Nanny Personality and Risk Assessments – Benefits and Challenges
Nanny personality and risk assessments are psychological tests that help parents assess potential Nannies, Au Pairs or Babysitters. The tests provide a better insight into the caregiver’s personality and traits, as well as an assessment of possible risk factors, and allow parents to select the best possible nanny. Similar tests are used by corporate and government organizations worldwide (including some 80% of the US Fortune 500 companies and 75% of the UK Times 100 companies) as well as by some Nanny, Babysitter and Au Pair agencies and childcare organizations. As a matter of fact, such tests are mandated by the US government for all Au Pair agencies.
Why are such tests needed? Aren’t interviews and checking references sufficient to select a nanny? Most recruitment specialists agree that the validity of interviews is quite low, even when conducted by trained professionals. Most parents are not trained interviewers and are usually lacking the necessary experience to properly formulate interview questions, read between the lines of what the applicant says, interpret non-verbal signs and body language, etc.
A Nanny Personality and Risk Assessment test can be considered as a very detailed and structured interview that overcomes some of the parents’ face-to-face interview limitations. The test includes several hundred questions, covering all relevant issues, including questions which parents may feel uncomfortable to ask in a face-to-face interview. Personal traits covered may include responsibility, obedience and discipline, self control, emotional stability, coping with pressure, positive attitude and service awareness. Risk assessment issues should include violent behavior, drug abuse, drinking problems, truthful reporting, respect to property and more. In a similar manner to an ordinary interview, online interactive tests of this sort allow different questions to be asked according to prior responses, as well as provide real-time feedback to the applicant triggered by specific answers that are considered problematic.
Yet, the main benefit of the Nanny Personality and Risk Assessment test is in the accuracy of the information provided. A properly constructed and administered test includes various mechanisms which are aimed at identifying misleading and inaccurate responses; the large number of questions (some repeating themselves in different versions), the way those questions are structured (which may sometimes seem peculiar), the time constraints and some additional mechanisms (which won’t be detailed in this article for obvious reasons).
Using a Nanny Personality and Risk assessment by parents may also face certain challenges. Some parents are concerned that the use of such a test may offend an applicant and create a bad impression. While this may be true and certain applicants may even refuse to take such tests, parents should always keep in mind that such tests are a standard procedure for applicants in many business and government organizations, as well as part of the screening process in a number of Nanny and Au Pair agencies. There is really no good reason why parents recruiting a nanny on their own, will not benefit from the use of such assessments. There is no other position as important and as critical as that of a child caregiver. Parents shouldn’t compromise on the screening process and use all possible means to make the best-informed decision. To minimize objections, parents should explain to the nanny about the test, why they feel it is important, and ask her to put herself in their place, facing a similar decision about her own kids.
Another challenge is for parents to avoid using the test results as a single decision factor. Parents should keep in mind that Nanny Personality and Risk assessments do not replace interviews or any other component of the existing caregiver screening process. As any other psychological tool, they are not 100% accurate and should be considered a decision supporting tool and not a decision making tool. When hiring a nanny, parents should always interview applicants, check references and use their intuition, which is as important and useful as any scientific tool.
Nanny Personality and Risk Assessments should be used correctly to ensure test results are valid. The applicant must read fluently the language in which the test is administered. Applicant’s who are not fluent in the test language should not be tested. Tests are also designed for a specific purpose. For example, a test designed to assess applicants for a job should not be used for self-test purposes, such as by someone who wishes to check if he is suitable for a certain position or occupation.
Designed and used correctly, Nanny Personality and Risk assessments are invaluable for parents who are looking for a nanny for their child, and should become a standard component of the screening process of any childcare provider.
Written by Yossi Pinkas, TakeCare, www.take-care.me