Babysitters Wanted

10 Tips for Hiring a Babysitter on Craigslist

Despite being the victim of some pretty nasty press when it comes to childcare, Craigslist can be a valuable resource for busy parents. By exercising caution and taking steps to protect your family, you can ensure your safety while looking for a babysitter on Craigslist with these steps.

  1. Be Specific – When you post an ad, you’re likely to be flooded with responses unless you’re very specific. State your needs clearly, emphasizing deal-breakers, while remaining as friendly as possible.
  2. Hide Your Email Address – Utilize the “hide my email address” option before you publish your ad to ward off mountains of spam and to protect yourself from phishing.
  3. Don’t Include Your Phone Number – As anyone who’s ever posted their phone number can tell you, there are some characters perusing Craigslist. Unless you want to receive calls from everyone under the sun at very odd hours, stick with communicating by email at first.
  4. Request a Resume – It’s a good idea to include the phrase “responses without a resume will not be considered.” You’ll want to be able to look over a resume at your leisure, taking as long as you want to inspect it.
  5. Have a Minimum Requirement of Three References – Most job seekers have the resume-standard two references, but it might be wise to request a third for the sake of your peace of mind.
  6. Call References First – When you’ve narrowed the choices down a bit, call the references before setting up an interview. Remember that anyone with a flair for words can make a resume look nice, but former employers will give you the real scoop on their character and work ethic.
  7. Run a Background Check – If you think you’ll be interviewing several, signing up for a membership with a background checking service could be your best bet. Background checks can get pricey, especially if you’re running several.
  8. Arrange to Interview in Public – After the references have cleared and the background check has come back, arrange to set up interviews in a public place. A park or playground is ideal, as a restaurant or coffee shop can be too loud and distracting.
  9. Discuss Rates  - If you’re optimistic at the interview stage, then discuss wages. Discussing it before you’re sure about hiring a particular person can cause them to feel that they’ve got the job when you’re not ready to make an offer.
  10. Introduce Your Child – When you’ve finished the entire process, then invite the sitter to your house to meet your child, or introduce them at the playground after the interview. Give them a while to acclimate themselves to one another, then observe your child. If you’re confident that they feel comfortable with the prospective sitter, it’s time to work out your agreement.

Though it seems laborious and overly-cautious, going through the background checking process and following up with references will do wonders for your peace of mind. Knowing that you’ve done absolutely everything possible to ensure that your babysitter is qualified and safe is worth all of the trouble in the end.