Looking to hire your first nanny? Or maybe your last nanny didn’t work out so well? Finding and hiring the right nanny for your family can be a challenge. You want someone who is safe, reliable, creative, organized, friendly, energetic — it’s a tall order to fill. Here are some tips to help you hire the right person to care for your kids.
Follow a Process
When you start your search for a new nanny, it’s smart to have a plan or a process in mind that will keep you on the right track. You will probably end up with a list of names and not enough time to meet them all. Here’s a good plan to follow that will help you whittle down the list.
1. Conduct phone interviews. Start by calling the candidates on the phone. Have a few general questions ready that will help you determine if they are available for the hours that you need, are willing to work at your pay rate, what type of experience they have, and why they like working with kids. These questions should give you a good feel for the candidate’s personality and interest level. If the phone interview doesn’t go well, cross them off your list.
2. Meet in person. Pick your top three or four candidates and meet them individually at a coffee shop. They will feel more comfortable meeting a stranger for the first time in a public place, and you won’t have the distractions of home. Come prepared with a list of questions and be clear about your expectations for the job. This includes hours, pay, discipline methods, extra duties such as cleaning and laundry, house rules, vacation time, and more. The more details you give up front, the less room for misunderstandings later. Be sure to ask the candidates for references.
3. Meet the kids. After the first round of meetings, you should have a good idea of your top one or two candidates. The next step is to let your kids meet their potential new nanny and give them a little time to get to know one another. This is a good way to see how they interact. You can also give the nanny candidate a tour of the house to make sure they would be comfortable in your home.
4. Do your homework. Before you jump in and hire on the spot, you must do your due diligence. Get a background check and call references. This is the most crucial step of the process. Put together a family agreement or nanny contract in writing that details all the job duties so you and your nanny can have clear expectations.
5. Have a trial day. Invite your top candidate over for a day while you are still home. This is a good way to show her the daily routine and how you like things done at home. It’s also helpful to see how she handles the kids over a longer period of time. Some moms may choose to do this step after offering the job.
6. Hire! If your top candidate passes all these steps with flying colors, you have found your new nanny! As you move forward, be sure to keep an open relationship and talk openly with your nanny about how things are going. You should set up a time each month to discuss any issues that arise.
Follow Your Instincts
In addition to having a hiring process, it’s also important to follow your instincts when hiring a nanny. Hiring someone to care for your children is a huge responsibility, and one that cannot be taken lightly. A mother’s intuition is invaluable when making this important decision.
The best way to get a feel for a nanny candidate is to listen and observe. When interviewing, try to ask questions that will get them talking. Ask questions about:
- Personal values
- Discipline methods
- Personal hobbies and interests
- Family and loved ones
- Interests in children
- Experience in emergencies
Oftentimes actions speak louder than words. Is the nanny candidate energetic, passionate and fun? Is she calm and gentle? Does she seem truly engaged and caring about your child? Take the time to observe and take mental notes of how you think this person will complement your child’s personality, as well as your own.
If you follow the steps above and follow your instincts, you should be able to get to know your top nanny candidate well enough to feel confident in your hiring decision. Good luck!