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HIRING A NANNY: 9 things you must know

4th May 2018

The time has come. You need to hire a an experienced and — dare we say it — fun new nanny for your children. Your nanny will be joining you on the special journey caring for and raising your children into happy, healthy adults.

It’s a huge responsibility.

A nanny is not just an employee. A nanny is practically part of your family.

This person should be someone who you trust. You’ll be inviting them into your home, entrusting them with valuable items like keys and credit cards. They’ll be looking after your precious children.

You need to be able to have honest, open communication with them, and sometimes difficult conversations. It’s critical that you pick the right person. And yet, at least at first, your nanny will be a stranger. How do you sort the wheat from the chaff and find the right nanny for your family?

There’s a process you should follow when hiring a nanny. Yes, it can be difficult. But it’s also easier than you think. Read on for our 9 tips to help you hire the nanny of your dreams and of course Brilliant Nannies are happy to help you on this search and make it smooth.

#1 Decide the Exact Specifications of Your nanny position

Plan out exactly what you want from your new nanny in advance
“Someone who likes children” is not enough.

The better you think this through, the more likely you’ll find someone who is a good fit for your family.

CHECKLIST FOR YOUR NANNY ROLE:

Determine the exact duties of the role.
Do you want a live-in or live-out nanny?
Decide on the hours you want your nanny to work.
When are their days off?
What sort of personality would you like your nanny to have?
How friendly would you like to be with your nanny? Will it just be a working relationship?
How much are you going to pay your nanny?

#2 Offer a Competitive Salary Based on Market Rates

Hiring a nanny is not an area where you can save money. You need to make sure you can afford it and also the salary will be competitive so your nanny will work happily for long term.

Benchmark the salary you are prepared to offer against the industry average, and make an offer in the right range.

If you offer too little you will struggle to find a candidate with the right skills and if you do, it might be someone desperate for a job and this candidate might leave you when they find a better paid job. If you pay too much, hiring a nanny might not be sustainable.

PRO TIP: DISTINGUISH BETWEEN HIRING A NANNY AND A HOUSEKEEPER.

Nannies are childcare professionals. Many won’t expect to pick up extra cleaning duties “when they have a moment”, especially if they don’t relate to childcare.

If housekeeping is something you require, include it in the job description and adjust your pay accordingly. Similarly, if you want a candidate who is happy to walk your dog, or to provide stimulating, educational activities for your kids, be prepared to pay more.

Rates will vary by location, experience and qualifications. To get an idea of the going rate, please ask Brilliant Nannies or look at our services page: https://brilliantnannies.co.uk/services/

#3 Set Minimum Requirements for the Right Candidate

A nanny is someone you will trust to look after your children when you’re not there. That’s why you want them to have every quality you can dream up.

However, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to find an absolute ‘perfect’ fit. It takes a lot of time to get to know people properly and you’ll have to choose from the candidates available.

That’s why having minimum requirements for your nanny will help you pick the right person. These are things that you will not negotiate on, and you must distinguish these from “nice-to-haves”.

For example, it may be essential that your nanny can handle children with severe allergies, or stick to a busy schedule. It may only be desirable that your nanny can play children’s games, or has past experience with young babies.

Once you’ve set realistic standards, minimum requirements will help you compare applicants later, and decide who to progress to the final stage.

#4 Plan a Rigorous Interview

Set up the interviews so you can really get the best out of them.

We recommend to interview the candidates in your home, where the candidate will work so they can see the space and they’ll know if its suitable to them or not and it should take no longer than 1 hour. Children shouldn’t be around so you adults can talk and get to know each other.

You should tell candidates about you, your family and your children so they understand who you are. Explain a bit about the position on offer, and go through the candidate’s CV in a bit more depth. Prepare yourself in advance to answer any questions your potential nanny might have.

In your interview, include a mixture of skills-based questions, and questions designed to tease out their deeper personality.

Skills-based question: What experience do you have caring for young children?
Personality-based question: What would a typical day be like when you’re the nanny?
Establish that you have compatible childcare philosophies to avoid disagreements later. This involves your views on topics like discipline, education and diet.

Ask them to bring along copies of any important documents for you to review, such as their DBS check and passport. Standardise each of your interviews and take notes to make it easier to compare candidates later.

#5 Involve Your Children

Ultimately, your children will be the ones spending the most time with your nanny, not you.

If candidates is successful on first interview then you should invite them back to meet the children, which should take no longer than one hour otherwise pay for a days trial

If this is your children’s first time being cared for by a nanny, make sure you address any concerns they may have. If you need to, assure them you will still be there to tuck them into bed at night or take them to school.

If you can, ask your children what they would like from a nanny. If you involve your children in the hiring process, they are also likely to feel warmer towards your new nanny.

Then, if they’re old enough, get your children to give you their feedback.

#6 Make a decision and check references, once its all done, make a formal job offer via email and text message as well.

#7 Draw up a Sensible Contract
A great contract is the foundation of any business relationship. It may all sound a bit formal and daunting, but it’s essential if you want to avoid major conflict later down the line. Plus, it’s a legal requirement.

Include things in your contract like notice required and severance pay. Outline what expenses you will be willing pay, the job hours and scope of responsibilities. Perhaps make it clear when your nanny’s holidays should be taken.

CHECKLIST FOR CONTRACT
Start date
Notice period
Hours
Holidays
Job responsibilities
Expenses
Severance pay
In a separate document, or appended to the contract, you may want to also include other important guidelines. These aren’t really part of the contract, but are good to have in writing so there’s less confusion later.

For example, say how much you think is a sensible amount to spend on your children’s activities or treats. Define your children’s bedtime. Make it clear whether you would be comfortable with any guests visiting, and if your nanny has to ask permission in advance.

If the role includes your nanny cooking for your children, make it explicit what kind of meals you would like and clearly highlight any dietary requirements. Add in anything else that’s important to you.

Brilliant Nannies are happy to provide a contract sample for you plus advise you on things.

#8 Familiarise Yourself with Employment Law

You’ll either hire an employee or a self-employed nanny. Each scenario has different rules. In most cases, a nanny would be defined as an employee.

When you hire a nanny as an employee, you’ll need to register as an employer and have a PAYE system in place. You’ll also need to understand payroll, insurance and nanny tax.

You must pay at least minimum wage, offer statutory paid holiday, pension and sick leave, and your nanny should have the right to work in this country.

Don’t be tempted to avoid tax by paying your nanny cash-in-hand. Being a childcare professional is your nanny’s career, so they need to be able to provide evidence of employment if they want to apply for a loan, credit card, or rent a property.

It’s also illegal to avoid paying tax! Reputable candidates will be more attracted to employers who follow the rules.

#9 Hire a Passionate Agency to Help You

You are the most qualified person to decide on the right nanny for your family.

However, advertising for your nanny position can seem daunting. And then what if you actually get a flood of applications? Screening candidates and setting up interviews is a lot of hard work.

You could very easily end up with more of a headache than when you started, and then not even find a nanny you trust to care for your children.

If you work with a nanny agency, they will do all the advertising for you as part of their services.

Agencies also conduct any DBS checks and provide an employment contract for your nanny. They’ll also verify any references and visas for candidates from abroad.

Some agencies can also refer you to a good payroll, HR and legal service, so you don’t have the added responsibility of becoming an employer.

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