Monday, August 16, 2010

Four Tips for Finding the Perfect Nanny

Whether it be in the newspaper or an online service, most parents begin their nanny search by posting an advertisement.   As an experienced Sittercity nanny and recipient of their daily job postings for over three years, I'd like to offer four important tips on advertising for your perfect caregiver to help increase your response rates:
1.  Be as Detailed as Possible

Include ages and number of children; days and hours needed; and specify a range of pay you are willing to pay for the right person.  More and more I have seen ads that are easy to skip over because they contain no actual information.  Fight the urge to think aloud as you write, "we might need this or we might need that, or it could change in the future."

Not all jobs are set in stone, but in order to apply for one, prospective babysitters need to at least have days and times in mind that they can count on.  Many ads state the need for the nanny to be "flexible" as days and hours can change.   If on-call is what you need, then it would be okay to specify this as you will attract the type of person who wants that arrangement.  It is rare that any serious caregiver or nanny would be available at any time of day or night.  Without any specific details, most will overlook or skip over your ad.
2.  Be Careful Not to Come Across Overly Demanding

Must like animals, must be flexible, must be willing to do housework -- this ad is a giant red flag and is a turn-off to prospective caregivers.  If parents are willing to be so demanding in an ad, how will they treat the caregiver once they are hired?   First impressions are lasting impressions.

3.  Be Clear About What You are Seeking

Before writing your ad, think about your goal.  Do you want childcare or a housekeeper?

While it is usually expected that a nanny or babysitter will clean up after the children; make their meals; do their laundry; and other agreed upon chores, I see ads that really blur the lines.  Many sound like they are looking for a domestic servant who will also be asked to care for the children.  Professionally trained and educated caregivers are attracted to the field because they enjoy teaching and taking care of young children -- they are in it for the kids. They do not want to clean your toilets.

4.  Do Not Omit the Pay Rate

State a pay rate that you are willing to pay for the right person, whether you have a single figure in mind or it varies a few dollars.  If you are ambivalent about how much you will pay for childcare, it will be broadcast loud and clear by omitting this important detail.  This omission tells prospective nannies or sitters that you are not willing to pay for quality childcare. Most sitters are willing to negotiate, but will skip over any ad that does not at least state a range.

It might be helpful to think of a caregiver ad in the same way you would advertise for a potential mate. You are trying to attract the right candidate for your family.  Tell them about yourself and your needs, what qualities you are seeking, and you will find the perfect caregiver!

For more information about Sittercity and my experience using their service, check out my other post:

Sittercity Nanny?  That's Me!

Use promo code TAKE15 to receive 15% off a monthly or annual membership to until October 31, 2010.

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