With the New Year, families may look to ring the changes with their childcare arrangements. A return to work or a new family schedule means that many families will be hiring. As someone with professional interest in the care sector, I know that January is one of our busiest times.
However, as all parents know - hiring a nanny can be stressful, especially when you don't know where to start. But if you break the process down step-by-step, you're more likely to do a thorough job and will have a positive nanny hiring experience.
Here are 6 key things to do along the way.
1. Decide What You Need
Do you need a daily live-out nanny or a live-in nanny? And what about an au pair - are they the right choice for you? Before you get into the hiring process, decide what kind of childcare will best suit your family.
Write a comprehensive list of all the qualities you want your nanny to have: a sense of fun, a perfect driving record, first-aid training, a nursing degree, etc. Make a list of the absolute no-no's: smokers, speeding tickets, unqualified, etc. This will help you to create a precise job description that will attract nannies with the qualities you are looking for.
2. Calculate Your Budget
What can you afford to pay your new nanny? Don't forget to factor in things like expenses for activities, annual raises and bonuses. And make sure you include taxes as well. Use our pay calculator to research what the going rate is for nannies in your area and how much to set aside for taxes.
3. Post a Job
Create a positive and upbeat job listing that describes the qualities you are looking for a nanny, and which is an authentic picture of your family life. Post your nanny vacancy to Care.com. Make sure that you have written an attractive summary so that you can promote the job highlights to your social network. Make sure that your Care.com job posting has enough detail for nannies to see if they are the right person. If you need baby care experience, awkward shift patterns or help with homework - make sure you mention it upfront.
4. Interview Candidates
When applicants begin to answer, consider each one with an eye towards professionalism and experience. How well do they convey why they want this job? Do their qualifications match your needs? Start to narrow your choices and create a shortlist. For definite mismatches, send an immediate "no thank you" note as a courtesy.
Pick the best five to ten candidates and arrange a phone or Skype interview, or a meeting at a neutral location, like a coffee shop. Ask them questions and see what kind of rapport you have with each candidate. Use this article on how to interview a nanny to get you the right interview questions.
Then when you cut the list down to your top three candidates, invite them to your home for an in-person interview. Discuss how your household runs and ask detailed questions about her background and child care philosophies. See how she interacts with your children. Try not to watch like a hawk (hard as that will be!), so you get a sense of how they will naturally interact.
5. Get Checks Done
Have you found a nanny you really like and you know she would be a perfect fit? Great! But don't forget to obtain a DBS check and reference checks to make sure everything is okay -- you can get these done through Care.com. If you check references yourself, don't forget: did other families have good experiences with this nanny? Are there any red flags to watch out for? Also double-check the actual references. You want to make sure you're not talking to a candidate's relative or friend -- who may be giving you the wrong impression.
6. Sort Your Taxes
Now that you're an employer, you're responsible for paying employer taxes. Make sure that you get this done properly, through a reputable payroll company such as Nannytax.
You often just know when you have the right candidate. If you really get on with one nanny over the others, once you have done the checks - you can generally trust your instinct that you are on to a good thing. Just make sure you let the other applicants know the position has been filled. You can certainly propose a trial period of a week or two in case.