Tips on Hiring Nannies
The search for a nanny can be daunting, but these tips can make hiring a nanny easier.
You also want to get at what their child-care style is, she says. "You
want someone who will listen to you," she says. "Some nannies are very
professional and have a way of doing things and you need to psych that
out," she says. For example, "if you are an active family that loves to
get outdoors and -- no matter what the weather -- you want your baby in the
park, you need to make sure the nanny is on the same page."
Tip: Give your nanny candidate a trial run: Find an excuse to leave the
candidate alone with your child for three or four minutes and see what they
Check references when hiring nannies. Just do it, experts
stress." You want verifiable, objective references" Marcus says.
Remember that "being a mother is great, except it's not objective or
verifiable." Call all written references.
When checking references, "bring up all the things that percolated
during the interview," Maddalone says. For example, ask a nanny's past
employer how the nanny juggled stress and multiple priorities. "You really
want to get the reference to open up and be focused around your
Run background checks when hiring nannies. While many agencies run
fairly extensive background checks, parents can do this as well, experts say.
"Check Social Security numbers and verify their educational
references," Marcus says. Some people may feel it's important to get
a credit report since nannies will be in the home unsupervised. It's also
important to run a background check to make sure a nanny candidate doesn't have
a criminal history. Some companies, including Marcus', can do all this for
Maddalone suggests conducting a drug test on potential nannies. "Go to a
drug store and buy a self-testing kit," he says. Also check the sexual
offender child registry. The state of California makes all of this relatively
simple for parents with www.trustline.org, a database of nannies and
babysitters that have cleared criminal background checks.
Making an Offer
Set a salary. Expect to pay a full-time nanny at least $500 to $600 a
week, depending on where you live, says Maddalone. Live-in nannies may make
slightly less since they get free room and board. Factor transportation costs,
health care, use of a car, and other terms into the salary as you see fit.
"When communicating, you want to negotiate in gross versus take-home
pay," Maddalone advises. Also go over sick days, vacation days, and explain
the schedule you expect your nanny to keep from the get-go so there are no gray
Tip: "You want to always pay a little more than market rate, so you
don't risk someone recruiting the person away," says Maddalone.
Once you have found your Mary Poppins, start out firm with a clear list of
her responsibilities and your expectations and make sure to set boundaries.
Take it from someone who knows, it's almost impossible to go back and do this
once the new nanny has started. So do it now and everyone will be happy.
Published February 2007.