How to Hire a Nanny, Successfully
Congratulations! You’ve entered parenthood, and after 10 long months of waiting your bundle of joy has finally arrived. While I’m sure you’ve read countless books about pregnancy and post pregnancy, changes to your body, your relationship, and all that parenthood brings, we bet there wasn’t a chapter on what to do when you have to hire help. That is where we come in! Welcome to your guide on how to make one of the most important decisions of your lifetime, how to hire a Nanny for your most prized possession. In my many years of working as a nanny, running a nanny/domestic agency, and being a mom, I’ve been able to identify what I believe to be the most important factors when hiring help for your child(ren).
1. Know what you’re looking for: Whether you’re using an agency or braving the search on your own, it’s important to have a general idea of what skills, experience, and personality requirements you have for the caregiver of your child(ren). Many families have an age requirement, education requirements, and several other expectations of their future nanny. When identifying these, you’ll be able to save time and energy by setting expectations up front when speaking with candidates.
2. Determine the pay range you are comfortable with: You may have an exact idea of what you can afford, or you may need guidance in this area. Either way, knowing the salary you will be offering is a key component in preparing for your search. Nannies are standardly paid hourly, however many families are able to set a weekly or even monthly rate that benefits their pocketbook and is also appealing to candidates when considering the position. Some families throw in gym memberships, use of vehicles, and entertainment passes as added bonuses if they’re not able to pay a standard nanny salary. Many families will also offer free room and board in exchange for part time help. There are several avenues here that can be taken and it is important to communicate this during the interview process.
3. Determine how you are going to find candidates: Today there are many resources for parents to assist in the process of finding a nanny. Some include online sources such as www.care.com or www.craigslist.com and of course there are several nanny agencies that can be hired to facilitate the process. If you are using an online source, you will need to prepare an ad with an overview of what you’re looking for and the general job description. It is also a good idea to have a plan for how you will be organizing responses from candidates and interviews. This can be an overwhelming process and many parents are quickly discouraged. This is one of the main reasons why many families decide to hire agencies to help with the process. A Nanny agency significantly eliminates time and stress that parents experience during this process. Agencies are able to pull from a pool of candidates and match them with families based on the information that has been provided. While there are many benefits of using an agency, one of the most helpful features is the guidance throughout the process. Many new parents are unsure of how to go about finding a nanny as well as standard nanny rates, interview questions to ask, whether to deduct taxes, really the list becomes quite long.
4. Always check references: Anyone can talk about their skills and experience in an interview and when it comes to your children you want to do everything in your power to feel comfortable with the nanny you’ve chosen. It’s hard enough leaving your children with someone you don’t know well, so the verification process helps greatly in this area. Many nannies are used to being asked for references so this shouldn’t come as a shock to most. However if candidates are hesitant to provide references, this could definitely be a red flag. There are many key questions to ask the candidate’s former employing families including: work ethic and timeliness, age of their children and responsibilities given, length of employment, and of course whether another family would recommend them to look after another family’s children. Many references will also provide information in addition to the questions you’ve already asked. We recommend checking a minimum of 2 professional references and 1 personal reference.
5. Set realistic goals: As mentioned previously, this process can be one of the most stressful and trying times in your life and can also be one of the most important decisions you’ll make. Set timelines and make sure you set enough time aside to meet with candidates that you set up interviews with. It is important to set realistic goals from your search and make sure your expectations can truly be met with the offerings of the position. Is it a job that is appealing? Are you offering a fair salary? Have you clearly outlined your expectations and communicated them to candidates? There are so many details to think about during this process and few find their “perfect nanny” within the first several interviews. It might be important to consider an agency if you feel you don’t have time to pre-screen candidates, organize resumes and interviews, and perform the above tasks.
At the Amelia Agency, we work with many first time parents as well as parents who’ve had previous nannies. As a mom of a toddler and having gone through this experience, I have come to learn how stressful this entire process truly can be. When our families decide to work with us, the number one goal of our staff is to eliminate the stress that this process can bring. All of our families fill out a detailed family application that we use to match with our current nanny candidates. We get to know each family to make sure we understand their expectations, family dynamic, and who will truly be the best fit for their child(ren). I’m sure that every family would opt for help from an agency and of their biggest reservations is the cost of agency fees. As a mom, I understand the cost of a nanny alone is enough to break the bank, so how do you afford fees on top of what you’re already paying? That’s one of the greatest aspects of our agency is that we work with each family individually to customize a package that works with their budget. Upfront placement fees for many families are simply not doable, which is why we have created options with that in mind.
Overall, finding the right fit for your children is an incredibly important decision that requires invested time and energy while continuing to keep up with your family life. We encourage each family to be fully prepared before embarking on their search and we are happy to be are resources for all families during this process!
The Amelia Agency provides Belly Bliss with all their childcare needs. Did you know we offer childcare for some of our classes? Check out our schedule. Also join us for specialty workshops provided by The Amelia Agency on hiring a nanny and finding the right childcare for your family.