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The Nanny Guide: How to Find a Nanny on Care.com

Stephanie St. Martin
Feb. 26, 2018

Tips for improving your search so you locate the best nanny faster.

The Nanny Guide: How to Find a Nanny on Care.com
Image via Getty Images/Tetra Images

Did you finally decide to hire a nanny? Congratulations! (If you're still not sure, here are 67 Reasons to Hire a Nanny).

If you're not sure where to start, we're here to help! 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're 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.

Learn how to be a Fair Care Employer

List Traits and Qualifications

"The first thing you do is write down the qualities you are looking for in a child care provider," advises Stolov. 

  • Does she need to have nanny experience or is it okay that she taught at a day 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.

Check out this list of 5 Must-Have Nanny Qualifications for inspiration.

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. Here are five things to include.

  1. 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. House Rules
    Often overlooked, a general idea of 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 you have a live-in nanny, 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 master's 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. 

Search for Nannies

"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 you can also search for providers who are looking for jobs.

When you log into Care.com, you'll 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, language requirements or transportation needs.

Respond to Applicants

As nannies start to apply to your job, take the time to read their messages, review profiles, research and interview thoroughly. For those candidates who do not qualify for the position, 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.

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