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Updated: 10/31/2022

Top Tips For Hiring The Right Nanny or Household Employee

Written By: Jami Dennis
Plain and simple: hiring the right nanny or household professional can be a daunting task.

As a working mother of two, former household employer, and seasoned agency owner, I have a unique perspective on what it really takes to hire and retain a great nanny or household professional. Over the course of a decade my family had three amazing employees, all of which become part of our family. Each one different, and each one exactly what we needed when we needed it most.

Helping families who want (and need) the stability, continuity, and peace of mind that comes along with hiring the right nanny or household employee for the job something I’m passionate about. After making hundreds of successful employer – employee matches, I’ve learned a few things. Here are my top six rules for hiring the right person, the first time.

Hire Your Compliment, Not Your Clone

These are wise words shared by a nanny industry veteran, and agency owner, and I’ve never forgotten them. In my experience, often the ideal employee for the job is not the same personality type as their employer, but rather quite different. Take me for example: a driven, Type-A personality who had three long-term employees – all of whom were not like me. We shared similar values, but certainly not personalities or temperaments.

My nannies, and one awesome family assistant, were incredibly patient, flexible, adaptable, and willing to follow our lead as parents. Their strengths were vastly different from my own, but each of them brought so much value to our family life. Consider hiring someone different from you – it may be exactly what’s needed to achieve balance in your home.

Trust Your Instincts

It’s that simple, and it’s the best advice I give families hiring someone to care for their children or work in their home, whether it’s full-time, part-time, or temporary support: trust yourself. When you work with an APNA agency, like ABC, you can relax knowing that the important, but time-consuming work of thoroughly vetting the candidates you meet is done for you. This makes your job, as the household employer, much easier!

Hire someone who has the skills to do the job, the temperament and personality to blend in with your family, and the person who feels like the right match. And, whatever you do, do not hire someone that doesn’t feel like a match – no matter how dazzling their resume is or if they we’re the most polished in the interview. If you don’t feel it, don’t do it. 

The Interview Shouldn’t Be the End All – Be All

Many of the best household employees I’ve had the pleasure of placing in the last 20 years do not excel in a professional interview. In fact, I would argue the skill set we are looking for in a great nanny (or family assistant, personal assistant, housekeeper or chef) doesn’t translate particularly well in a formal interview. 

Of course, you want to hire an intelligent person who is articulate, knowledgeable and has common sense, but instead of basing your hiring decision solely on an interview, have your top two candidates come back for a (paid) trial day. You may find out very quickly the candidate you were 50/50 on absolutely shines “on the job” while the great interviewer simply doesn’t mesh well with your family. A trail day will help you determine if that person who feels like a good match, truly is.

Be Generous – It Matters

Don’t lowball your nanny or household employee. It may be common practice in other industries to start low and negotiate, but I urge you to offer your household employee a wage that’s competitive in the market, reflective of their experience and expertise, and within your family’s budget right off the bat. If there is one career where feeling valued by your employer is important, it’s this one. In addition to a competitive wage, consider other benefits and perks you can layer on to ensure your household employee feels valued and well compensated. In my experience, being generous pays off in the long-run.

Put It In Writing

Set the tone for a professional relationship with your new employee by ensuring the details of your employment agreement are in writing. It doesn’t have to be a formal document, written in legalese, but it should outline the basics: the schedule, gross compensation, pay schedule, benefits, job responsibilities, terms for dismissal, and more. 

Need Support – We Can Help

With two decades of experience as a working mom, household employer, and agency owner, I understand the significance of hiring the right nanny or household professional. I hope you find value in my insights, apply them to your search, and find the perfect fit for your family very soon. And when it doubt, contact the experts at ABC – we’re here to help.

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