Caregiver Hiring Tips
Jessica Sjolseth, Vice President
Mom’s Best Friend
“Mom’s Best Friend has a passion for finding long-lasting, happy matches between families and nannies! We find that the 4 keys to hiring and keeping a wonderful nanny are 1) screening, 2) matching, 3) ongoing communication, and 4) professionalism/boundaries.
A Mom’s Best Friend nanny must complete an application, have an excellent interview, stellar references, a clear background check, be CPR/First Aid certified, be legal to work in the US, and be a non-smoker. This weeds out the majority of applicants. Then, the agency ensures that the schedule, ages, location, and compensation are a match for both the family and the nanny.
Beyond that, interviews and trial time help each party make sure it’s a great fit. After placement, open and honest communication is absolutely necessary. This starts with a clear job description, a written employment agreement, and regular reviews. This way, both parties are aware of expectations, strengths, areas for improvement, etc.
Lastly, while a family/nanny relationship is extremely personal, it is important to maintain professionalism, and implement healthy boundaries in the relationship. It is a thrill for the team when nannies happily stay with families for years and years, as this is our ultimate goal!”
Ryan Jordan, Founder/CEO
“Deciding to hire a nanny is a very personal choice, and it can also be an overwhelming experience. Many times, families are nervous to invite a stranger into their home (especially during a pandemic) to care for their most precious little loves. There is also some type of guilt that many parents feel about having help in general. It’s important to know that every family deserves support, a nanny can help the entire family flourish, and many times a nanny becomes an extension of your family. These five key steps will help simplify the process and set you up for success.
1. Budget. This is very important information to plan before making a hiring decision. Families need to think about the hourly rate range that they are comfortable paying, while also making sure the rate is a competitive one in their market to attract the right nanny. Does your state have overtime laws? What are the employer taxes that you will be responsible for? Are there any tax credits that you can take advantage of? Once you have determined your budget, now you can think about the care you need.
2. Schedule. Will you need care Mon-Fri? Weekend help? Flexibility? Part-time or full-time care? A nanny who can travel domestically or internationally? Do you need overnights? Think about the time you need to work and create space to have quality time with your partner or friends.
3. Job Description. Next it is time to draft a job description to attract the right nanny. Think about your children’s needs. Do you practice a specific childcare philosophy? Do any of your children have special needs? Dietary restrictions? Allergies? Do you have a pool and is it important that your nanny can swim? Think about your home environment and family. Are you easy going and conscious parents? Type A and organized? Musical and silly? Do any parents work from home? Do your children love to be outdoors? Do you have any pets?
4. Screening Candidates. Make a list of questions you would like to ask the nanny. Find out what their style of discipline is? Are they a career nanny or is this job a temporary path for them? Call at least three professional references and double check every reference letter. Ask the references about their experiences with the nanny, and the ages of children the nanny cared for. How long did the nanny work with each family? Do they have longevity? Was the nanny punctual, professional, kind and ask if they would hire this nanny again? Run a background check and get all the necessary forms of identification. Interview the candidate in person and conduct a trial period where you can see how the nanny interacts with your children.
5. Hire. Congratulations! You have found the perfect nanny. Draft a work agreement and the request the nanny to sign an NDA if necessary. Having a contract will set you up for success as all the expectations and benefits are mapped out clearly. Have regular check-ins and create mutual respect”
Trisha Pfeiffer, Founder
“When looking to hire a nanny our number one tip is having very clear expectations from the start. It is important for employers to write down specific expectations in terms of schedules, job responsibilities, travel expectations, communication preferences, pay logistics, etc. prior to starting their search. This will save you countless hours by interviewing candidates who match what you are looking for and not wasting time on those who do not. It is important to be very up front and clear with prospective candidates about your expectations and upon hire draft a detailed work agreement so everyone is on the same page.”
Danielle Aikin, Owner
A Brilliant Nanny
“Our best advice around hiring a great nanny for your family is to consider the whole person and what they have to offer your family and your children. Go beyond what is on paper and learn about their unique skills and personality.”
Karen Kysar, Founder
The First Milestones
“We know that hiring a nanny can feel like a very daunting experience. Choosing to have an in-home caregiver means that you are inviting someone into your home and family and starting what will hopefully be a long-term relationship for you and your children.
We have found that you’ll have an easier time finding a safe, reliable nanny for your family when you take the time to:
- Think about who you are (or want to be) as a parent, your parenting style, your priorities as a caregiver, and how you want your nanny to extend and enhance your caregiving approach
- Write an accurate and thorough nanny job description, which should include schedule, daily responsibilities, and required or desired experience
- Understand local market rates are for nannies
- Create a set of nanny interview questions that you use in each interview
- Request and check your nanny’s references
- Have a paid trial day with your candidate(s)
- Run a criminal background check on your nanny, and driving history and drug test, if required
- Set up a legal way to pay your nanny
- Set clear guidelines for working together, and be clear about your expectations and the job responsibilities
To foster a good relationship with your nanny once you’ve found the right fit, we recommend:
- Offering benefits, like paid time off, paid holidays, and sick days
- Taking a genuine interest in your nanny’s professional and personal development
- Checking in regularly to maintain open lines of communication
- Addressing issues as they come up, and providing course-correcting direction as needed
Finding a nanny can feel overwhelming, but once you apply this structured approach to finding and screening candidates, you’ll feel much more confident as you go through the process of finding a loving, safe, and experienced caregiver for your children.”
Carrie Andino, President
“When hiring a caregiver, it is important for a potential employer to be prepared to ask pertinent questions related to the candidate’s work experience, needs, and wants.
Asking behavioral questions during an interview will give the potential employer an idea of how the caregiver would act in a specific situation. It will give the candidate an opportunity to identify past behaviors and successes that closely relate to situations they will encounter in the job in which they are applying to.
Checking references and considering a trial before committing, and running a background check on your selected candidate is strongly recommended. Once you receive the completed background checks you should have all the information you need to make a hiring decision.
Completing a work agreement is important. It will outline the job description, role, and responsibilities. It assures both you, and the caregiver have a clear understanding of each other’s expectations and enables effective communication. Each of the steps in vetting a caregiver can be time consuming, but they are all important and worth the effort.”
Kate Granchell, CEO & Founder
“Our top five tips that help us support your family are knowing what you need.
1) Schedule Figure out how many hours you need and when.
2) Wish List: Really understand the type of person you want around your child. Is education background important? Do you like a certain type of parenting style? Are you comfortable with your person having another job? Do you need your person to drive? What kinds of interest does your child have that maybe a nanny can enhance.
3) Offer Promised Hours: Huge plus, offer a promised amount of hours to your nanny so they can depend on the income and commit to your family. Promised hours means you are paying your nanny a minimum amount of hours even if you go on vacation or have a holiday off and don’t require your nanny to work. This makes your position more appealing as well.
4) Know Your Budget: Come up with a budget and how much are you paying hourly? Understanding what payroll taxes look like for your family is helpful to understand your budget. Figure out what works for your family
5) Know Your Expectations: Know what kind of tasks you need your nanny to do while you are away from the home, come up with a list of things and go over it with your nanny so there are clear boundaries and expectations. Make sure you have open communication with everything from last minute changes giving enough time for your nanny to accommodate the change or planned travel to medications your child requires and food allergies. If you need a soft start or soft ending to your day, communicate it with your nanny.”
Betina Mele, Founder
“Welcoming an extra set of hands into your lives is one of the most important decisions for the care of your children and your home. The process can be exciting, but also overwhelming and challenging, especially for those who choose to recruit on their own.
Having clear expectations, staying organized, and using excellent communication is crucial. Our hiring tip is to draft a job description outlining responsibilities, schedules, compensation, and more; note in separate document details about your family’s parenting philosophy/style, dynamics, and values. Consider what personality traits and professional skills would be preferred and flourish within your household. Using these three components to create a clear and organized road map will help your family be more confident and excited to welcome the new nanny!”