We're all guilty of it. That mile-long wish list of everything we could want in a nanny. Even when the job description is posted, we are still getting applicants who may not fit the picture. So how do you find the best nanny faster? Care.com family life expert, Carolyn Stolov offers her advice on what to do to make the dream a reality.
List Traits and Qualifications
"The first thing you do is write down the qualities you are looking for in a caregiver," advises Stolov.
- Does she need to have nanny experience or is it okay that she taught at a child care center? Is it preferred that she has raised her own children?
- Does she have experience with certain age groups?
- Is CPR or First Aid certification a requirement of the job?
- Does she need a certain amount of education fulfilled?
- Personality traits: Is she neat? Energetic or introverted? Does she need a similar cultural background?
- Any special skills like cooking, driving, athletics, or language?
Write down anything that comes to mind, even the specifics, like having a car. "Once you have the list, circle the ones you must have and which qualities you can be flexible on." Communicating your "must haves" helps narrow down your search and encourages qualified applicants to apply.
Write a Specific Job Description
Take the time to write a job description that will give you a better chance of finding the right fit for your family.
1. Start with a Summary. Write one or two sentences about what the ideal applicant should do as a nanny.
2. Child Care Responsibilities. List the duties that the nanny must perform such as feeding, bathing, driving to activities, homework, setting up play dates, etc. Also, note other expectations that are important on the job, like if it is necessary to communicate or check in daily with your family. Want to go a step further? "Include with a typical day might look like," suggests Stolov.
3. Related Housekeeping Responsibilities. Clarify if the nanny should be assisting with other tasks, such as doing their laundry and cleaning. These can also be the tasks that may come up during the job, such as a quick run to the grocery store to grab a forgotten item, but don't occur daily.
4. The House Rules. Often overlooked, the house rules should be covered in a job description. "It helps nannies understand what type of behavior the family adheres to," says Stolov. "You should also include rules you expect only the nanny to follow." Clearly stating that you aren't comfortable with the nanny having visitors over at the house will give her an idea of boundaries ahead of time.
If the nanny is a live-in, these rules will likely change. For example, are overnight guests allowed? Are there certain areas of the house off-limits or is she free to use everything?
5. The Minimum Knowledge, Skills and Requirements. Want a nanny with a Masters degree in Early Childhood Education? Lifeguard training? A safe driving record? Make sure to add these items to the description. Stolov suggests to include minimum qualifications, such as, the nanny needs to have obtained a high school diploma or must be a certain age to apply to the job.
Stolov recommends Guy Maddalone 's How to Hire a Nanny as an additional aid in the search for a caregiver. The book provides a template for a nanny job description that families may use. Another resource is the International Nanny Association.
How to Search
"Posting a job is the best way to go when you use Care.com since caregivers understand and are responding to you specific requirements," says Stolov. But there are useful search options available to families as well.
When you log into Care.com, you will notice a pull down option where you can select the type of child care provider you want, in what zip code and how close (within how many miles) they need to be. There is also a left sidebar on that page to help you "Refine Your Search".
Use the refine search tool to narrow down the people that more closely match what you are looking for. You can specify age, gender, hourly rate, years of experience, and if there's a language requirement or if the provider has her own transportation. If you refine too much and don't yield any results, just stick with the "must have" qualifications you listed.
Responding to Applicants
Just like any other job application process, take time to request resumes, review profiles, research and interview thoroughly. For those candidates who do not qualify for the position, still make sure to follow up. You can even select the "No Thanks" button, which sends a quick message to letting the applicant know that you're not interested. Whether it's that or a courtesy email, they deserve to know where they stand and will appreciate not being left in the dark.