How to find the perfect nanny for your family

Need a helping hand? Paola Diana, founder of international search consultancy Nanny & Butler, gives her advice

Choosing to bring a nanny into your home can have a range of positive effects, not least allowing your family to lead a happier life that involves spending quality time together. Hiring help is not without its difficulties, though, and there are a number of things to consider during the process.

The consultation

If a consultant asks you lots of questions about your family, your routines and your household, it shows that they are interested in your needs. Based on their understanding
of these factors, the consultant should then be able to advise you on the kind of person that would be best for the role.

Remember, do be open to their advice. I often find that what a family thinks they need may be different to the reality – and that is based on experience of placing nannies for many years.

The search

It’s important to be patient when an agency is sending you nanny profiles. If an agency is good, they will send less profiles, but ones that are more targeted to your needs. Be worried if an agency sends 20 profiles straight away, as this implies their search isn’t tailored to you.

The interview process

The next stage is interviewing potential nannies, and there are a few things that you can do to really get the most out of the meeting. Putting together a to-do list can help make it clear what the role will involve, and ensure everyone’s expectations are managed.

In terms of questions, try to think of ones that will show someone’s character but also reveal the working environments they enjoy. For example, ‘What was one of your favourite previous employment positions, and what did you like about it?’ or ‘What was one of your least favourite employment positions, and what did you dislike about it?’ Some may find the latter more difficult to answer, but the manner in which they respond will give insight as to their loyalty to previous employers.

After they start

Once you’ve found the perfect match, I would suggest having a catch up every week during the first two months to see how things are going. This is a good opportunity to let your nanny know what they’re doing well and any areas that you would like done differently, as well as to see if they have any suggestions.

It’s vital that if you have any concerns or questions throughout the hiring process and into the placement, that you speak with your agency. I always stress to my team how important it is that clients are guided through the entire process, whether they are new to it or not. We give assistance throughout the interview stages, as well as on-going support after placements, and our bespoke approach means that people keep coming back.

Top hiring tips
• Decide quickly. The best candidates get snapped up fast.
• Be honest. Tell the candidate exactly what the role entails so there are no surprises, and you will all be happy.
• Go with your instinct. It’s a very personal thing to have someone in your home and with your family – you should feel completely natural and at ease with that person.
• If you’re working with a good agency, listen to them. They will usually have lots of experience, and will make recommendations based on that.