Hire a Nanny

Hiring a Nanny

Hiring a nanny may seem like an overwhelming process, but it doesn’t have to be.  Understanding and utilizing that process can help you secure a qualified nanny that is willing and able to meet or exceed your nanny expectations.

What is the Process for Hiring a Nanny?

Following a step by step process can help lead you to the right nanny for your family and set you and your nanny up for a successful working relationship.

Evaluate your needs

Consider the hours you need care, your child care budget, the intensity of nanny care you need and if you prefer a live-in or live-out nanny.

Formulate your job description

Write a written job description that includes your nannies role in the family and the specific duties and responsibilities your nanny will have. 

Recruit nanny applicants

There are many ways to recruit nanny applicants. Nanny placement agencies, Internet recruiting sites, word of mouth, flyers and placing nanny classified ads are all ways to recruit prospective nannies. The ultimate hiring decision, regardless of how you find nanny candidates, lies with you. 

Conduct phone interviews with prospective candidates

An initial phone interview can help you determine if a prospective candidate is worth investing additional time and energy into after a first impression. It’s during this interview that basic information can be exchanged.

Conduct in-person interviews

An in-person interview allows you to really get to know potential candidates. For your first in-person interview, consider meeting at a neutral location without the children. This will give you an opportunity to really focus on getting to know the candidate.

Select your most viable candidates

Now that you’ve conducted preliminary phone and in-person interviews, you’re likely able to narrow down your prospective nanny candidates to one or two that you really like. Now it’s time to thank those who you are not moving forward with for their time and continue on the process with your most desirable candidates.

Conduct a working interview

Once you’ve narrowed your candidate pool down to one or two nannies, the next step is to conduct a working interview. A working interview gives you a chance to introduce your prospective nannies to your children and to observe them in action.

Check references and verify presentation package

After the working interview, you likely know which nanny you’d like to hire. Now is the time to check references and verify that the information they’ve presented to you is accurate. Now is also the time to conduct a background screening.

Present a job offer

If the references have come back favorable and the background screening clean, it is time to present a job offer. Present your nanny candidate a written job offer outlining hours, duties, responsibilities, salary and benefits for consideration.

Close the deal
Upon acceptance of your job offer, sign a written work agreement and set up payroll.

How Long Does it Take?

While you will want to continue your search until you have found the right match, the process of finding a nanny generally takes from a few days to six weeks.

If you are using a nanny placement agency, you may find a suitable caregiver sooner than if trying to find one on your own. This is because reputable nanny placement agencies only present you with prescreened nannies who are qualified to fill your specific position. You can find reputable nanny placement agencies through the International Nanny Association or the Association of Premier Nanny Agencies websites.

When Do You Perform a Background Check? What Should It Include?

Once you have narrowed down your candidates and have selected the nanny you would like to hire, it is now time to conduct an in-depth background screening.

The International Nanny Association has established Recommended Practices for Background Screening. These practices include:

  • Verifying and authenticating a nanny candidate’s identity
  • Verifying employment and educational history and applicable credentials and licenses
  • Performing state and county criminal record searches for every jurisdiction where the candidate has worked and lived, using any and all names the candidate has used, for at least the past seven years, depending upon applicable state laws.
  • Performing a sex offender registry search for all 50 states, D.C., Puerto Rico and Guam
  • Reviewing the candidate’s driving record.

In addition to these screenings, agencies and/or parents may wish to consider obtaining a credit report as well as conducting a civil records search to expose lawsuits, liens and judgments on nanny candidates.

It’s important that nanny employers comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and all other applicable local, state and federal laws when screening prospective nannies. Once nannies are hired, employers should update their screenings and perform background checks periodically.

How Do You Verify References

Reference checking allows you to secure insider information about your prospective nanny. References provide insight by both what they do say and by what they don’t. Your prospective nanny’s references will either confirm your initial impressions of the candidate or call those impressions into question and cast your candidate in a questionable light.

Nanny references should include individuals for whom the nanny has provided childcare for. Family and friends are not adequate care giving references.

When contacting references, state the purpose of your call and explain that the individual you are calling about will have sole responsibility for your children while you are away from the home.  You’ll also want to state that the reference will be kept confidential. If you secure a negative reference, be sure to contact additional references. Occasionally a stellar nanny will get a sour reference because of a disgruntled former employer.

Questions you may wish to ask include:

  • Can you tell me about the nanny’s ability to provide quality childcare in an unsupervised setting?
  • Do you recommend this nanny for childcare employment?
  • Can you tell me about the nanny’s responsibilities during her employment?
  • Can you tell me about the nanny’s care giving style?
  • Did the nanny meet your care giving expectations?
  • Can you tell me about any difficulties the nanny encountered while on the job?
  • Can you tell me about how you and the nanny communicated?
  • Is there anything I should know that would help me to best manage the nanny?
  • Would you hire this nanny again?

If a nanny is unwilling to supply references or if references are hesitant to provide feedback, it could be a red flag. Listen carefully to how the reference responds to the questions and do not interject your feelings or impressions into the conversations. Doing so could sway the reference. Consider the references tone of voice and delivery of responses, which could indicate enthusiasm, hesitation or concern.

What is the Deciding Factor?

Don’t ignore your gut feeling during the nanny hiring process. If something is telling you that the nanny candidate isn’t the right choice, chances are she’s not. Once you have selected a suitable nanny candidate or two, the deciding factor typically comes down to chemistry. You and your nanny will be entering into a relationship and for the relationship to work, both parties must share a connection. It’s this connection on which trust will be built.



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