Ironicschmoozer’s Weblog

Hiring a New Child Care Provider (Lord help me!)

After a year, we have received the resignation one of our two wonderful college aged women who staff the nursery (age 0-5) during both Sunday services.  Ostensibly I supervise them but in reality it’s our RE Assistant, Janet, who sees them regularly and stays in touch with them.  Sometimes when I am playing Sunday School visitor I drop in to the nursery to say hello, look attentive, and feel useless.

I saw the departing staffer last week at the Trader Joe store, staffing the “sample” booth (the microwave Chinese meal had enough sodium to kill a horse).  I told her thanks and that we’ll miss her.  At Janet’s suggestion I prepared a recommendation letter to give her on her last Sunday, and we had a card to sign.  (I had written them cards and given each of them $25 for Christmas, plus a coupon in March for a free dinner at Fresh Choice, with no expectation that they would come on the night we meet there for our Family Friendly Restaurant Dinner, but with an invitation.  Also, Janet had rounded up some money to give them six months ago for their half-year anniversary.)

I posted an ad on craigslist under Education:

Part-time opening for Childcare Provider during Sunday church services. Join our mutually supportive childcare team to provide supervision, care & play opportunities for infants through 5 year olds. ECE units preferred, but not required. Hours are Sunday mornings from 9:00 to 1:00, occasional extra hours. Criminal background check and references required. We are a welcoming Unitarian Universalist congregation, including LGBT, religious orientation, ethnicity, etc. Position begins as soon as hiring choice is made. Please send email letter of interest and resume document if available.

I posted it Tuesday at 5 PM and by 6 PM I had 10 applicants.  By bedtime I had another 10.  Next morning, another 10 or more.  (Janet works only 10 hours a week so this was up to me.)  All this interest in $14 an hour?!? Overwhelmed, I revised the ad to say NOT ACCEPTING MORE RESUMES NOW.  A lot of them were students but some were unemployed.

The next day I looked at all of them.  I drafted a form-letter email (for cutting and pasting) acknowledge them and explain the process and timing (i.e., not very soon).  I addressed each one by name.  I also wrote to those I screened out.  I should have done that cut-and-paste but I ended up typing personal notes!  I figured since we were a church we would not look good either ignoring someone or curtly rejecting them.  I gave suggestions to a couple of them, such as get an editor for your resume, your cover letter is generic and not targeted to this position, etc.  The next day I was vindicated by several thank you’s, including one who said:  “You are the only person with the decency to reply and tell me I was not the right fit for the position.”

Trying to print the resumes, some in Word, some embedded int the email, was arduous.  I was so frustrated Sunday afternoon.  Bring back the days when they had to mail in a resume on a standard sheet of paper!

Today a retired professor of child development in our congregation met with me to look at the job description, suggest questions, and read over the 20 resumes.  I’ll post the questions later but am open to your suggestions or any docs you have.  I still couldn’t cut it below seven resumes, but I’ll ask them to submit an application using the UUA’s Responsible Staffing form, which has boxes so small that you can’t get all of an address or job listing in one.  If they can survive that frustration (I barely could a year ago for this job), I’ll figure out whom to interview.  I have a stack of “potential” resumes that I’m holding just in case something doesn’t come from the seven top applicants.


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