Because the quest for finding an ideal nanny can be a long and arduous one, few families are anxious to repeat the task any more often than is absolutely necessary. Unfortunately, impatience with the process can lead some families to hire a private childcare provider that isn’t the best fit for their children, which ultimately leads to higher turnover and the need to go through interviewing and hiring all over again. Rather than going through a series of less-than-ideal nannies, causing stress and anxiety for your children and yourself, it’s best to make a strong effort to choose the best possible candidate from the onset. With these tips, you can boost your chances of attracting and securing the right nanny to fulfill the needs of your individual family.
- Know What Your Needs Are – In order to find a nanny that fits well with your family and is able to attend to all of your needs, you must first have a good idea of what those needs are. While this may sound simple, it’s actually a bit more difficult than you might think. Take time to consider the things that you liked about previous nannies, the things that you did not like about their habits and methods, and how your family has changed or grown since you last hired a childcare provider. Children that were just entering kindergarten or first grade when you conducted your last interview will have different needs if they’re elementary age or are now approaching middle school; if you’ve added a new baby, you’ll need to look for someone with infant experience as well as a background in caring for older kids and tweens.
- Craft Your Ad Carefully – The first impression that you’ll make on the sea of candidates that will eventually respond to you is the advertisement you place, either on an online job listings board, with a nanny agency, or in a print-medium newspaper. The tone of your ad and the information that it contains can help to weed out undesirable candidates immediately, but can also be attractive to the very candidates you’re seeking, provided that the advertisement is worded in the proper way. Relevant information about the number of children that you have and their ages should always be included so that nannies that have specializations in inapplicable areas or a lack of experience in others aren’t motivated to respond.
- Be Open and Honest from the Onset – Some families require their nannies to provide additional services than those related solely to childcare, which can be a deal breaker for many candidates. If you need a nanny that can care for the children, prepare meals for the whole family, and perform light housekeeping chores, you’ll need to let applicants know from the very beginning. Ideally you should place this information in your ad; however, space constraints can make such an action infeasible. When you aren’t able to clue candidates in about your special requirements in the ad, be sure that you do so from the first communication with an applicant, whether that’s through email or over the phone. Similarly, families with a child that has special needs or behavioral problems should also let nanny candidates know up front, as some nannies have experience in such areas and even specialize in such care, but others may be loath to accept the post if they don’t feel qualified.
- Make Sure That Your Compensation Package is Fair – While you don’t have to break the bank and go into mountains of debt to pay your nanny, be sure that what you do offer is well-aligned with the services that you’ll expect her to provide and her personal experience level. Quality nannies aren’t likely to accept a salary far below what they’re worth, leaving you to choose from the pool of candidates that will, due to limited experience and prospects. When you do find a candidate that strikes your fancy, you should also be prepared for some salary negotiations.
- Use the Interview Process to Your Advantage – At no other time in your nanny’s career will you be able to ask her such pointed and direct questions without drawing scrutiny or causing suspicion. In order to ensure that a candidate who’s made it all the way to the interview round is actually a good fit, take advantage of the opportunity to ask her everything you want to know and discuss the particulars of the position openly. Be warned, however, that you cannot ask questions that violate any discrimination laws on a state or federal level.
Because discrimination laws specifically prohibit employers from asking questions or making hiring decisions based on marital status, nationality, or religion, it might be wise to tailor your interview approach with those laws. While you may not be able to ask “What is your native tongue?” you could ask “What languages to you read, speak, and write fluently?”
P.S. This post was proposed to me for publication by Maureen Denard. I'm therefore publishing it by her invitation and under her permission. See also the link below fore more information: