Student loans are starting to build up. Bills are beginning to accrue interest, and you’ve still got to pay off that cross-country trip you took six months ago. You need the money and are in dire need of a new nannying gig. As you pour over job listings, one thing is consistent:
“Wanted: Long term Nanny”
A listing near you seems fantastic, the pay is great, and the family sounds perfect. During the interview, the house is sparkling clean, and organized beautifully! The children are sweet and play well together. The icing on top is that the parents promise to be flexible with the schedule giving you the hours you need within your availability! The only problem is they need you to agree to a one year contract TODAY.
“What could be the harm, everything seems good. Great, even.” You think as you sign the dotted line.
Three weeks later… You’ve since learned that the children neither respect the parents or their nannies. The parents constantly ask you to stay late, and it appears they hired a cleaner the day specifically for your interview because it’s been a mess since. Now, you’re stuck with a one year contract.
What has happened?
How did everything go from seeming perfect to you being absolutely miserable?
First, I want to point out that there is nothing inherently wrong with what the parents in this hypothetical situation did. Many are quick to call them a “family from hell.” This is not necessarily true. Some nannies would be happy to take on such a job that was contracted a year out. The problem isn’t that the parents fooled the nannies.
The real problem was that the nanny did not properly vet them.
Would you marry someone after the first 15 minutes of your first date? Probably not. It makes sense that when picking a life partner, you date for a while to make sure you’re the perfect match. It’s the same when you are looking for a new nanny family. Making sure you know what you need from them and what you can offer them will help you, screen families, properly. Filtering out the bad, will leave the good and help you find the great.
Today, I’m going to cover a couple of ways that you can find a great nanny/family match.
The Interview Process
The first line of defense in screening your families comes via the interview process. Now, I’m not just talking about the moment you meet face to face, sit down, and hash out the specifics. The interview starts well before then – the job posting or profile page. Sometimes nannies track down families, and sometimes families track down nannies. In either case,
you want to make sure what you’re advertising for in your profile matches the type of work you want.
If you prefer working with a certain age, make that specific in your profile and give appropriate references. On the other hand, if you’re the one scouring the internet for a job, it may not be best to apply for every family out there, but make sure that the ones you apply for will match your needs.
Once your first filter is set up, and you set up an interview, you need to continue to look for red flags and mismatches. It’s common for nannies to provide families with an exhaustive list of previous families they’ve worked with, but be careful.
You must remember that this is as much an interview for them as it is for you.
Before the interview, ask the family to provide a list of their references – previous nannies that have worked with them. Asking for references is important because hearing the last nanny’s perspective can help give you a fuller picture without the rose-colored glasses of the parents. Even if their previous nanny had a bad experience with this family, the information she provides you may convince you that this family is perfect for you. If a family is hesitant to give out references, you can dodge a bullet or at the very least, set a shorter-term contract to test the waters for a bit longer than usual.
During the interview you can also ask:
“How many previous nannies have you had?”
If they have had a large number of nannies in a short period of time, such a high turnover rate may be a sign of a bad working environment.
The Trial Period
We’ve discussed this before. Still, I want to be absolutely clear with you:
never enter into a contract without a trial period.
The trial period is essential in your new job filter. Actually working with a family is the only way to really know if you and they are a good fit. It’s like going on a family vacation with your boyfriend’s family. Now, things are coming up that didn’t happen earlier in the relationship. Friction is bound to happen. Working in the family’s house is going to create that necessary friction in the nanny/family relationship. During your trial period, you’ll see what the real family is like. You’ll see how they handle day to day activities, how the children handle different situations, and how they all interact with each other and you. During your trial period, you or the parents can simply say at any point “this isn’t working,” and move on to find better matches without hard feelings from either side.
You must give yourself enough time during this trial period. Some have done as little as one week, which is not enough time. I firmly recommend a month to be set aside as a trial period. Once that is over, and you’ve both decided this will be a good relationship, you can “put a ring on it” by staying contracted with them.
You may notice a few little things that come up during your trial period. Make sure to discuss these and amend your contract if necessary before the trial period is officially over. If you want a free copy of a contract with everything you need, sign-up for my newsletter – I’ll send it right over! If you have other questions about the interview, filtering, or contracts, check my articles below or contact me directly!