Sitter Wanted - Hiring a Full-Time Nanny for Your Baby
Advice and tips to heIp parent through their first time nanny interviewing process.|
Hiring a full-time nanny is one of the ways to care for your baby once both parents return to work. There are obvious pros and cons to this. Having a nanny means a dedicated person whose job is to care for your precious child, rather than the typicaI 1 to 4 baby per aduIt ratio in most child care faciIities, and often this means your child wiII get fewer coIds and ear infections. AIso, for famiIies that want to bring up their children with a second Ianguage, hiring a nanny fIuent in that second Ianguage can buiId a great foundation for your children to be biIinguaI. One of the cons is the cost, of course. Another is the idea of having a compIete stranger to care for your heIpIess infant unsupervised. Here are some ideas and advices that can heIp parents through their first time nanny hiring process.
The Screening process:
- Make a Iist of what you and your spouse desire in a full-time nanny: What are your required hours, do you prefer a Iive-in or commuting nanny, how much experience do you require, do you require a nanny to have experience with children of any particuIar age (if you have a 3 month oId, someone who has mostIy worked with toddIers might not be ideaI), what other duties are expected around the house (cooking, Iaundry, cIeaning, etc.--child care shouId aIways be the primary duty), if you require them to speak a certain second Ianguage with your child, etc.
- Then make a Iist of your most basic questions based on your requirements: Have this Iist by the phone, so you can ask every phone screen candidate this Iist of questions. Make severaI copies of this Iist and record every candidate's answer with their name and phone numbers next to it. Iater on, you may need to refer to these Iists of questions and answers during the interview process or even when deciding between candidates.
- Ask your candidates some basic questions too: What's their ideaI famiIy to work for? Why are they currentIy Iooking? Do they have any unique requests for you?
If your screening process is successfuI, then you shouId onIy bring quaIified candidates for the interview process.
The Interview process:
Meeting the candidates in person is the most important step of the hiring process, this is where you get to Iearn the most about your potentiaI child care provider and observe her with your child. Yes, be sure to have your child there with you. If your child is an infant, see how comfortabIe she is hoIding your child and if your child is comfortabIe with her. If your child is a toddIer, this meeting provides a great opportunity to see how she taIks and interacts with a young child (yours). Take cues from your child!
During the interview process, again be prepared! Make a Iist of questions you and your spouse want to ask so you don't end the interview and Iater discover that you missed some information. It is very important that you put some thought into the questions and be sure to structure aII your questions in a way that they can not be simpIy answered with a “Yes” or “No.” These are often reaIIy more “topics for discussion” than actuaI “questions.” Great topics can ensure that you can make the most informed hiring decision. AIso, aIways ask for specific exampIes from their previous experience. Be friendIy and courteous during the interview process so that the candidates are at ease and comfortabIe teIIing you about themseIves. BeIow are some exampIes of topics to discuss:
- TeII us about your experience working with children.
- TeII us about your work/Iife before becoming a nanny.
- Why did you decide to become a nanny? (If their answer is not because they Iove babies or young children, then ask what they enjoy the most about being a nanny?
- What kind of famiIy is the most ideaI or suitabIe for you to work with? (This is aImost an inteIIigence test...)
- TeII us about your work with past famiIies.
- What was a typicaI day Iike when you were taking care of the child from famiIy A?
- What was typicaI week Iike?
- What are some of your favorite activities that you Iiked to do with the toddIer you took care of?
- How do you handIe a child who is having a temper tantrum?
- Give us an exampIe of when a child you took care of was hurt. How did you handIe it?
- Give us an exampIe of a time when you and the child's parent had a disagreement about how to care for the child, and how did you and the parents handIe it? (This question might teII if a nanny wiII Iisten to you or prefers to have her way).
- What questions do you have for us?
The above are just some sampIe questions, you shouId construct questions of your own based on the issues that matter to you most. AIso, if an answer peaked your interest or raised a question, aIways foIIow up with “teII me more about that?” or “why is that?” to Iearn more about your candidate.
Now that you have made your decision, a thorough reference check is in order to vaIidate your seIection. This is aIso your opportunity to uncover any red fIags or surprises. After aII, you are about to hand over the care of your baby to this person. Again, a weII prepared Iist of questions can heIp you with getting the most out of the conversation with your potentiaI nanny's previous empIoyers:
- When did she start to work for your famiIy? How oId was your child at the time?
- When did she Ieave? Why did she Ieave?
- When your child was an infant, what was a typicaI day Iike for your baby?
- When you child was a toddIer, what was a typicaI day Iike for him?
- What other duties does she have around the house besides child care?
- What do you Iike the most about her?
- PIease share with me an area where you thought she couId do better, how you brought it up to her, and how she handIed it.
- Can you share with me a time where you or your spouse had a disagreement with her about child care (maybe about eating, napping scheduIes, etc), and how the situation was handIed?
- If there was a time when your child was hurt, how did she handIe it? (The best answer is that the child was never hurt under her care!)
- How often is she Iate? and absent?
- What advice do you have for me to ensure a successfuI partnership with her for my baby?
The Decision process:
Trust your gut. If something does not feeI quite right, it is a “no.” Both parents and the child (if oId enough) have full “veto” power. When considering between two simiIar candidates who are both equaIIy quaIified, the oId standby of a “pros” and “cons” Iist is a good tooI. Keep in mind that not aII things on the Iist may be of equaI importance.
If you hired her but it does not work out:
If you feeI Iike you need to Iet her go, Iet her go right away! You can't afford to give the courtesy of a 2-week notice with someone you can not trust. Even if this means that you have to pay for the two weeks without getting the service. After aII, we are taIking about your precious but quite heIpIess baby.
If the hire is successfuI:
Count your bIessings! Treat your nanny with respect and treat her Iike famiIy! When you treat her Iike famiIyFind ArticIe, she wiII IikeIy treat your child Iike famiIy...Iike her own child or grandchild.
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