The Cambridge's are recruiting - the most famous baby in the world needs a new nanny and there might even be some international travel involved. Sounds like a great job for a nanny, and a breeze for the new parents, right? As someone who has travelled with a 6 month old George from the UK to New Zealand, for a tour of wineries and a friend's wedding, all I can say is - where do I sign?
The news that Nanny Webb is retiring again from active duties will have come as no surprise to the Cambridge's. Having faithfully served Diana in looking after both William and Harry, Jessie Webb is after all, well past retirement age at a reported 71. Although the newborn days for a mother and nanny can be physically demanding, Nanny Webb is unlikely to want to be around once George is a climbing, running, jumping and (likely) tantrum-ing toddler. Reports also suggest that Carole Middleton will not be taking on the role of nanny to the Royal Tour.
What will Kate need from her new nanny, in the light of her royal tour - and is this the same profile that she'll need once she is back in Kensington Palace? Some things in life are immutable - and the right way to hire a nanny is one of them. For all families, the right nanny is the one who fits with your family's needs, your values (and your budget) and the one that "feels right".
For the royals, there will be additional concerns to take on board. The nanny will need to sign a confidentiality agreement, and be prepared to undergo additional security checks over and above the usual DBS checks. The nanny will also need to undertake further training in court protocol, travel protocol and enhanced training in areas such as safe driving and liaising with security personnel. Shortlisted candidates may not know which family they are being recruited for, as the early stage interviews may be outsourced to palace staff.
When looking to recruit, Kate will need to follow the same rules as any parent. If she does, she'll be well on the way to nanny nirvana.
Here is the Care.com six step guide to hiring a nanny:
1. Decide what you need. This is where you get to write a full list of every requirement, the nice-to-haves and must-haves of your nanny needs. From a full, clean driving licence and First Aid experience to being a linguist or musician, this is where you get to create your perfect nanny on paper.
2. Calculate your budget. Whilst we may think this is less relevant to the Cambridge's, all sensible families should draw up a budget that includes nanny pay, bonuses, discretionary spending when with the children as well as holiday pay and taxes. It is unfair on nannies or families to provide little guidance around these areas, as careful budgeting and communications around finances are key for a healthy, professional relationship with your nanny.
3. Post a job. All families should write a clear, detailed and engaging job post - to make sure that potential candidates understand the full list of responsibilities involved and that the job is attractive to the best of these candidates.
4. Interview candidates. Once you have created a shortlist from your applicants (with a swift and polite no thanks to those you are not interested in), start to interview candidates. Screen a long list by phone or Skype and then meet 3-5 candidates from that long list in person. Carefully prepare for the interview so that you cover the job requirements as well as the candidate's qualifications and personal qualities.
5. Check references and run a DBS check. Absolutely vital to peace of mind when recruiting, undertake these checks thoroughly. You can outsource the verbal reference checks if you prefer.
6. Get the payroll and tax organized. For the royals, this will be outsourced to their palace staff, however any family that wants to show a nanny that they are serious about their employment must organize tax and payslips from the first week of employment.
Certainly, with the tour lined up, Kate will need to think about the special skills that any travelling parent or nanny need to have. As you can't pack every favourite toy or comforter, Kate will need someone who is expert in making a little go a long way. Airline napkins become boats, hotel room furniture gets rearranged to make space for playmats. This nanny will also need to be experienced in dealing with minor ailments or other childrens' illnesses while travelling. (Thinking back to my early Kiwi "tour" with my baby George, this would have been vital as he came down with tonsillitis in the first week.)
More than anything, any parent needs to run the "instinct" check. When you meet a candidate, give yourself time in the first minute or two to sit back and observe them in their house. Do you feel comfortable with them there, do they handle themselves well, do they make eye contact with you and your children, do they light up when they see the children or do they look a little awkward? All of these are signals and information points that are absolutely vital to your final decision. If, after all the steps are followed, there is one candidate that you just "feel right" about, go with that choice - you can generally trust your instinct that you have got it right. In all events, any nanny will be happy with a trial period of a week or two - and for Kate and William ahead of a long tour, this could be a great way to introduce themselves and their baby to the new nanny.