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How to hire a nanny

by Saoirse Hannigan of MindMe.ie

If your child-care needs aren't nine to five or you have more than one child, a nanny (live-in or live-out) might make sense for your family. What will you need from your new nanny? For all families, the right nanny is the one who fits your family's needs, your values (your budget) and the one that “feels right”.
Here is the MindMe.ie guide to hiring a nanny:

How to hire a nanny

Decide What You NeedBack to Top

This is where you get to write a full list of requirements, the nice-to-haves and must-haves. From a full, clean driving licence and First Aid experience to being a linguist or musician, this is where you get to create your perfect nanny on paper. While it's easy to imagine hiring a Mary Poppins who can do it all, keep in mind that nannies are only human, just like you. Write a list of "must have" requirements, such as years of experience or flexibility with changing schedules, and then create a second column of "like-to-haves," like the ability to tutor or drive a child to Rugby or GAA practice. Keep these lists in mind when interviewing candidates so you can put each candidate in perspective.

Calculate Your BudgetBack to Top

Make sure that you are prepared to pay the correct rate for your area, and to attract the best candidates. All families should draw up a budget that includes nanny pay, bonuses, discretionary spending when with the children as well as holiday pay and taxes. Careful budgeting and communication around money are key for a happy relationship with your nanny. It is always best to discuss salary in terms of gross pay. A full-time nanny generally works Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm. Any extra hours, overtime and additional babysitting is not included within their weekly wage. Rates can vary depending on the nanny's experience, how many children are in your family, the nanny's qualifications and of course your location.

Post a Job on MindMe.ieBack to Top

All families should write a clear, detailed and engaging job post – to make sure that potential candidates understand the full list of responsibilities involved and that the job is attractive to the best of these candidates.

Interview CandidatesBack to Top

Once you have created a shortlist of your applicants (with a swift and polite no thanks to those you are not interested in), start to interview candidates. Carefully prepare for the interviews so that you cover the job requirements as well as the candidate’s qualifications and personal qualities.
Screen your list of candidates and choose the best four candidates by the positive responses you receive on the phone and then meet the final 4 in person. Ask them to bring three references whom you can contact.
When you meet in person, ask some questions during the interview that they might not be anticipating. For example, I like to ask nannies what their favourite children’s books are. If they don’t offer any answers right away, then I know they don’t read to children and that’s something I find very important.
More than anything, any parent needs to run the “instinct” check. When you meet a candidate, give yourself time in the first minute or two to sit back and observe them in your house. Do you feel comfortable with them there, do they handle themselves well, do they make eye contact with you or the children, do they light up when they see the children or do, they look a little awkward? All of these are signals and information points that are vital for your final decision. If, after all the steps are followed, there is one candidate that you just “feel right” about, go with that.

Check referencesBack to Top

I recommend calling the referees instead of sending them an email. Reading an email is not a substitute for hearing a referee’s voice. Have a list of questions written out beforehand to ask the former employers. Why is she not working with you now? How did she handle chaotic days when the kids were sick? Did she mind working overtime? What are the great attributes she brought to your family and household? Is she reliable, flexible, trustworthy and punctual?

Trial runBack to Top

I suggest doing a trial run with the nanny you think would be a good fit for your family. If you have other children who are older than the baby, it’s important to see how they all get along - you can generally trust your ‘instinct’ that you have got it right.

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