the carribean?

Anonymous said...

Nervous or not, she should have basic good manners. And she sounds a little detached and cold as well.
What sort of nanny do you want for your child? Someone cold and detached or someone who is naturally warm, sweet-natured and has at least a smattering of manners?
You're call. Best of luck.

Anonymous said...

5:11 - Thank you! (like my manners?)

Anonymous said...

Here are some of my personal interview tips: Did they show up on time?--good sign. Offer the interviewee a glass of water/cup of tea or coffee--did they say either yes please or no thank you--good sign. Have your youngest with you when you come to the door--do they acknowledge the child, smile at them, etc--another good sign. People who are naturally responsible, polite and warm demonstrate that during the interview process--even when they are nervous. If you are getting indications they are rude or cold in an interview, that's how they will be when they come to work for you.

maggie said...

The lack of manners is synonimous with the absence of class. Yet another thing I would never allow!

Are the pickings really that slim?

Anonymous said...

im a nanny and i wouldnt hire her lol i say keep looking. being nervous doesnt make you forget to be polite for crying out loud. if its a cultural thing you wouldnt want her to pass that on to your kids so i say pass.

Anonymous said...

My 2-year-old has better manners. I wouldn't hire her at all.

Kelly said...

Keep looking. Regardless of culture or first language, she needs to know the basics of communication. Did she even talk to the kids, or ask to see their rooms or paintings? Please keep looking. This nanny needs to learn her "thank you", and "may I please use your bathroom". I bet all the bloggers on this site can say "thank you" in more than two languages, so I don't know why it is so hard for this nanny to open her mouth and say it.

Kelly said...

I agree with Yaya. Sometimes word-of-mouth is better than having a bunch of strangers help you find a nanny. A nanny or parent in her/his right mind will not refer a strange nanny because they know that if something bad happens, it will come back to bite them. I often find myself telling crazy nannies "I don't know of anyone who needs a nanny right now". If you must use an agency, use a good agency.

Anonymous said...

would not hire her..go with your feelings..she spends way to much time with your kids and teach your kids to act in public....manners are importend.. this is a n annie that will not interact with your kids and talk to her friends..no way first impressions are very importend

op said...

This is the OP again. I signed up with another agency today. I'm hoping it is one of the better ones as I imagine there is much truth in what 1108 says. I phoned each of the final three today and told them we were going to take our search in a new direction. I didn't want to leave any of the candidates hanging. I'll let you know if and when I have an update. As a final note, those three final candidates were the end of a very long search. The exhausted part of me just wanted to pick the lesser of three evils and be done with it. I recognize that would be a decision I would regret later, but finding a great nanny has been harder than finding the right man!

Anonymous said...

I actually had luck with sittercity.com. I found a good full time nanny, an occasional as needed emergency sitter and an excellent tutor there. Although I see some people on the site complain they can't find anyone, so it may be dependent on your area. I'm in Westchester County, NY. Whatever source you are using, you personally need to do due diligence--interview carefully, check references, background check, etc. Personally, I found the agencies useless and they don't do the types of checks that need to be done.

Anonymous said...

I have gone against my instincts b/c a nanny had great references and I was so desperate to get someone in quickly. It never works out. Trust your instincts, that is the most important thing. "Where's your bathroom at?" doesn't bother me at all but there should be genuine warmth in this person's demeanor. OP, you did not mention at all how the candidate(s) interacted with your child. That is the first thing I would look for. Even if your child is a little baby, do they smile at her, play peek-a-boo, give her a toy to get her to engage, etc? Do they look like they LIKE your child and want to spend time with her (or him)?

Anonymous said...

OP, I think one reason you are having a hard time finding a desirable candidate is the time of year. Many nanny jobs end when the children start school full time. There will be a larger pool to choose from in Sept. GL
A Nanny

Anonymous said...

Another take on this. Is it possible that she got to your home, saw something she didn't like and decided acting cold was the best way to graciously not have to deal with being offered a job and then saying no? Just a thought. It seems a bit off that a person would be good on the phone and then suddenly be different.

Sue Doe-Nim said...

I don't have/need/want a nanny but I am a mother and children repeat what they hear.

My kids say please and thank you and so do yours because they hear you say it.

Your children are about to spend more hours each day with this woman then they do with you.

She should be perfect.

She should have manners.

Caroline said...

try enannysource.com - the nannies write their own profiles and there are many to choose from. You might have to do some of the reference checking (you should anyway) and SSN and drivers license checks, but it will be worth it. You'll also know that the candidates are somewhat computer literate, whle not neccesarily a prerequisite of the position, it does indicate a certain level of education and the ability to rely on themselves.

Anonymous said...

PASS PASS PASS, if it bothers you now, how are you going to feel in a couple of weeks when your children have gotten used to her & you still aren't.

Anonymous said...

Like many other posters, I agree that you should search for someone else. But one thing besides her lack of manners, is also her inability to express herself.

One thing to keep in mind is your children's language development, when looking for someone. I personally would look for someone who is comfortable talking and who enjoys chatting to children, regardless of their ages.

Anonymous said...

Let this nanny go. She coarse and where manners is concerned would be a poor influence on your children. Politeness is obviously one of your pet peeves so continue the interviewing process.

Anonymous said...

Pass on this nanny. Keep interviewing