6 Steps I Took To Hire Our Nanny
Deciding to bring someone into your home to be a part of your family is no small thing. I’ve talked about the first time bringing in our beloved part-time nanny, V, saying an emotional goodbye to her recently and evaluating how our needs changed as we transitioned to a family of four and decided to hire more full-time mother’s helper. We’re three months into building a wonderful relationship with A who keeps our home and family calm and happy. Since this role is a partner to me in addition to someone I need to trust with two children at different stages, it was an extensive search to find her so I’m sharing our process and considerations:
1. Write out your must haves and nice to haves and deal breakers. Even if you think you are the primary decision maker, have your partner do the same and agree on it. For us, my must haves were experience with multiple children, our children’s ages, fluency in English, willingness to work in tandem with me (not all nannies want to or can work with a stay at home mom), a proven gentle, playful nature. Nice to haves included a flexible schedule, an interest in cooking and kids’ nutrition, and background in childhood education.
2. Start by sending a job description to your network of friends and post on local moms groups with like-minded families. If neither of the friends of friends searches yields anyone, you can add in a search via a local well reputed agency or Care.com. Note: agencies come with placement fees but offer excellent candidates - I had a lot of luck with Madison Agency. Care.com has a lot of inventory, so you have to be focused on filtering for your exact needs and wants. I started our search early and scoured Facebook groups, used two agencies and in the end as a Hail Mary I registered on Care.com, filtered with intense specifics, vetted bios for the must haves and nice to haves and reached out to our current nanny describing the role and inquiring about her interest.
3. Start with a phone screen on the basics - your must-haves and theirs. Do phone reference calls next as your in-person time is precious and in many cases, a conversation with a reference ruled someone out. I had experiences where I thought someone was a fake reference based on discrepancies and then another experience where recommendations were candid about personality clashes, etc. In our case with A and previously V, both my phone calls with them and their references made me feel so confident. Besides the obvious, I asked recommendations about what could have made their relationship better (this is usually illuminating) and how they set their relationship up for success.
4. If all of the phone calls gave you a good sense, have the candidate over for a coffee or tea. If you have a baby, you could consider doing it with the baby to get a sense of energy. I did that when Bodie was small, but he was older the second time around, and I chose to introduce him only to final candidates as I didn’t want to overwhelm him. I liked to have someone in to relax into our home, and so I could get a sense of their demeanor and presence. I looked for confidence, grace, comfort, and kindness. I’m sure they were interviewing me as much, and so I tried to share as much about our family and me too. This was an excellent time to talk about discipline styles, anything that came up with previous families, etc. I had Lyla with me when I interviewed A and there was an easy and gentle nature I saw between them right away.
5. Listen to your instinct! In both cases of nannies I hired - a part-time nanny when Bodie was 5 months old and more recently, a full-time mother’s helper for Bodie and Lyla when she turned 6 months old, I knew right away that someone was a fit for our family. I’ve also fired one person within two days and am a big advocate of firing fast unless the issue is truly minor and coachable.
6. Trial days or week. I didn’t do this the first time because I didn’t know to, but I consider a crucial step and a way to get a real sense of how your kids are going to vibe with this person. Even if it’s just a confirmation of your confidence, it gives you some training ground to both get comfortable. Equally, if anything comes up that you’d like done differently, this is a great time to expectation set.
All of that is to say once you hire it’s an ongoing relationship. I’m going to follow up on this post with how I collaborate with our current mother’s helper/nanny to create a positive, productive relationship in our home.
Do you have a caregiver in your home? What tips would you add to this?
Featured Image via Pola & Frank