Saturday, March 14, 2009

The Curious Case of the Unwritten and ExpandingJob Description

The creation of a carefully drafted job description is one of the first steps a family should take upon embarking on a nanny search. Selecting a nanny is one of the most critical hiring decisions you will ever make. How many employers would even consider hiring an employee without presenting a job description at the very onset?

To begin interviewing candidates without a definitive job description is a waste of every one's time.
A job description will let the candidate know what they applying for and what to expect.

I cannot tell you how many times we at ANC have received a litany of complaints about job descriptions that have changed and grown once the nanny started the job. Light housekeeping, alluded to in the interview, can become anything from shovelling the snow from the driveway to bee catching in the yard. No one in their right mind would consider adult lingerie "kid laundry" nor do most kids covet elaborate nouvelle cuisine for dinner.

Placement counselors at my agency will ask, "Do you have a job description or a work agreement?" The response is usually, "No, I didn't think I needed it in writing. They explained it at the interview and they are such nice people." Typically, these placements do not last very long unless there is an intervention and the sudden appearance of a written and agreed upon job description and agreement.

If you are a hiring couple, it is imperative that you both work on this document together and agree to the actual terms.

What might a job description include?

  • A listing of qualifications for the candidate

  • The days and number of hours that nanny is to be on duty.

  • A detailed and specific list of all responsibilities assigned.

  • A specific listing of activities around childcare and "light housework".

  • A hypothetical schedule of what a day will look like

  • Salary and benefits

    • Provision for ongoing meetings of nanny and employer for communication

    • Scheduling of performance reviews

    • Holiday and Vacation Schedule

    • Confidentiality Agreement

    • Termination agreement

    This job description is not engraved in stone and should be periodically reviewed by nanny and employer. Ideally, once a candidate is about to be hired, employer should draw up a Work Agreement based upon this job description and specific terms agreed upon by both parties.