As a working mother of two, a nanny employer, and an agency owner I believe I have some insight into what it means to hire, retain, and keep a good nanny. Helping families who want and need the stability (and sanity) that comes along with hiring the right nanny is my passion. After making hundreds of family/nanny matches, I’ve learned a few things. Here are my top six rules for hiring the right person:
1. Your Nanny Doesn’t Have To Be Just Like You
In fact, sometimes the best nannies for the job are truly different from their employers. Take me for example, a driven Type-A personality who’s had two long-term nannies who are my complete opposites. My nannies have been easy going, wonderfully patient, willing to go with the flow, and always willing to follow my lead as the parent. They were motivated, talented and strong, just in different ways than I am. I never would have thought they’d be such perfect additions, but each of them, in their own way, brought so much to our families. I see this time and time again in my business, and urge parents, consider someone different—they may be just what you need.
2. Trust Your Instincts
It’s really that simple and it’s the best advice I can give parents who employ a nanny, full-time, part-time or even on a temporary basis. When you work with an APNA agency you can trust that the tedious work of vetting candidates—interviews, reference checks, background screening and more—is done for you. All of this important work done for you makes the hiring process rather simple. It comes down to this: hire the one that feels right. And, in the same token, don’t hire the one that doesn’t; no matter how dazzling their experience or how sparkling their references, if they don’t feel like a match they probably aren’t.
3. The Best Nannies May Not Be The Best Interviewers
Some of the best nannies I’ve ever had the pleasure of placing in jobs have not been the strongest interviewers. In fact, I would argue the skill set we are looking for in a loving, reliable, trustworthy, proactive, patient, kindhearted nanny doesn’t necessarily translate well to a professional interview. Of course, you want to hire an intelligent person who can articulate himself or herself, but it’s often important to give a nanny a chance to shine, on the job through a working day, before making a final hiring decision.
4. Experience Is Valuable
I am a huge proponent of continuing education for nannies and childcare providers. Like any other field, the ways and means by which a nanny cares for children changes…and rapidly. A college degree, a certification as a Newborn Care Specialist, and Early Childhood Education credits are all very important, but I would argue there is nothing like experience. A nanny who’s done this before—who’s cared for someone else’s children—and for more than a couple of months, brings wisdom to the table that trumps any certification. Consider that experienced nanny for the job, even if she’s different than the vision of your nanny you have in your head.
5. Pay Your Nanny What They’re Worth
Don’t negotiate, don’t low ball, don’t offer other benefits in lieu of a higher hourly way—I urge you to pay your nanny what she’s worth. If there is one career where feeling valued, financially, emotionally, and psychologically is important it’s this one. You want the nanny in your home to know that you truly value what she does and putting your money where your mouth is goes a long ways. You don’t have to be a millionaire, you simply need to let your nanny know you are paying them as much as your able to. Set the tone for a happy, healthy working relationship by paying them what they are asking for. Don’t hire someone that you can’t afford long-term, because, without question, you won’t want to let them go when the dollars add up. And don’t forget…pay them professionally!
6. Put It In Writing
Set the tone for a professional relationship by putting your work agreement in writing. It doesn’t have to be the Constitution, just something professional that outlines when you will pay your nanny, what their benefits are, their job responsibilities, terms and grounds for dismissal, and more. Drafting a contract can be taxing, so ask the APNA agency you are working with for a sample agreement to make things easier.
If you are struggling to find the right nanny, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information–we are always happy to help.