Nanny Search Tips and Suggestions

Below are tips and suggestions from my own experience on finding a nanny. This post goes hand-in-hand with 11 Steps for Nanny Search.

Have your nanny start a week or so before you go back to work. This will give you time to adjust to having someone around with baby AND gives you a little freedom before jumping back into the rat race.

My nanny job post:

Time needed: M-F, 8 am - 1:30 pm
Looking for a part-time nanny to help watch my three month old son, Michael, during the morning/early afternoon hours. I will be working from home and ideally need help with watching Michael while I am on calls and when I need to run out on errands. In addition, when Michael is napping, looking for help with soft house work. I also travel occasionally for work and would potentially be looking for someone to travel with me and baby (would offer a travel salary, cover cost of travel and you would have free time to explore!)
Michael is pretty easy going for a baby - he's currently breast fed, takes a few naps throughout the day and loves seeing all the things. Want someone who can help continue his development and stimulate his brain.

Things I offered:

  • When out of town/on vacation during a normal working week, I pay nanny in full for first week and then ½ a week for any additional weeks we’re gone.
  • I offer my nanny holidays off unpaid, but time and a half is she wants to work
  • I do not offer sick days, but there have been a couple times my nanny needed to go to the doctor and I paid her for those days anyway
  • Again, any day I don’t need her (outside of national holidays) when she would normally work, I pay her
  • Holiday bonus

Issues important to me:

  • Stimulating my child's mind and making sure they are physically active (especially a baby learning to sit up, crawl, walk.) Don’t leave my kid on a mat all day on his back.
  • Punctuality - arrive on time and leave at set time. If start time is 8 am, that means you’re ready to hang with child at 8 am, not coming in, going to the bathroom, eating breakfast.
  • Staying busy when child is sleeping. Help with laundry, fold clothes, empty/refill dishwasher, tidy up any messes child made. If my countertop has crumbs on it, help me out and clean them off.
  • Cooking meals would be a major win (current nanny doesn’t do this)
  • Most importantly, showing child kindness.

Nanny sites:
Urban Sitter - $19.95 monthly membership with first month free, open cancellation
Care.com - $37 monthly, $147 annual
Sittercity - free for limited use, $35 for one month, $140 for a year for full access

(For Bay Area)
Golden Gate Mothers Group $75 annual fee
Nextdoor (for recommendations) free

First round interview suggestions:
Keep this conversation friendly but ask the more interview-y type questions. You want to know now if there are any weird vibes you pick up on.
I always start with something like “Thanks so much for speaking with me, I wanted a quick chat to get to know you a bit and see what questions you might have based on the job post?”

  • Ask the general “get to know you questions” - where are you from? etc.
  • Ask the basic childcare questions, based on your needs - for example, I could not have hired someone who wasn’t comfortable with changing diapers.
  • What is your childcare experience?
  • What ages have you worked with?
  • How would you commute/do you have a car? (My nanny didn’t need to have a car, but some parents need a nanny who can drive kids around.)
  • Are you comfortable with changing diapers, making bottles, feeding baby?
  • Are you comfortable being alone with baby?
  • Are you ok giving baby medicine?
  • How do you feel about light housework when baby is napping (laundry, dishes, counter wipe downs, water plants)?
  • Are you ok with animals? (If you have an animal DEFINITELY ask this question and let them know what kind of animal you have.)
  • I have a dog, would you be comfortable taking baby and dog on walks together? (I don’t have a dog, but maybe you need a dog and baby sitter…)

Questions you might be asked:

  • What is your child's temperament?
  • How often does he/she nap?
  • What kind of food is baby eating?
  • How much are you offering per hour?
  • How would you handle sick days/holidays?
  • Do you offer vacation days?
  • What happens if you are on vacation, do I still get paid?
  • What are you looking for in a nanny?
  • If you liked the applicant while talking in first round interview - set up second interview on phone call. “I enjoyed speaking with you and would be great to introduce you to (insert kids name.) Do you have some time over the next week to meet up and grab a coffee?”

Second round interview suggestions:
You’ve got your family with you and you’re ready to meet the candidates in person. Here are some things to pay attention to.

  • Did candidate arrive on time/was early?
  • How are they put together? Not in a snobby way, more in a “are they clean, smell ok, dressed appropriately” way? Or do they look like they haven’t showered in a week, clothes totally disheveled and sloppy? You want someone who can take care of themselves taking care of your kid.
  • How does your child respond to them? Is the candidate immediately comfortable with the child and making the child feel as ease or do they seem out of their element?
  • Now is the time to talk about the more detailed aspects of what you need. Be very open and honest about what you want in childcare and your expectations.
  • Discuss activities the nanny would do with your child to stimulate them, see what ideas they come up with
  • Ask if they have any pet peeves or things they aren’t comfortable with in watching children (these could be very legit, like please don’t tell me my shift is over 2pm and then not come home until 3 pm.)
  • Review in detail what you’re offering (pay rate, time off, commute money, sick days etc.)
  • Can candidate cook meals for you?
  • If you’re interested in using them outside normal hours (like for a date night) talk about that option with them too
  • Explain your strategy with your child - can they be around phones? Is TV ok? Can nanny take them on walks? Do you have specific learning activities they need to do each day? Are there extra curriculars nanny needs to get them to?
  • Ask for references now, if you haven’t done so already.

Reference check conversation suggestions:
These convos don’t need to be long, but they do need to be informative.

  • How long did so and so work for you?
  • How was that experience?
  • Did you have any trouble shooting?
  • Anything they can improve on?
  • Things to be aware of?
  • How did you find this person?
  • What activities do they do with your child?
  • Age ranges of children?
  • Overall feedback?

Make sure you have at least two references per candidate. I social media stalked these people too, just to make sure they were legit. But I’m also crazy.

Nanny Contract information:
Nanny Contract Tips

Nanny Tax information:
Nanny Tax

Happy nanny scouting!