13 Oct
10 Steps to Hiring a Nanny

10 Steps in Hiring a Nanny

Our new nanny started yesterday! It was a daunting experience to try to figure out how to hire a nanny, so I thought I’d share the steps we took. One word of warning – I do work in HR so I probably approached this in a way similar to how we’d approach the hiring process at my company! But I thought it worked well. At least one person during the interview told me this was the most organized interviewing process she’d seen!


  1. Research labor laws
    When I joined a local group on Facebook for finding a Nanny, I was surprised at how many postings didn’t follow labor laws – at all. The most common thing I saw was not paying overtime and treating this as a salaried job. I recommend researching labor laws, particularly around overtime pay.

  2. Outline the job and expectations
    • Before you talk to anyone about the job, work with your partner (if applicable) to detail the specific expectations of the job. Here are some things to consider:
    • Will the nanny be required to drive? Do they need their own vehicle? With Covid, many families prefer a nanny who doesn’t take public transportation.
    • What are the working hours?
    • Is any housework expected (e.g. kid’s laundry?)
    • Is it important that your nanny speak a second language? Or conversely, is it important that they speak English? (We targeted Spanish speakers, and decided that speaking English wasn’t a requirement for us).
    • Will you have limits on screen time for your kids? Or will you ask your nanny to stay off of his or her phone while working?
    • Is the nanny allowed to eat your food for meals, or do you expect her to bring her own?
    • Do you have requirements around prior experience or type of education?
    • Will you have a social media policy around images of your kids?

  3. Create an overview of pay and benefits
    Given I work in HR, this one was kind of fun for me to do. Here are some things to consider.
    • What is the proposed hourly rate? Will the nanny have overtime? Will the hourly rate change depending on the number of kids? (In our case, if our nanny watches our 3-year-old in addition to our twins, she gets an extra $5/hour).
    • What holidays are recognized? Will you provide pay for the holidays?
    • How much sick time will you provide? Is it paid or unpaid?
    • How much vacation time is provided? Do you choose the time or do they? (Many contracts I’ve seen have the family choose 1 week off, and the nanny gets to choose the other days).
    • Will you provide worker’s compensation insurance?

  4. Advertise!
    Depending on your location, you may have online groups where it makes sense to advertise. Here in Northern Virginia, I found a NOVA Nannies facebook page where I advertised. This is where I got the most interest. I recommend clearly specifying the job expectations and providing an overview of benefits and the expected hourly rate. Be sure to provide a general location!

  5. Provide additional information on the job and ask questions
    What I found helpful was a general overview in the advertisement, and then I crafted a longer template email response that provided more information on our expectations and the job benefits and wages, and then I added some follow-up questions. We had probably 40+ individuals express interest initially, but maybe only 20 ended up responding to this email.

  6. Track candidate answers and determine your top choices
    We used an excel file to track candidates (my HR background is coming out here). I created columns to note things like education, CPR training, language fluency, etc.

  7. Schedule video chats (covid times!)
    For our top candidates, we ended up scheduling video chats. At least one person didn’t show. The rest went well. We liked everyone we spoke with! This gave us a chance to get to know each person better. We used a structured interview process (those in HR may laugh at me). We started each interview by introducing ourselves, giving an overview of the role and benefits, and asking what initial questions they had. Then, we had a series of behavior based questions we asked of each candidate (e.g. Tell me about a time you struggled to get a child to listen to you?) For candidates who didn’t speak English we had our current nanny help translate.

  8. Consider having your finalist meet with your family in person
    We ended up inviting our top choice over to our home. We met in the backyard (wearing masks) to talk further, and then we invited her in for a tour and to meet our kids.

  9. Negotiate pay, start date, benefits
    During this process, your new nanny may want to negotiate the hourly rate, the start date, or potential benefits.

  10. Help your nanny get started
    Have a plan ready to help your nanny get off to a good start. If you don’t have overlap with a prior nanny, you should plan to have you or your partner take some time off work to spend time with the nanny as they learn the routines in your house. In our case, we had a two-week overlap with our prior nanny. This is probably longer than is needed, but we have a unique situation where our new nanny speaks Spanish and we don’t! We understand some and can say simpler phrases, but to train a new nanny with a language barrier seemed a little daunting. Our old nanny speaks both English and Spanish, so she is helping to translate, and is doing the bulk of the work to train the new nanny.
    One of my coworkers had a great suggestion here. She puts together a starter manual with details on common things for each kid (health basics, contact info, meal times, potty times, naps, play, etc) and sends it ahead of time and also keeps it in a binder at home.

Hopefully these are some good ideas to get started! Remember that your nanny is your employee, and you should comfortable providing additional feedback, and also asking your nanny how things are going from her perspective.  Add your own tips and questions below!

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