Tips for Hiring a Reliable Nanny

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June 6, 2014 by Bill Johnson

Finding the perfect nanny to take care of your children takes patience. It may be a long and time-consuming process, but skipping important steps like checking references or interviewing candidates face to face isn’t advisable. You want to make sure you’re going to hire the best person for the job, so check out this article for a few pointers.

The search for a nanny can be a daunting process. Not to mention the fact that the thought of leaving your child with a stranger can be really unsettling. But you’ll have to do it at some point and it’s not like Mary Poppins or Nanny McPhee is going to magically show up on your doorstep, so you need to approach the problem with care.

First off, it’s best to avoid hiring a nanny based on their Craigslist ad. Ideally, you should be diligent to check references and run solid background checks before entrusting someone to look after your child. To help you out, here are some tips to get you started.

Know What You are Looking For

Start the process by figuring out exactly what you want from the person who’s going to look after your kid. Would you prefer a nanny who will only watch over the little one, or would you prefer one who will also help you with the housework? Do you want someone who can tutor your child and help with his or her education? Talk it over with your family. Get very specific about your wish list and write down some skills you would like your nanny to have, and prioritize the list.

Write a Compelling Ad

There are many websites that allow you to post an ad to let potential candidates know you’re looking for a nanny.,, and are all good places to conduct your search. When you write an ad on these websites, you need to come up with an attractive and compelling one. Don’t start by listing all the qualities you want in a nanny. Instead, start your ad by mentioning why the nanny should choose to work for you. Don’t be afraid to share your parenting philosophy and describe the environment the nanny will be working in.

Mention your family values and then proceed to list what you are looking for in a candidate. Be clear about your requirement and priorities. For instance, if you want her to take your child and your family dog for a walk through the park each day, include “loves animals and the outdoors” in the description. Then, end the ad by listing the specific payment and benefits you’ll offer. It’s a good idea to ask candidates to include a resume and a cover letter when applying for the job, so you’ll get a better sense of who they are.

Create a Short List of Candidates

Once your ad is up and running, you’ll likely receive many resumes you’ll have to sort through. Read them carefully and pay attention to any suspicious gaps in employment or any other red flags that make you feel uncomfortable. Then, come up with a short list of potential candidates, based on your current needs.

Check References

Once your list of potential candidates gets even shorter, it’s best to conduct a background check on everyone to see if any red flags pop up. You should also talk to the nannies’ past employers. If a candidate isn’t willing to give you a list of verifiable references, he or she shouldn’t be trusted.

Conduct Interviews

Interviewing candidates face to face is mandatory when you’re looking to hire a nanny that will spend a large amount of time in your home, taking care of your child. Come up with questions that require creative answers to see how the nanny would handle problems that come with the job. For example, ask them what they would do if your kid refused to eat his or her lunch, or how they would react if the child didn’t get along with anyone at the playground. The answers to these types of questions will tell you a lot about the nanny’s experience and character.

Use a Nanny Agency

If you’re not sure you have the patience or time to deal with this whole process, you can always take the shortcut and contact a nanny agency to help you out. I used one when I was looking for a nanny a year ago – my family and I just moved to Atlanta, we didn’t have any contacts in the area, and we needed a nanny as soon as possible. So if you’re looking for a nanny in Atlanta, try A reputable agency will make sure to find the right match for your family in no time, based on your needs and values. I’m sure you can find a good one in your area as well.

In the end, the key to finding a reliable nanny is to be upfront about what you are looking for and to assess potential candidates accordingly. As a parent, you need to trust your gut – if it tells you that someone isn’t right for the job, even if their resume is impressive, move on to your next choice. After all, you need to be 100-percent comfortable with the person you entrust to take care of your child.


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