How Kowalah ensures you get a great babysitter every time.
When you ask someone else to look after your children you need to be 100% certain that they are going to be safe and cared for just as they would if you were at home. In this blog post we'll give you a look at the process that all Kowalahs go through before they are able to receive booking requests on the Kowalah platform. When Kowalahs apply to join they'll embark on a short but important recruitment process:
As soon as a Kowalah applies to join the platform they'll receive a call from us to walk them through a 20 minute telephone interview. On this call we get to learn about their childcare experience and the ages of children that they've looked after in the past. It's important that all Kowalahs have prior experience babysitting or in a childcare role before they join the platform.
We learn how they might handle certain situations such as an ill child, or someone that doesn't want to go to bed! We'll also check on any allergies (including pets) that might be important and whether they have their own means of transport to get to and from bookings.
"Within 5 minutes we can normally tell whether this is someone that we'd be happy to look after our customer's children," says Candy Cowan, founder of Kowalah. "You get a feel for how they handle themselves on the phone, the places they have worked and whether they take themselves too seriously!"
Once the telephone interview is complete we'll send them a completion form to move onto the next stage of the process
Kowalahs then need to send in two forms of identification, one of which proves their address. Typically we get copies of a passport, a driving licence and some utility bills. Many Kowalahs will also provide us with recent copies of DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) and any paediatric and university certificates that we can add to their profile.
Identity and location are critical to delivering a great experience on Kowalah. Whilst Kowalah is an app, the service is being delivered to parents by local Kowalahs that are typically under 10 miles from you - we need to make sure everyone lives where they say they do!
Social Media and Internet Search
In today's world you can learn a lot from a 5 minute search on the leading social networks and search engines. Searching on Facebook, Twitter and Google we can add to our understanding and comfort that this person is who they say they are and lives their life in the way they've conveyed in the interview.
We also ask our Kowalahs for two references that have experience of them working in a childcare situation. These might be other parents that have used the Kowalah for babysitting, or a team lead at a pre-school or primary school.
We contact the references directly, get written responses from both and then add these to the sitter's Kowalah profile for you to review when they appear in a booking request.
What normally stops someone becoming a Kowalah?
Only around one fifth of applicants make it to being an official Kowalah. The main reasons people drop out of the process are:
They don't answer the phone!
Some people just don't like to answer the phone and speak to us. Looking after someone else's children is a highly social and interactive experience so if they can't speak to us, they aren't right for you. We understand that in today's modern world the phone is being used less and less - but if we don't speak to the applicant then they don't move to the next stage of the process!
No childcare experience
Everyone has to start somewhere, but we need to ensure everyone who you book through Kowalah has previous childcare experience and knows what to do if a child is unwell. This doesn't have to be a formal childcare career - but we need to know an applicant has at least carried out some babysitting in the past.
We learn a lot from the references. You can see immediately a glowing reference with specific examples of great care, and likewise you can see immediately where a reference has reservations. "We need to be confident in anyone we place on the platform - so any concerns from references, or providing family members as references will block an application," says Candy.
And now its up to you...
Whilst we do everything we can to ensure that every Kowalah on the platform is someone we'd be happy to look after our own children, you have the final say.
When you use Kowalah we'll present you with a list of available Kowalahs from which you can make your choice; but you can make your choice safe in the knowledge all of them have had to work hard to make it onto your shortlist!