The Over Qualified Candidate

I recently opened my own nanny placement agency and babysitting service. This is something I have always wanted to do, and with my experience, education and background in early childhood education (degree in early childhood education, four semesters each of psychology and sociology, classroom teaching and nanny experience, experience with all age groups and special needs) I figured if I didn't throw caution to the wind and do it, I was never going to do it. I have a full time job teaching two year olds, and I realize that I won't become a millionaire by owning a nanny placement agency, nor will I get rich from it. Part of the reason why I opened my agency is because I love working with children and families, and because the agencies in town are less than spectacular in my opinion.

     Agency N has stuck up nannies.(I met one of their nannies several years ago when I applied for the position with her then nanny family-the nanny told me that if I wanted to be taken seriously I needed to give myself a "makeover" of sorts, such as my resume, email address and appearance. She said she knew, because she had been a nanny for several years and placed with the best agency who doesn't take just anyone. Last year, that nanny became the new nanny for a family that left the childcare center where I work. We passed each other in the hall, and I believe she remembered me from several years ago, as the look on her face said it all. Yes, there is a thing such as constructive criticism, but what she gave me was far from that.) When I think of that nanny, I wonder exactly how she is a nanny, when she speaks to complete strangers like they are beneath her? I shudder as to how she treats children. According to the agency's website, she gives a testimonial about how she has preferential treatment from the agency and how every interview she has had, she is offered the position. Really? Talk about scary.

     Agency P has an owner who is a flake. Long story short, I can't see how she is an agency owner, considering she can't keep a straight story about applications and candidates. I have never met any of her nannies, yet I know if she is a flake, what can she offer for nannies?

     If I don't succeed in my efforts, I will consider going back to being a nanny, or should I say transitioning from a part time to a full time nanny. The thing is, I have no desire to apply for nanny positions, and won't go through either of the agencies here in town, so I am limited to Sitter City, Care, and CL. Not the best places to find work, but what else can a gal do?

     A few years ago (2) I applied for a full time nanny position from The postion was to start in late summer/early fall, and involved caring for a 19 month old and a 10 week old. Talk about time management and needing experience with both age groups at once. As an agency owner, I would not feel comfortable placing someone young or with little experience in a position like that. I would prefer to place an older, seasoned nanny with ample experience and education. The interview: DB and I messaged each other on and set up the interview. He mentioned MB would be joining him, as well as their toddler. We met on my birthday at Starbucks, where I gathered four oversized chairs so MB would be comfortable, as she was due to deliver any day. I sat there, waiting, and this guy sat down next to me. It was DB-MB, as DB stated MB was tired, so she stayed home to rest. Understandable, and no big deal.

     We start the interview. A brief glance at my portfolio, and he hands it back to me. He then looks over my resume. "This is a great resume. I'm in HR, and this is very well written." He continues reading.

     "Thank you," I respond, feeling grateful for the compliment.

     He pauses, and looks at me. "I love the resume, but I have one concern. You are over qualified, and I feel like you are taking a step back from what you are currently doing".

     Huh? "'Over-qualified'"? Seventeen years in the field and I have never ever heard that from anyone. And as for what I was currently doing, I was teaching in a childcare center. There really is no difference between being a teacher and a nanny, with the exception of the number of children in your care and the work environment.

     I didn't know how to respond, so I said that I wasn't over qualified, but the best qualified, given my background, degree and experience, plus the fact that having children so close in age would require experience and time management skills, something that I obtained working in group childcare for so long. I also pointed out that I felt I was taking a step backward, but in a different direction, as teaching and being a nanny are similar, just have different work environments. Truthfully, I felt like ending the interview the second it started, because I felt insulted. What did he consider "qualified"?

     During the remainder of the interview, he talked the position down, stating things like he couldn't grasp me being a nanny with my level of experience, why was I wasting his time interviewing with my background, and why would I lower my standards to be a nanny? He mentioned they had a nanny when they lived down south, and that their old nanny was nothing like me in terms of anything. The interview ended and I never heard from them again.

     Have any of you ever dealt with a parent/interview like this? If so, how did you handle it? Were you offered the position? As an agency owner, that was a learning experience: parents need to sit down and write down what they are looking for in a nanny (age, experience, etc) with have an open heart and mind. Nannies come in all backgrounds. Just because I have the credentials that I possess, that doesn't mean I am lowering my standards. Could it be I really love my career and want to take it into a new direction? Of course.

1 comment:

Qualified said...

In the situation as you describe it I think overqualified means he thought teachers make way more than the amount he was offering and, he wouldn't be comfortable asking someone with higher education to do basic household chores. Overqualified is another way of saying I don't think you'd like this job and you'll leave for something better.