You are about to put the livelihood of your children into the hands of someone that you do not know, and for most parents, hiring a nanny is an overwhelming process. Ultimately, you want to find someone whom you can trust to provide the best care for your children while you are away. If you follow these steps during your nanny search, you can ensure your chances of finding the perfect nanny for your family.
- Establish the needs of your family. Make a list of requirements that are important to you. This can include personality traits, specialized skills, amount of experience, age and education and training. You will also want to take into consideration the scheduling requirements, salary and benefits that you are willing to pay, the responsibilities that the nanny will be expected to handle and what types of discipline the nanny will use.
- Create a job description. Just like a business would create job descriptions for their employees, you will want to type up a one-page job description that entails all of the nanny’s duties. This will not only be helpful to share with potential candidates and nanny agencies, it can also help you come up with interview questions and lay the foundation for the employment agreement.
- Advertise the position. If you are thinking about going through a reputable nanny agency, you will certainly reduce a lot of the legwork of performing the search for that perfect nanny. However, if you want to find a nanny on your own, you can type up a condensed version of your job description and advertise the position in the local newspaper, online and/or on flyers posted at nearby churches, fitness centers and local community centers. In this case, you may get swarmed with applicants and you will have to sift through the applications carefully and make sure that they are qualified before proceeding onto the next steps.
- Conduct initial screenings with phone interviews. This step can be reduced tremendously if you choose to utilize a nanny agency – they will perform the initial screenings and send you only candidates who match your requirements. If you are performing the search on your own, you will want to discuss the criteria that you listed in Step #1 first. Of course, personality and chemistry are vital for a perfect fit and you will get a good feel for this over the phone. You will want to narrow your applicant pool down with the initial screenings over the phone.
- Start the face-to-face interviews. Once you have narrowed the applicant pool down to several serious potential candidates, make arrangements for them to come to your home, one at a time. You may want to interview each candidate alone, without the children first, just in case the candidate is not the perfect one. If the interview goes well, there is a great chemistry between you and the candidate and your gut feeling is good, go ahead and invite the children into the room to see how the candidate interacts with them. Remember, your children will also have to like the nanny in order for her to suit your family perfectly.
- Hold working interviews/paid trial time. This is an observation period that will allow you to watch potential candidates in action. Set up 3-5 days that are similar to a “regular” day for the nanny so that you can accurately assess their performance. During this time, you will be able to pick up on any problems or issues, such as lateness or inability to handle the tasks at hand…or it will strengthen your decision about who would be best for the job. If you are utilizing a nanny agency, they should provide you with a period of time within which they will send a replacement if the nanny is not working out, which is typically 90 days, so be sure to use your trial time wisely.
- Perform background and reference checks. A good nanny agency will handle this step for you comprehensively. They have the know-how to obtain this information and may even provide monitoring services throughout the term of employment. If you are conducting the search on your own, contacting references and checking for any bruises in the candidate’s backgrounds can certainly provide you with enough information to make a final decision. (A background check is absolutely vital to provide you with the peace of mind that you want.) Be sure to ask previous employers about timeliness, attitude and behavior, and if they think the candidate will be suitable for the duties on your job description – as well as handling the amount of children that you have.
- Present the job offer and employment agreement. You’ve finally found your perfect nanny! Smart businesses present their employees with written employment agreements to promote clear expectations and minimize the potential of misunderstandings. This can also be a crucial step for you and your nanny. A good nanny agency will assist you with creating an employment agreement that works for you and the nanny, presenting the job offer and mediating during the negotiations. If you are hiring without a nanny agency, you will want to create an employment agreement that is extensive and all-inclusive. In addition, you will want to type up a job offer and be prepared for negotiations and to alter the job offer as necessary.
Once an agreement has been made, it’s time to enter into the relationship by signing the employment agreement and setting the start date for your new nanny. You should build on your relationship by setting up monthly evaluation meetings with your nanny. These meetings can be the perfect time to discuss any issues or problems that the nanny is encountering and come up with solutions as a team. In addition, this is a great time to provide her with both positive feedback and constructive criticism. In addition, you will want to set up a meeting that marks the yearly anniversary for your family and the nanny to discuss the possibility of a bonus or a raise.
We hope that these steps help you find that perfect nanny for your family. If you find that you do not have the time that is required to do the footwork of searching for that perfect match, we are here to provide you with our expertise and experience! Feel free to contact us any time.