The time has come. You need to hire a qualified, experienced and -- dare we say it -- fun new nanny for your children. Your nanny will be joining you on the special journey caring for and raising your children into happy, healthy adults.
It’s a huge responsibility.
A nanny is not just an employee. A nanny is practically part of your family.
This person should be someone who you trust. You’ll be inviting them into your home, entrusting them with valuable items like keys and credit cards. They’ll be looking after your precious children.
You need to be able to have honest, open communication with them, and sometimes difficult conversations. It’s critical that you pick the right person. And yet, at least at first, your nanny will be a stranger. How do you sort the wheat from the chaff and find the right nanny for your family?
There’s a process you should follow when hiring a nanny. Yes, it can be difficult. But it’s also easier than you think. Read on for our 10 tips to help you hire the nanny of your dreams.
#1 Decide the Exact Specifications of Your nanny position
Plan out exactly what you want from your new nanny in advance of creating the job description. “Someone who likes children” is not enough.
The better you think this through, the more likely you’ll find someone who is a good fit for your family.
Checklist for your nanny role:
- Determine the exact duties of the role.
- Do you want a live-in or live-out nanny?
- Decide on the hours you want your nanny to work.
- When are their days off?
- What sort of personality would you like your nanny to have?
- How friendly would you like to be with your nanny? Will it just be a working relationship?
- How much are you going to pay your nanny?
#2 Offer a Competitive Salary Based on Market Rates
Hiring a nanny is not an area where you can save money. You need to make sure you can afford it.
Benchmark the salary you are prepared to offer against the industry average, and make an offer in the right range.
If you offer too little you will struggle to find a candidate with the right skills. If you pay too much, hiring a nanny might not be sustainable.
Pro Tip: Distinguish between hiring a nanny and a housekeeper.
Nannies are childcare professionals. Many won’t expect to pick up extra cleaning duties “when they have a moment”, especially if they don’t relate to childcare.
If housekeeping is something you require, include it in the job description and adjust your pay accordingly. Similarly, if you want a candidate who is happy to walk your dog, or to provide stimulating, educational activities for your kids, be prepared to pay more.
Rates will vary by location, experience and qualifications. To get an idea of the going rate, browse other nanny adverts and ask around.
#3 Craft an Irresistible Job Advert That Attracts the Right Candidate
There’s an art to creating job adverts, as this is when you’ll be filtering out the first level of suitable applicants. Try to view the job advert from the perspective of a potential nanny.
Your choice of language and what you include in this description will be key to attracting the right sort of candidates. It will also set appropriate expectations for the job.
What kind of information will candidates be looking for? What will attract the right person? If you can, find another job description that you think creates the right impression, and tailor it to fit your exact needs.
In order to save time later, include information that could potentially be a problem for your applicants. Highlight whether you have a family dog, or if you need them to have a valid driving licence.
Let your family’s personality shine through in your advert, so you can attract a nanny with the right temperament for you.
Job advert checklist:
- Be very clear about the job you are offering
- Include the skills and qualifications you require
- Include elements that show the personality of your family
- Provide the salary, location and working hours
- Highlight any benefits to make your job stand out
- Ask someone else to read it and give feedback
#4 Look for Educational Qualifications
Experience counts for a lot but you may prefer your nanny to have a relevant childcare qualification.
There’s no official ‘nanny’ qualification. However, there are some other qualifications you can look out for when hiring a nanny to find out if he or she has the right skills to raise your child.
For example, a good nanny might have CACHE Level 3 Diploma in Child Care, a BTEC HND in Childhood Studies, or an NVQ in Early Years Care and Education.
Ask for certificates for any qualifications during the interview process, and make sure to check professional references in advance of making an offer.
You should also require an up-to-date DBS check (formerly known as a CRB) to find out whether your candidate has a criminal record.
#5 Set Minimum Requirements for the Right Candidate
A nanny is someone you will trust to look after your children when you’re not there. That’s why you want them to have every quality you can dream up.
However, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to find an absolute ‘perfect’ fit. It takes a lot of time to get to know people properly and you’ll have to choose from the candidates available.
That’s why having minimum requirements for your nanny will help you pick the right person. These are things that you will not negotiate on, and you must distinguish these from “nice-to-haves”.
For example, it may be essential that your nanny can handle children with severe allergies, or stick to a busy schedule. It may only be desirable that your nanny can play children’s games, or has past experience with young babies.
Once you’ve set realistic standards, minimum requirements will help you compare applicants later, and decide who to progress to the final stage.
#6 Plan a Rigorous Interview
Set up the interviews so you can really get the best out of them. Decide when and where you would like to conduct interviews, and how long each interview should last.
For security reasons, you might want to pick a neutral space like a quiet coffee shop or public library. Choose a time when you aren’t stressed from work. If you’re pushed for time, maybe opt for Skype interviews so you don’t have to travel.
You should tell candidates about you, your family and your children so they understand who you are. Explain a bit about the position on offer, and go through the candidate’s CV in a bit more depth. Prepare yourself in advance to answer any questions your potential nanny might have.
In your interview, include a mixture of skills-based questions, and questions designed to tease out their deeper personality.
- Skills-based question: What experience do you have caring for young children?
- Personality-based question: What would a typical day be like when you’re the nanny?
Establish that you have compatible childcare philosophies to avoid disagreements later. This involves your views on topics like discipline, education and diet.
Ask them to bring along copies of any important documents for you to review, such as their DBS check and passport. Standardise each of your interviews and take notes to make it easier to compare candidates later.
# 7 Involve Your Children in the Process
Ultimately, your children will be the ones spending the most time with your nanny, not you.
If this is your children’s first time being cared for by a nanny, make sure you address any concerns they may have. If you need to, assure them you will still be there to tuck them into bed at night or take them to school.
Consider whether introducing prospective nannies to your children should be part of the interview process. It probably should.
If you can, ask your children what they would like from a nanny. If you involve your children in the hiring process, they are also likely to feel warmer towards your new nanny.
You can have a interview process with several stages. Ask your new nanny to play with your children in the final stage to avoid the stress of introducing them to too many new people.
Then, if they’re old enough, get your children to give you their feedback.
#8 Draw up a Sensible Contract
A great contract is the foundation of any business relationship. It may all sound a bit formal and daunting, but it’s essential if you want to avoid major conflict later down the line. Plus, it’s a legal requirement.
Include things in your contract like notice required and severance pay. Outline what expenses you will be willing pay, the job hours and scope of responsibilities. Perhaps make it clear when your nanny’s holidays should be taken.
Checklist for contract
- Start date
- Notice period
- Job responsibilities
- Severance pay
In a separate document, or appended to the contract, you may want to also include other important guidelines. These aren’t really part of the contract, but are good to have in writing so there’s less confusion later.
For example, say how much you think is a sensible amount to spend on your children’s activities or treats. Define your children’s bedtime. Make it clear whether you would be comfortable with any guests visiting, and if your nanny has to ask permission in advance.
If the role includes your nanny cooking for your children, make it explicit what kind of meals you would like and clearly highlight any dietary requirements. Add in anything else that’s important to you.
#9 Familiarise Yourself with Employment Law
You’ll either hire an employee or a self-employed nanny. Each scenario has different rules. In most cases, a nanny would be defined as an employee.
When you hire a nanny as an employee, you’ll need to register as an employer and have a PAYE system in place. You’ll also need to understand payroll, insurance and nanny tax.
You must pay at least minimum wage, offer statutory paid holiday, pension and sick leave, and your nanny should have the right to work in this country.
Don’t be tempted to avoid tax by paying your nanny cash-in-hand. Being a childcare professional is your nanny’s career, so they need to be able to provide evidence of employment if they want to apply for a loan, credit card, or rent a property.
It’s also illegal to avoid paying tax! Reputable candidates will be more attracted to employers who follow the rules.
#10 Hire a Passionate Agency to Help You
You are the most qualified person to decide on the right nanny for your family.
However, advertising for your nanny position can seem daunting. And then what if you actually get a flood of applications? Screening candidates and setting up interviews is a lot of hard work.
You could very easily end up with more of a headache than when you started, and then not even find a nanny you trust to care for your children.
If you work with a nanny agency, they will do all the advertising for you as part of their services.
Agencies also conduct any DBS checks and provide an employment contract for your nanny. They'll also verify any references and visas for candidates from abroad.
Some agencies can also refer you to a good payroll, HR and legal service, so you don’t have the added responsibility of becoming an employer.
Hiring the right nanny is incredibly important, as this person will be helping you raise your child.
By thoroughly understanding the hiring process, you’ll significantly increase the chance you’ll hire the right person, and save yourself a headache later.