Last updated on Feb 10th, 2021 at 08:58 am

I have been placing staff in homes to take care of children for 11 years now. I am often asked by new parents why they should make use of an agency rather than sourcing someone on their own.

It is a lot cheaper to hire a nanny from an ad in the local newspaper or on Facebook, a referral from a friend, your local community centre or church. While there are success stories of these searches, you also hear about parents’ frustrations and difficult situations when they are looking for a caregiver.

Why choose an agency?

You are paying an agency to provide you with a service and while you may not have walked into a store and bought an item and taken it home, you have made a very important decision about who you will be entrusting with your most precious being, your child. The nanny will be responsible for the daily care and wellbeing of your child and you want to know that when you leave home in the morning you do it feeling “I have made the right decision for both my child and myself”.

The agency’s expertise come into play with being able to wade through the candidates and identify the most experienced, honest and reliable person for you from the influx of jobseekers that try anything to secure a position.

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Here’s why you should use a childcare recruitment agency:

1. You’ll save time

When you get home from work, the last thing you want to do is sit and read through streams of applicants and call possible candidates. It’s easier to submit an application form to an agency with your requirements and have them send you only three of the best candidates suited to your requirements.

2. You don’t always know exactly what you are looking for

It’s up to the agency to find out the family dynamics and make suggestions on what type of candidate they think will work best for you. Sometimes the agency will send different types of candidates for the parents to interview, so the agency can get a better feel for what the parents are looking for.

Also see: 5 tips for finding the perfect nanny.

3. Candidates are screened

Any candidate who the agency arranges for you to see has been interviewed in person already. The agency would have confirmed that they are literate; they have a copy of their ID, passport or, work permit; and have an up-to-date CV with all the relevant information and copies of certificates and references.

4. Candidates can be properly trained

While childminders and au pairs in South Africa don’t require any formal qualifications, there are many courses that train candidates to equip them with the necessary skills to perform their job to the best of their ability. An agency will have the knowledge and understanding of which courses are best suited for which position.

5. Confidentiality

By using an agency you don’t need to place an advert yourself, so nobody will know that you are looking for staff. You may have a current childminder or au pair and you don’t want her to know that you are looking for a new person, or you may not want your contact information available on the internet. Whatever your reasons may be, by using an agency your privacy is respected.

6. Access to a large pool of candidates

Any agency that has been in operation for a long time should have a large pool of candidates.

Most families don’t think about this when they are in the process of recruiting someone.

It takes a fair amount of time for an agency to build up a good database but once they have one this is a great asset to a family who needs a candidate to start urgently.

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