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7 Things I Learned to Make Hiring a Nanny Way Easier

Katie Bugbee
March 28, 2018

As a mom of three, Katie recently had to do her own search and hiring all over again. Here are 7 things she learned along the way.

7 Things I Learned to Make Hiring a Nanny Way Easier
Image via Getty Images/Tetra Images

I was on maternity leave with my third baby when my nanny told me she was leaving. She was 4 months pregnant but was giving us as much notice as possible. And while I was so happy for her, I won’t lie – I cried. Blame it on hormones or the irreplaceable closeness she has with my older kids – but I know I also cried for me. This meant I'd be doing more work in the next few months than I'd anticipated. And the reality of replacing such an integral part of my family felt like an impossible feat.

I gave myself 8 weeks to find someone. But it turned out my nanny needed to bump up her last day – and I ended up having three weeks' notice. I think my blood pressure was at an all-time high. (And yes, more stress-crying happened.) So since I've just been through this process, (and have found someone great!), I wanted to share some tips with you (especially since January is a big time for families making care changes).

  1. Create a Job Post With a Title That Stands Out: I like adding two personality traits in my posts like "fun and energetic" or "organized and patient." I also add the hours and location. The nannies are getting your job in a long list of other jobs, and it helps if you add some important details that set yours apart. Ex. Energetic and Homework-Savvy Nanny needed M, W, F in Dupont Circle from 3-7pm.
     
  2. Make the Job Post Pretty Short: My first job post didn't get a lot of responses. So I shortened it. I kept the personality traits I was looking for, but I abbreviated the responsibilities. It was a bit of a marketing ploy, to be honest. I still said that housework and errand-running were integral parts of the job, but I didn't list out all the chores. I just needed to get the right candidate through the door, have her fall in love with my family, and then we could make sure she was okay with sweeping, cooking and doing laundry on Tuesdays!
     
  3. Reach Out to Certain Nanny Candidates: Once I had a post, I could search through caregivers in my area and reach out to particular people with a short summary of my job and a link to the post. FYI: I did not have much luck with this, but I know people who have. I learned that when people don't respond to your initial job post, it's because they're not interested in the job. (Shocker, right?!) But some people did respond asking if my hours were flexible (they weren't) or if I could give them more hours (I couldn't). But you can still try. It did help me feel proactive when I wasn't getting responses I wanted.
     
  4. Set Low Expectations on Caregivers Who Have Low response Rates: And who haven't logged in for over a week. This is important to keep in mind when you're sending messages to people with your job info. If they have a response rate under 60%, they're probably not actively looking for a job. Care.com also tells you when the last time each caregiver was on the site. If it's more than two weeks ago, it's another good sign they're not eagerly looking.
     
  5. Treat a Great Nanny Like Prime Real Estate: Okay, so I learned this the hard way. Once a candidate got through my phone screen, I would set up a face-to-face interview with them on the weekend. And you know what? Two of my favorite candidates got jobs before we ever met in person. Lesson learned: Once they passed my phone screen, I asked them to meet That.Day. And I was ready with an offer if I liked her, contingent on passing the preferred plus background check, a kid test, and reference checks, of course. But seriously, if you like someone (she's smart, mature, responsible, and meets all your qualifications), you need to move fast. Chances are, other families like her too.
     
  6. Discuss HomePay Upfront: This means the tax talk. Also discuss how much paid time-off you'll be offering, how you handle vacations and sick time, and go over all job responsibilities. Also talk about your family dynamic and parenting styles. Do this right at the first meeting so you're on the same page. Make the discussion friendly (no drill sergeant-approach), yet still creating the employer/employee relationship.
     
  7. Trust That a New Person Will Love Your Kids Just as Much as You Do: And that your kids have room in their hearts to love another nanny. The hardest thing about making a nanny change is trying to guess and prepare for how this will affect the kids. I was lucky – our former nanny has stayed in our lives as a sitter, she still plans playdates with the kids, and she helped train the new nanny. But I was still very surprised at how quickly the kids fell in love with our new nanny. In the end, I think kids just want to love and be loved and if they feel a person is genuine, and they feel safe with that person, they bond faster than most adults.

If you're making a change in the New Year, I wish you all the best. It's not without stress. Just remember to act fast on a great find, but still do all the checks (get safety tips here), and don't let a fear of change be a deterrent. There are a lot of great people out there who want to help you and want to love your kids. I recently realized this all over again.

Comments
User in Taylor, PA
Feb. 24, 2015

This is a great post! I am a nanny who is currently looking for work because the family I work for is moving soon. I had interviewed with a great family a few days ago and they said they needed time for other interviews that they set up and to get everything organized. Understandable and I will give them their time but they throw in little comments in our messages such as we love your personality and your background and we believe your capabilities are a perfect fit for our needs. I don't want to bother them when they already said they needed time but I'm afraid.another family will come around and I need to cat fast for work (I live on care.com). So I'm thrilled that you mentioned that in #5. Hopefully more families read this!

User in Taylor, PA
Feb. 24, 2015

This is a great post! I am a nanny who is currently looking for work because the family I work for is moving soon. I had interviewed with a great family a few days ago and they said they needed time for other interviews that they set up and to get everything organized. Understandable and I will give them their time but they throw in little comments in our messages such as we love your personality and your background and we believe your capabilities are a perfect fit for our needs. I don't want to bother them when they already said they needed time but I'm afraid.another family will come around and I need to cat fast for work (I live on care.com). So I'm thrilled that you mentioned that in #5. Hopefully more families read this! Even though they said they needed time and if another family were to contact me would it be wrong if I messaged the family to say another family contacted me and if they can give me the status on that position? Post is still open!

User in Visalia, CA
Feb. 23, 2015

I would like to make one comment.... don't assume that because a person hasn't logged in for a week or two that they are not actively looking. I know for myself in the past few days, due to being extremely ill, and while my normal activity is daily, being sick and getting myself better has taken a top priority.

User in Visalia, CA
Feb. 23, 2015

I would like to make one comment.... don't assume that because a person hasn't logged in for a week or two that they are not actively looking. I know for myself in the past few days, due to being extremely ill, and while my normal activity is daily, being sick and getting myself better has taken a top priority.

User
Jan. 6, 2015

Dear Katie your suggestions are excellent.. I am blessed to have worked with same family 6 years ,, I am a mature Nanny (over 60) . I will most likely work with this wonderful family another 6 years. I will work for them as long as they want a Nanny.They are both busy professionals . I love the parents and their children. Oh and the parents are 5 star people to work with. Tell those parents looking to hire not to discount hiring an older Nanny.

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