As an agency director, we have been in the midst of a very anomic situation for both potential employers and nanny candidates. Many parents ask, "Are salaries, down"? Nanny applicants ask, "Do you have any jobs"? There is an increased and in many cases, painful, lag between when nannies first appear on the market and secure a position. Candidates that were snapped up even a year ago find that they will have to play more of a waiting game. Tough times.
Here are some tips
1. Do research and determine what your current market value range is.
2. Be creative and think of ways in which the salary and benefits package you seek could appeal to concerned prospective employers.
3. Sharpen up your resume and tweak for typos and mispellings. Make sure that it is updated.
4. Every nanny has a special talent or skill set that will appeal to a certain market. After an honest assessment go after your target market. Eg. if you have a knack for relating to teens don't go after new parents. Maybe you have had much success in working for dual career doctors or professors. Don't be afraid to pursue those types of employers.
5. Shop around for and use a professional nanny agency. Agencies will be able to market you and assure clients that you are well worth what you expect, even in this down market. Parents who use agencies are not looking for deals- they seek quality over all other factors.
6. If you don't already have one, assemble a nanny portfolio including your resume, certifications, recommendations, honors and awards and examples of your actual work as a nanny. Make sure that you keep this updated.
7. Dress for success. We are often asked what one should wear to a nanny interview. Best advice is to wear casual but professional slacks (khakis are fine) and a tailored sweater or shirt. Wear sensible shoes and look ready for action with children. Light on the make up, and no perfume. Leave your cell or blackberry in the car. Long and painted nails are not usually a big hit with parents.
8. Be reasonable about salary and be prepared to negotiate. You might not make as much as you could have made a year or even two years ago but with the right family and job description you might be more content then waiting months for the "perfect" offer. You might include performance reviews and options for raises/bonuses in the work agreement that you sign off on.
9. Show passion and interest. Most parents want to know that you are going to be excited and actively engaged with their children. Working parents really fear that the nanny will end up being a paid custodian. Genuine enthusiasm will give you a competitive edge. Ask lots of questions that will show that you understand what they are looking for and the importance of the job.
10. After every interview follow up with a thank you note. Let the parents know that you think that this could be a great match all around, and why.