It’s that time of year again, at least for my family it is, time to hire a new nanny. We have been very blessed to have two prior nannies that have stayed with us for about a year and that have blessed our family in many ways. Our current nanny is pregnant and having her baby soon, so I have spent the past month searching for our new nanny. As I have now done this three times, I wanted to share some tips that I have acquired and things I have learned along the way (these tips can also apply to using family for childcare, hiring a babysitter or even interviewing childcare centers).
I have found all of our past nannies through an online self-service website, these sites allow you to post a job description and have potential employees apply. There are many other great ways to locate nannies such as personal referral, in person matching services and full service nanny companies. I have found that the website works well for my schedule and family because I can respond to candidate at a time convenient for me and schedule interviews on my own time.
Writing a Job Description
When writing out the job description be sure to be as specific, realistic and honest as possible. If you lay out your expectations at the beginning, this will save any surprises on either side later. I like to include my expectations related to hours/days, pay range, experience requested, children’s activities, and chores/errands. The first time I hired a nanny I was concerned that I was going to offend or scare off candidates by saying I wanted certain chores done, now I know to just detail my expectations ahead of time so that we are on the same page. I have not interviewed a nanny yet that minds doing relevant chores (kids laundry, cooking, cleaning, etc.).
Selecting Candidates for Phone Interviews
Once I post my job, I give it about a week to allow people to apply before scheduling phone interviews. I am able to review candidates applications and profiles once they apply to determine if I am interested and I make sure to let potential candidates know when I will be scheduling interviews so they don’t think I’m ignoring them. I also let candidates that don’t fit my needs know right away that they will not be selected so that they are not waiting for a response. Once ready to schedule phone interviews, I select a day and time that I can do phone interviews uninterrupted, I like to narrow down applicants to about 12. I like to schedule 15 minutes per person, this gives me 10 minutes to talk and 5 minutes to plan for the next interview. I message each candidate and assign them a time slot and ask that they confirm that time slot is appropriate and provide a phone number to contact them at. My main goal of the phone interview is to feel the candidate out, I normally have a pretty good gut feeling about the candidate, so trust your gut. Some of my favorite questions to ask on a phone interview include: What is your favorite thing about being a nanny? What do kids like most and least about you? What are your future plans? Are you first aid/CPR certified?
Selecting Candidates for In-person Interviews
Once I have performed all of my phone interviews, I like to select about 4 candidates for in person interviews. I select a time that my husband will be home and my kids will be awake. This is important so that you can see how the candidate interacts with your family, especially your kids. Plus my 2-year-old is really perceptive about people so if she likes someone, chances are they are good. Most of my questions at the in-person interview include that their discipline style, examples of what they would do with my kid on a regular day, as well as specific questions for our stage in life (e.g. experience with potty training). Make sure to allow time for questions and to discuss the specifics of the job again. Once we have done in-person interviews, I like to select two candidates to do a trial run. I like to have them come for about 2 hours on a day that my nanny will also be there and at a time the kids will be awake. I have been fortunate that my current nannies have helped me select our next nanny. I also ask for references before the trial run, so that I can call references.
I Have Selected a Candidate – Now What?
Once I have selected a candidate, I like to call them in-person to extend an offer to them (pending a background check). This way you can discuss pay, as well as an appropriate start date. We like to perform a background check only on the person that we have selected. The background check can be done from the nanny website, or I prefer to use Lexis-Nexis so that I can actually see the results.
Our nannies have been loving, creative, energetic and a great part of our family. Although it may seem like a hassle that I have now done this 3 times, I know that my kids are in great hands while I have to work.