by Michelle LaRowe
Editor in Chief
Many parents seeking full and especially part-time nannies are surprised to learn how competitive the market is when searching for and securing quality caregivers. This lesson is often learned the hard way when they come across a caregiver who has piqued their interest, only to find out that she’s no longer available once they’ve decided to reach out.
When you find a caregiver that you’re interested in learning more about it’s important that you act fast, or you may end up disappointed. Acting fast doesn’t mean offering a position on the spot, sight unseen, or taking prescreening shortcuts, though; it simply means communicating to the caregiver that you’re interested in learning more about her wherever you are in the search process, whether it’s setting up an initial phone conversation or inviting her back for a working interview, as soon as you are sure you want to learn more.
Good Nannies Are Selective
Unlike newer nannies who are just breaking into the nanny profession and have less in-home childcare experience and perhaps less of an idea of what their ideal job situation looks like, seasoned nannies have the experience and understanding that puts them in the driver’s seat when it comes to finding their next position, not to mention a long list of references willing to vouch for their expertise. When these nannies are being sized up by potential employers, they’re also taking inventory and determining if the position and the family will be the right fit for them. Since quality caregivers are always in demand, good nannies can afford to be selective in choosing the families with whom they’ll work with and the positions that they’ll accept.
Good Nannies, Good Positions
Good nannies jump at good positions. Oftentimes parents will express interest in a caregiver, perhaps asking for her resume or requesting to review her profile, but then simply sit on the information received, whether it’s because they didn’t have time to review it or figured there was no real rush to do so. Unfortunately for these parents, by the time they review the caregiver’s information and express interest, the caregiver has long since moved on to pursuing other opportunities. This can be frustrating for parents, but it’s frustration that is easily preventable. By simply responding to requested information quickly, you’re able to get your job in front of the caregivers who interest you most.
Special Consideration for Part-Time Placements
For part-time positions, it’s essential that parents offer a salary and position that is competitive in their area. Part-time positions are typically harder to fill because finding a qualified caregiver who is available during the hours needed and willing to commit to the schedule can be challenging. This means that the nannies who are available to work part-time positions typically have their choice of jobs. It also means that when a nanny is considering working for two families in the same area with similar job descriptions and hours and one is offering $12 an hour and the other $18, it’s pretty reasonable to understand why she’d choose the job that’s offering higher pay. Does that mean you need to offer a wage rate you can’t afford? No; it simply means you should be aware of what other families are offering and strive to be competitive, if you can. If the job down the road is offering more money for less non childcare related tasks, for example, consider cutting full housekeeping from your list of expected duties to make your job more competitive.
Here Today, Gone Tomorrow
It’s important to remember that nannies who are job searching are likely interviewing with several families. It’s not unusual for nannies to be interviewing with many families in a short period of time. For this reason, if there’s a caregiver who interests you, you’ll want to arrange an interview as soon as your interest is realized. If you wait it could be too late.
For many families and nannies, finding the right match is really a matter of good timing. While parents may leave themselves enough lead time to secure the right caregiver so they can take their time in the selection process, a nanny will often want to secure a position more quickly. If a family doesn’t seem serious about hiring soon, the nanny will move on to other opportunities with families who appear more eager to hire. Be honest about when you plan to make your hiring decision and when you anticipate your nanny’s start date, but commit to being a little flexible so you’re not weeding out any caregivers you may like best.
The Good News
Fortunately, the pool of qualified nannies is constantly being replenished and refilled. Good nannies come in and out of the pool quite frequently, but unless you drop the bait, you’re not going to catch a good one.← Finding Work/Life Balance as a Full-Time Nanny | Just Breathe: How Nannies Can Teach Children Patience →