Nannies… despite what we were led to believe in childhood, don’t just drift down from the sky to rescue desperate parents with bored-misbehaved children. Which is a pity, because finding and keeping a nanny can be difficult, not to mention… intimidating. However there are two different ways you can go about finding the right fit for your family:
DIY: Going about finding a nanny on your own is going to be a lot of work. So it’s important to remember to be patient, try not to get discouraged and know that the process is lengthy.
- Get the word out: Let your friends and family know you are on the look out for a new nanny. If you live near a College or University, post your job inquiry on one of their job boards.
- Nanny Networking: Most nannies know other nannies; take the time to talk to a few you might know.
- Online: The online world is a mix of good and bad, but stick with it, you’ve got this! Here are some great places to start:
- Facebook (Facebook Mom Groups)
- Local Parenting Message Groups and Boards
AGENCY: Agencies can charge expensive fees; you’re likely to pay between 15 – 25% percent. However if you can afford it, it might be worth it. Often the most qualified nannies work exclusively through agencies, which means you get experienced and vetted candidates. Leave the hard work to agencies and reduce your search time down by months (if your time is precious, they are the best place to start.) Once they find your dream nanny, agencies will even negotiate the terms and set up a contract.
PAY: Pay can vary, vastly depending on your location and the kind of nanny you are looking for. Beginner nannies or students in rural areas can make as little as $12 an hour, while career nannies can make more than $80+ with full benefits and a retirement package.
THE INTERVIEW: You have found some great potential nannies… now what? Decide on what responsibilities and duties they’ll have and what salary you can afford to compensate them with. Next you’ll need to prepare questions to ask before the interview, for example:
- Have you ever been in an emergency with a child?
- How do you handle tantrums?
- What form of discipline are you comfortable with?
- Why do you like being a nanny?
- Are you CPR and first aid certified?
- Do you have your water safety certification?
- Do they have any education in early childhood development?
Don’t forget to just talk as well, so you can get a sense for their personality. It is important that you like and get along with your potential nanny. It is also okay to ask him or her to have a short interact with your child towards the end of the interview.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR: Make sure each candidate aligns with everything you and your family need, and that they would be a good match. You want a nanny with good flexibility and adaptability. Do they seem like someone you will want to see every morning when you are exhausted? Do they have good experience, references and letters of recommendation? Pro Tip: Calling references is the last step in the hiring process, not the first. You should only call references if you plan on hiring the candidate.
PERSONAL INFORMATION: Without the help of an agency you must always remember to confirm with their references and hold independent background checks.
- Personal Information: Asking for personal information is fair game, and even hiring a firm to do a background check is also okay. However, don’t expect your new nanny to give you his or her social security number and driver’s license numbers until after he or she is hired.
- Credit Check: Remember, lots of good people have poor credit.
- Driving History: This is very important, especially if you’re intrusting them to drive your children.
- Social Media: Look them up. If it is private then you cannot demand to see it. However, if it is public then feel free to take a peek. Just remember, pictures lie and old posts may represent a state of mind long forgotten.
- Trail Day: It is okay to have your perspective nanny come in for a trial day.
- Trail Period: The first two weeks with a new family are always the toughest for a new nanny. Don’t expect to pay him or her less than their normal asking price.
- Be Upfront: They are interviewing you as well. Don’t gloss over the things that might be an issue. For example: If your child is prone to tantrums, it’s best to be up front.
- Don’t Procrastinate: If you meet someone you really like, don’t wait! Many families miss out on their perfect nanny because they waited two weeks to get back to her.
Having a nanny who fits in wonderfully with your family is something to be celebrated! You’re essentially looking for partner to help you raise your children and make your life much smoother, easier and happier. So this process is not a sprint, but a marathon; so take your time, as it will pay off in the long run.
Read more on this subject and how to maintain a great relationship with your new nanny in “The Nanny Family Relationship”