Contrary to popular belief, even Mary Poppins isn’t the right nanny for every family.
When searching for a nanny position it’s essential for a nanny to find the right job with the right family. The right employment match is essential for a healthy, long-term placement.
Before seeking new positions, nannies should identify their strengths and weaknesses, consider their specials skills and experiences, and evaluate what they liked and didn’t like about their most recent job. Doing so can help provide an accurate picture of what they bring to the table and what specific things they are looking for – and not looking for – in a nanny job.
Nannies should also consider the duties and responsibilities they wish to take on in their position. A nanny who feels children should go on age-appropriate outings will find herself disappointed if the parents refuse to let her transport the children to them. Nannies should also carefully consider what housekeeping tasks they are willing to tackle. Some parents mistakenly believe that a nanny doubles as a housekeeper. While this may be true for some nannies if there will be additional compensation, it’s not true for all nannies. If you’re seeking a position that is strictly childcare and childcare related tasks, it will be important to communicate that up front.
Considering salary range is also an important component of the job search. Determining your salary range can help to narrow your search and allow you to focus on those parents who are offering positions with salaries in the same ballpark. A nanny’s education, experience, location, schedule, duties and responsibilities can significantly impact her earning potential.
Unlike in a daycare situation, where the interaction between parents and caregivers literally stops at the front door, with nanny care the front door is where the interaction begins. Nannies and parents work together as partners to meet the physical, social, emotional and intellectual needs of the children on a daily basis. For this reason, parents and nannies must be able to effectively communicate and enjoy, or at least tolerate, spending time together.
When interviewing for a nanny position nannies shouldn’t overlook the opportunity to learn as much about the family as the parents learn about them. Nannies should ask questions with relation to the family’s lifestyle, interests, tastes, likes and dislikes to gauge how they would feel about working for the family.
During interviews in the home, nannies should pay careful attention to the home environment. A nanny who is a neat freak likely wouldn’t enjoy working with a family who is laissez-faire about picking up after themselves. How the parents and children interact will also provide valuable insight into the parenting style of the parents and family dynamics.
During the interview, nannies should also gauge their comfort level both in the home and around her employers. Ask yourself if you feel at ease in the home and if conversation comes easily.
While it may feel awkward, nannies should feel comfortable asking the family for a reference from a previous care provider. It can be helpful for nannies to glean insight from others who cared for the family’s children before.
10 Ways for a Nanny to Find the Right Family
Finding a family that needs a nanny might not be a difficult task, but landing the right job with the right family can pose a much bigger problem. Since nannies and families work so intimately together, it’s essential that there is a good employment match.
- Consider your marketability. The nanny market can be a competitive one. Consider what you can bring to the job that others can’t – perhaps extensive experience caring for twins – and market yourself to families who would benefit from your unique skills.
- Determine your ideal schedule and hourly rate. Full-time nannies tend to work 40 to 60 hours per week while part-time nannies work much less. Take your availability and how many hours you want to work per week into consideration and look for a family advertising for a nanny to work a similar schedule. You’ll also want to be sure to connect with families who have the same hourly wage range in mind.
- Decide on your living arrangements. Do you wish to be a live-in or live-out nanny? If you’re looking for a live-in position, you’ll want to be sure you find good housemates as well as employers, and that you market yourself to those seeking a live-in position.
- Consider the commute. How far are you willing to commute to and from work? Look for families who live within your ideal commute zone.
- Think about the duties you’re willing to take on. While some nannies are willing to take on additional housekeeping tasks, others are not. If you don’t want to take on additional household chores, you should avoid applying to families who are advertising for a nanny/housekeeper.
- Use the interviews to your advantage. During the interview process take advantage of asking questions about the family. Ask about their likes and dislikes and the expectations they have for their nanny.
- Interview with more than one family. Even if the first family you come across seems like the perfect fit, take the time to interview and be interviewed by others. Doing so can help you reaffirm a good fit.
- Ask to speak to past nannies. If the family has employed nannies previously, ask to speak to one for a reference. Contacting a family’s prior nanny can provide insightful information.
- Consider the click factor. For both parents and nannies, there has to be some sort of connection for the relationship to work out. Pay careful attention to whether you connect or not before agreeing to a post.
- Have a trial period. When you agree to be hired as nanny, agree to the terms under the condition that if the situation does not work out for either of you for any reason, then you will have the right excuse yourself from the job within 30 days.
Since nannies work in private homes, the nanny/employer relationship is more intimate than most. For that reason it’s essential to find the right employment match for long-term placement.