When hiring a nanny for your children, it’s critical to find the right fit for your family. A resume or profile is not a person, and can’t always tell you everything you need to know. Fit often has more to do with interpersonal connections, communication style, and care philosophy.
With the rise of video interviews, candidate profiles, and virtual nanny services, families are not always learning enough about how that nanny will fit into their home dynamic. You can’t know until you meet them in person.
So, you’ve invited a candidate to your home; what should you be looking for? Beyond their resume, here are a few traits that will be strong indicators of a nanny’s skill and abilities, even during a first meeting.
Cool amongst Chaos
When you are interviewing a nanny, it can be a high-pressure situation. First meetings between kids and a stranger can be stressful, and if you find your infant fussy in their arms, your toddler shy, or your preschooler suddenly in the midst of a meltdown, don’t panic. Instead of reading into your child’s reaction, focus on the nanny’s face. If they are calm, relaxed, and positive in the face of an upset child, that will tell you much more about their comfort with the role than a child’s separation anxiety. This will also indicate competence in an emergency, which is critical for the safe care of your child.
By hiring a nanny who has worked with a variety of age groups or has some training or education in child development, you are ensuring that this person will know how to enrich your child at any age. It can also be an indicator of long-term retention, as they will know how to shift their care style as your child’s needs change. When interviewing candidates, ask them to give examples of activities/toys for your child’s age group, and then ask them why those things are beneficial. Even better, encourage them to play with your child at the moment! An experienced nanny will be able to explain the developmental value of activities while demonstrating their particular care style/philosophy.
Many nannies start their career as in-home caregivers by transitioning from a childcare facility, school, or daycare. Some families write these professionals off since they have “never been a nanny before.” That is doing these families (and teachers) a disservice, as the skills developed in classrooms and daycares are incredibly transferable and require a higher degree of multitasking, communication, and management skills. Imagine a lead teacher–caring for 12 toddlers; communicating with 24 parents; maintaining their classroom, preparing meals, and creating curriculum and detailed observations for each child—being told they aren’t qualified to be a nanny to one toddler in someone’s home. Keeping an open mind to different sources of experience can lead to you creating a lasting relationship for your entire family.
Guarantee Quality with a Professional Nanny Agency
Searching for a nanny on your own can be incredibly time-consuming and frustrating, and your time is valuable. You can’t know the most critical details about a candidate from a social media post or platform profile.
Online background checks only tell part of the story and are a poor substitute for agency checks as they are bound to strict regulations. The same goes for references, which should be verified for authenticity—you should be wary of a candidate presents a letter of recommendation without contact information included.
Working with an established and reputable agency ensures quality, due diligence, and access to resources (such as payroll and tax guidance, employee retention tips, and advocacy that protects you and your employee). A professional nanny agency understands the market and can guide you through the hiring process, taking on the heavy lifting of vetting, and making sure you can focus on the right thing: the fit.