Hiring a full-time nanny is one of the ways to care for your baby once both parents return to work. There are obvious pros and cons to this. Having a nanny means a dedicated person whose job is to care for your precious child, rather than the typical 1 to 4 baby per adult ratio in most child care facilities, and often this means your child will get fewer colds and ear infections. Also, for families that want to bring up their children with a second language, hiring a nanny fluent in that second language can build a great foundation for your children to be bilingual. One of the cons is the cost, of course. Another is the idea of having a complete stranger to care for your helpless infant unsupervised. Here are some ideas and advices that can help parents through their first time nanny hiring process.
If your screening process is successful, then you should only bring qualified candidates for the interview process.
The Interview process:
Meeting the candidates in person is the most important step of the hiring process, this is where you get to learn the most about your potential child care provider and observe her with your child. Yes, be sure to have your child there with you. If your child is an infant, see how comfortable she is holding your child and if your child is comfortable with her. If your child is a toddler, this meeting provides a great opportunity to see how she talks and interacts with a young child (yours). Take cues from your child!
During the interview process, again be prepared! Make a list of questions you and your spouse want to ask so you don't end the interview and later discover that you missed some information. It is very important that you put some thought into the questions and be sure to structure all your questions in a way that they can not be simply answered with a “Yes” or “No.” These are often really more “topics for discussion” than actual “questions.” Great topics can ensure that you can make the most informed hiring decision. Also, always ask for specific examples from their previous experience. Be friendly and courteous during the interview process so that the candidates are at ease and comfortable telling you about themselves. Below are some examples of topics to discuss:
The above are just some sample questions, you should construct questions of your own based on the issues that matter to you most. Also, if an answer peaked your interest or raised a question, always follow up with “tell me more about that?” or “why is that?” to learn more about your candidate.
Now that you have made your decision, a thorough reference check is in order to validate your selection. This is also your opportunity to uncover any red flags or surprises. After all, you are about to hand over the care of your baby to this person. Again, a well prepared list of questions can help you with getting the most out of the conversation with your potential nanny's previous employers:
The Decision process:
Trust your gut. If something does not feel quite right, it is a “no.” Both parents and the child (if old enough) have full “veto” power. When considering between two similar candidates who are both equally qualified, the old standby of a “pros” and “cons” list is a good tool. Keep in mind that not all things on the list may be of equal importance.
If you hired her but it does not work out:
If you feel like you need to let her go, let her go right away! You can't afford to give the courtesy of a 2-week notice with someone you can not trust. Even if this means that you have to pay for the two weeks without getting the service. After all, we are talking about your precious but quite helpless baby.
If the hire is successful:
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