What Are the Important Things to Know When Hiring a Nanny?
Childcare can be a real burden for working parents. It’s expensive, stressful, and incredibly competitive. Good nannies don’t just grow on trees, which is why preparation and persistence are key.
Sure, hiring a nanny the right way takes time, but hiring the right nanny makes a world of difference for you and your child. After all, knowing that they’re reliable, trustworthy, personable, and work within your budget will put your mind at ease.
So, let’s do our best to avoid picking the wrong one by exploring a few important things to know when hiring a nanny.
Know Your Budget
Before you start scouring the internet for leads, it’s important to understand how much money you’re prepared to spend. Break down how many days a week you’ll be needing a nanny and do your best to calculate a rate that you’re comfortable with.
Don’t forget to factor in your local tax rate as well as expenses for activities. It would be wise to consider setting aside some money too for annual raises or bonuses.
Know Your Needs
Hiring the right caregiver is impossible if you don’t understand exactly what you need. Figuring out if you need live-in, live-out, part-time, or full-time services should be prioritized. After that’s settled, you should zero in on potential qualifications.
Visualize a day in the life of your nanny and write down all the qualities that you deem necessary. This can include first-aid training, an extensive work history, and a pristine driving record, among other.
Organizing these thoughts will help you create a thorough job-description, which should help attract the right hires to your job posting.
Interview Multiple Candidates
Life can be hectic, which can make finding time to interview multiple candidates difficult. As hard as finding time can be, it’s important to understand the importance of this process. Take as much time as you can muster, plan out your questions, and don’t be shy about asking the tough ones.
While there are plenty of lists full of questions to ask your future nanny online, some of important ones include:
- What is your flexibility like?
- Are there any related activities or responsibilities you will not do? If housework or pet responsibilities are needed, is there an expected salary increase?
- Do you need day-to-day structure/plans provided?
- How do you feel about discipline with children?
Even if you do manage to find the perfect nanny with your first interview, holding additional interviews will only help you feel more secure and confident in your leading candidate. Phone interviews are fine, but don’t hire anyone until you’ve had at least one in-person interview.
Call Their References
Nannies know that referrals, references, and work history play a gigantic role in finding new clients. As such, request references and make sure you call as many of them as you have time for.
Prepare a list of questions, dig into their previous successes and failures, and take as many notes as you need. Just like online reviews, references can be unreliable. So, be on alert for references who may be giving you the wrong impression.
Do a Background Check
Before you commit to anything, obtain a background check. Background checks are critical in determining if a potential hire has a criminal record or a history of motor vehicle infractions. Background checks typically cover the last seven to 10 years and start at around $60.
Before you pay for the service and run a background check, make sure you read up on your state’s laws. Some states will require you to submit a conditional offer before running one, so it’s best to be clear beforehand.
Create a Contract
You would be shocked at how often this critical step is overlooked. Contracts are intimidating, sure. But drawing up a detailed contract will help ease both your mind and the nanny’s.
Your contract can include anything from:
- Hour guarantees;
- Pay rates;
- Time-off protocols;
- Job descriptions;
- Housework expectations, and;
- Transportation costs.
The more detailed your contract, the less room for ambiguity.
Avoid Rushing the Process
Take your time. It really can’t be said enough.
Hiring a nanny that you and your child is comfortable with doesn’t always happen right away. You’ll need to factor that in when budgeting your time.
If you know that you need a nanny to cover you for the upcoming school year, begin the process months ahead of time. The time that you take to vet potential candidates now will be worth its weight in gold once the school year starts.
You lose a lot of leverage and make a lot of mistakes when the process is rushed. Plan ahead to avoid any unnecessary stress and confusion.
Avoid Hiring Without a Trial Period
It’s not uncommon to enact a trial period system to any new hire. The interview process and background check may have been a resounding success, but nothing shines a light on a new hire’s attitude and initiative than watching them at work. A one-week trial will also help your child grow accustomed to the new nanny.
A reliable nanny can build a relationship with your child over time, but personality clashes can happen. Talk to your child throughout the entire trial period and note any potential red flags.
Hiring a nanny can seem like an insurmountable task, especially when you’ve never done it before. Interviews, background checks, payroll, contracts, reference checks, and the like are new, confusing, and incredibly time consuming. Take a breath, list out all the things that you need to do, and take a systematic approach to the problem.
Understand that this person will be spending a lot of time with your child. So, make sure you give yourself a lot of time to sink into the process, overturn every rock, and ensure that the nanny that you bring into your home is up to the task.