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What to Look for When Hiring Staff for Your Child Care Center

As the owner of a child care center, you’ll have to hire child care staff from time to time to cover absences or allow you to take vacations without having to shut down your center.

This means you’ll need to find people who are willing and able to work with children and possess the skills and personalities that make them effective at their jobs and good employees. When hiring staff for your child care center, it’s important to look for people who are enthusiastic about the idea of working with children. However, just as important as enthusiasm are the qualities that will help ensure that each employee you hire continues to be as excited about their work throughout their time at your center.

In this article, we’ll give you some tips on what to look for when hiring staff for your child care center so that your new hires will enhance your operation and make your center better than ever.

Where to Look to Find Qualified Staff

Finding child care workers isn’t difficult, but you need to know where to look. Schools are one place where you can find prospective employees.

You can also post ads on job sites and social media platforms. At some point, though, you’ll have a chance to meet with prospective staff members before deciding who gets hired. There are several ways you can go about looking for qualified child care staff. Let’s take a look at a few of them.

Local teaching programs

If you’re looking to hire teachers, look into local teaching programs. You can often find students eager to gain real-world experience and could fill a gap in your schedule or at least provide some temporary coverage.

Keep in mind that these students may not have a lot of experience and are unlikely to stick around once they graduate, but having them on board will get you through until you can find permanent staff. It’s also a good way for students to gain real-world skills without wasting time at an expensive trade school. 

Child care job fairs

The job market in child care isn’t always easy. Many employees move from job to job, so turnover is common. This may mean your child care center spends a lot of time and money training new employees.

Job fairs are an effective way to find well-trained staff without spending as much time onboarding new hires. You can also participate in special events like career fairs or internships; both are ways you can meet potential new hires who are already interested in your field.

Social media

It may seem scary or unnatural to start using social media to find a staff member, but it is very common. More and more businesses are using Facebook, LinkedIn and other networking sites to post job openings and browse for potential hires.

But how do you know if someone is trustworthy? The only real way to do so is to meet them in person (or talk on the phone).

Relevant online forums

The idea here is that child care workers have been around for a long time, so we have access to loads of information about people who’ve worked in the industry.

Relevant online forums are a good place to start looking for new hires. You can usually find multiple staff members on one site. All feedback is publicly available; read through all comments left by users on their profiles so you know they aren’t potentially problematic.

Forum boards aren’t always perfectly reliable, but they’re a good place to get an overall sense of what others think about various child care workers.

What Experience to Look For

There are many factors involved in deciding which staff members will be best for your child care center, from age to background checks.

But there is one factor that cannot be overlooked: experience. Without prior experience in a child care environment, new hires are likely to have a harder time when things don’t go according to plan and may be less willing to make adjustments on-the-fly when issues arise.

Teaching degree

You need to look out for a degree in early childhood education, special education, or a related field. The American Montessori Society recommends hiring child care workers who have experience working with infants and toddlers (especially when they’re teaching younger children) and a degree. They also recommend hiring teachers who have a background in child development and psychology.

Some schools will allow their students to get hands-on experience by working at child care centers before graduating, so ask about it if you’re hiring straight out of school. They should understand your curriculum and how it aligns with state standards.

Previous experience in the field

It’s vital to find child care workers who have previous experience working with children. This will help you ensure that your hiring choice is a good one.

With a wide array of options, it can be challenging to know what to look for when searching for new workers. You’ll be happy to see how a well-qualified team enhances day-to-day operations and long-term business growth and success.

Every individual hired should be trained and tested before joining your facility as part of an onboarding process.

Certifications (CPR/AED, etc.)

A child-related certification is a surefire way to ensure that you’re hiring someone who knows how to handle children.

What kind of certifications are available will depend on your location and employer, but you’ll be able to find something suitable no matter where you live. Remember, however, that CPR and first aid certifications do not necessarily mean that someone is qualified in child care. 

The job description should tell you whether or not they have experience working with children and whether they’ve had formal training in education.

Qualities to Look for When Hiring Staff

There are many factors that go into hiring great staff members, and while they will each affect your business differently, it’s important to look at each as a whole.

For example, one of your most important considerations should be personality and attitude because your employees’ happiness will affect their job performance.

This ultimately results in higher quality care for your students and more happy parents. Here are a few qualities to look for when hiring child care hiring staff.

Interpersonal skills

Making sure potential employees are personable and have a good sense of how to relate with children is essential in ensuring that children will be happy in their care. And remember, it’s important for your staff members to be able to interact well with you, too!

Since many child care centers are small operations, it’s vital that you like working with them on a personal level. Spend time talking with potential candidates and make sure they feel comfortable talking back.

You might even consider testing them: Ask some common questions like what do you think about kids? or what is your favorite TV show? And pay attention to how they answer and react when prompted.

Communication skills

While all child care workers should be able to communicate effectively with children, that doesn’t mean all of them are effective communicators. Many people, especially children with disabilities, may have problems communicating verbally.

If a staff member can’t communicate effectively with children or parents in person or on paper—through email, written reports, and so on—it could lead to frustrations that can negatively affect kids. To ensure communication goes smoothly and your staff is as effective as possible, ensure they’re well-versed in basic communication skills.

That includes how to listen actively (which requires focus) and how to speak clearly and at an appropriate volume level.

Mature and positive

First and foremost, look for child care staff who are mature, responsible, and positive. They should have experience working with children and communicate effectively with parents about their child’s day-to-day development.

Not only that, but they should also be ready and willing to follow through on their plans with a certain amount of flexibility in case unexpected circumstances arise during their shift.

If applicable, make sure your staff has relevant skills such as first aid training or a food handling certificate. This will help ensure that in case of an emergency, you know that your child is in safe hands.

Problem solver

A good child care provider will be able to quickly and effectively problem solve, especially when it comes to unexpected changes in behavior. If you’re looking for a daycare center, ask them what their plans are in case of emergency.

They can demonstrate their problem-solving skills by showing you case studies of similar situations they’ve been through. If they seem confident and their plan seems well thought out, that’s a good sign.

Professional

Child care centers and preschools are, first and foremost, educational institutions. All staff members must be highly trained professionals with a love of children and plenty of experience working with them.

Make sure prospective employees have training in early childhood education and development. They should also have some teaching experience—whether it’s in a classroom or at home with their children. 

Clean background check

Background checks are a must. All child care workers in most states have to have one, and yours should be no exception.

You should expect all prospective employees to submit a background check before they’re hired, but if you have staff members who will interact with children regularly—such as teachers or nannies—it’s even more important that you double-check their credentials before hiring them.

Even though you can’t technically ask about their past convictions when interviewing them, there are still ways that you can tell if an applicant has had run-ins with law enforcement in their past.

Conclusion

There are many steps involved in finding and hiring quality staff for your child care center. If you’re not careful, you could end up with employees who are incompatible with your organization’s vision and may even damage it.

To avoid that, implement a thorough screening process based on what matters most to you and your organization before making any hiring decisions.

By taking steps to find good employees who fit into their roles well at your child care center, you will minimize turnover while also raising brand awareness through a happy workforce that reflects positively on your company.

Now that we have covered what you should look for when hiring staff members at your child care center, it’s time to get started!

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