Most expectant and new parents view the search for childcare with at least some amount of dread, and why shouldn’t they? Whether your search for a nanny has started before your child is born, when you’re frantically outfitting a nursery and coordinating your birth plan, or after, when you’d prefer to spend your few quiet moments sleeping, it’s never easy to hire a caregiver. We get it—each of us wants our child to be cared for by a loving, responsible, individual—a Supernanny. So where to start the search for Mary Poppins? Here are three ways to identify the best candidates for the job.
- Word of Mouth
If there’s one thing you can do with a sleeping baby on your chest, it’s text your pals! Send a mass e-mail to friends in your area asking for recommendations and let them know it’s okay to forward your query on to others. Good nannies tend to find new employment via their current employers, since most families are eager to help their beloved nannies find new work when it’s time for a family to move on. Make sure you include as much information about hours and days as you can to save yourself the trouble of fielding calls from nannies whose schedules don’t match. If you belong to a parents’ listserv, Facebook page, or other online group, now is the time to harness the power of social media. Post about the position and let other parents send you references, and don’t forget to ask them if they’ve previously obtained background screening on their nanny. (Older searches may need to be updated.)
Tip: Start early. It may take a couple of rounds of posts and queries before you find a match.
- Nanny Agency
Far and away the most expensive option, finding your nanny through a traditional nanny agency can set you back thousands of dollars. If you contract with a reputable agency, your money should be getting you a fully-screened, professional nanny who fits your specific requirements, plus a guarantee from the agency (in your contract) that if the nanny isn’t a good fit they will assist you in finding a replacement. The very best agencies attract a talented pool of caregivers who have passed several rounds of interviews and all relevant background checks. The agency handpicks nannies from this pool and sends them to you to be interviewed, whereupon you meet a candidate knowing that she’s a fully-vetted professional. Still, there are hundreds of nanny agencies out there, not all of which are rigorous in their selection process. Before you sign on the dotted line make sure you understand exactly what you’re paying for—you don’t want to find out later that a background report isn’t included in the fees you paid the agency.
Tip: Do your homework. A little research will help you to find a reputable agency.
- Online Sources
With most online nanny-finder services, you’ll pay a membership fee in order to access postings or to post your own job advertisement. Remember, these individuals have not been pre-screened so you will need to conduct your own background check. As with nanny agencies, the quality of the service can vary. Good online nanny-finder services can be great resources for accessing a large pool of candidates quickly, and often these sites offer extremely helpful information and tools for you, the employer, relating to a nanny’s hiring, such as your tax responsibilities and salary payment tools.