Have been spending some time on twitter and am intrigued by the many tweets about nannies from a variety of sources. Have also been exposed to so many innovative, creative, and heartfelt mother blogs where the topic of finding a nanny, baby sitter or Au pair comes up. Thought I would weigh in on this topic.
Here are some tips that come from years of experience.
1. To thine self be true. Figure out who you are as a family and what your needs are. If you are expressive, informal, affectionate and keep a very structured and organized home make sure that candidate's understand this about you.
5. If you are too busy to do your own exhaustive screening, vetting, and calling consider using a reputable nanny agency. On line services are convenient and offer many options but cannot really do the vetting, profiling, coaching, and streamlining of candidates that a good agency can. A reputable agency will have a reasonable guarantee and replacement policy. If the nanny you hired from Sitter City or Craig's List bombs out in the first week of work who are you going to call?
6. When reviewing an applicant's resume explore any gaps. This is critical.
7. Call every relevant reference and if the candidate does not want you to call certain employers vote with your feet.
8. Have open ended interview questions and give the applicant space to talk. Listen, listen carefully to responses, questions and body language. Introduce children to applicant and note how the interaction goes and the reaction of your children. If this is a "thumbs up" candidate and they have reciprocal interest in your family follow up with a second interview and then a "trial date"
9. It is important that you do a criminal, social security and driving check.
10. In making an offer, put it in writing, and be clear about gross vs. net salary and benefits. Would highly recommend presenting a work agreement detailing all of the above as well as responsibilities, scheduling and other contractual obligations.
11. It is important to follow up with the candidates that you are not moving forward with after an interview. It is simply good etiquette and is the thing to do after a candidate has spent time with you.
12. Always trust your gut in making decisions.