How To Take Care Of 2 Month Old Baby Boy Au Pair Screening and Fluffy Personality Tests

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Au Pair Screening and Fluffy Personality Tests

The most important role of au pair agencies is to ensure that the au pairs they provide are suitable for the job and trustworthy. This is done by screening au pairs through interviews, reference checks, background checks and personality tests.

Au Pair agencies in the US are required by federal regulations to use personality tests as part of the Au Pair screening process. Personality tests are important because no screening method is 100% accurate, and a combination of several tools is the only way to increase the overall accuracy of pre-employment screening.

Here’s why:

· Interviews often fail to reveal important facts or problematic personality traits, and their predictive value is limited, even when conducted by adequately trained interviewers. In a recent case involving adoption fraud by a nanny, the mother who interviewed her said, “She seemed like a great person, very articulate, very smart, seemed so caring and so nice…she sounded like a textbook , a great babysitter for me. Perfect.” The “successful interview” wasn’t the only point of failure in the screening process. The nanny was hired through a national website that connects parents with local babysitters and nannies, had experience with babies and toddlers, and reportedly passed a criminal background check.

· References are very subjective. How valuable is the opinion of someone you don’t know? What are his expectations, values, standards? In another recent case, a live-in nanny was arrested on child pornography charges 5 months after being hired through a well-known full-service nanny agency. According to the parents, “the agency provided great job references.”

· Background screening is extremely important, but full of holes. The scope, timeliness and accuracy of the various databases searched may be limited. For example, a nanny was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol, with her charges, ages 2 and 8, in the car. Months later, the nanny’s profile was still displayed on another national website that connects parents with babysitters, as her original background showed no offending. Furthermore, every criminal does not have a criminal record until his first offense (or indeed first conviction). Will this first offense harm your children?

Personality tests became mandatory for screening au pairs in the US following cases such as that of Louise Woodward, a young English au pair convicted of involuntary manslaughter of an eight-month-old baby who died of shaken baby syndrome, and another case of a Swiss au pair who escaped from the burning home without trying to save the three-month-old baby she was caring for.

Such tests offer additional and valuable insight into the au pair’s character and personality traits and can highlight problems that are very difficult to identify through an interview, such as problems working under pressure or a tendency to violent behavior. The importance of personality tests as an au pair screening tool is growing because interviews are less effective when conducted over the phone rather than face-to-face, and the databases used for background screening in many countries are often not of the same quality as those used in the US.

Has the mandatory requirement of personality tests made au pair screening better? Not necessarily.

Some Au Pair agencies in the US seem to use inappropriate personality tests. According to Ilona Bray, “Any Au Pair agency can take a personality test off the internet that has nothing to do with childcare and give it to candidates and still be compliant.” (Nanny and Au Pairs, Hiring In-Home Childcare, USA Today, 2010).

At least a few Au Pair agencies appear to be compromising the quality of the tests, in an effort to comply with federal regulations at minimal cost. One of the tests used by au pair agencies is Booraem-Psychometric Test for Au Pair Flowers, which is limited to answering whether an au pair is likely to lose emotional control under stress or is more likely to make poor safety judgments when under stress. When asked about a more complete test of personality attributes, dr. Flowers, co-author of the test, responded, “A test for these positive attributes would be possible to design, but difficult and expensive to develop.” He had a similar response regarding the creation of reports that could be shown to parents: “The problem is that the cost of assessment would increase significantly if individualized reports were generated.”

Costs are indeed an issue for many parents, and raising children is a significant financial burden. But compromising the safety and well-being of our children by accepting less than optimal screening, just to save a few dollars, can have disastrous consequences and cannot be accepted. Furthermore, using adequate personality tests can reduce the chances of rematch and associated costs.

Not all personality tests are created equal and you need to use the right type of test. Risk analysis, which highlights possible risk factors, is an extremely important component of personality tests. For example, NannyTest covers the following: violent behaviour, drug abuse, drinking problems, truthful reporting, respect for property and more. In addition, the test assesses personality traits such as responsibility, obedience and discipline, self-control, emotional stability, coping with pressure, positive attitude and service consciousness.

In order to protect our children, we must ensure that the screening process for guardians is the best it can be. Parents must demand that quality personality tests be used as part of the caregiver screening process. If the agency does not perform the appropriate personality tests, or if the agency is unwilling to share the test report, parents can easily perform such tests themselves. Relevant personality tests, such as the NannyTest, are now available online for all parents, are easy to use and very affordable.

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