Searching for Nanny Jobs:

A Guide to Finding the Right Family Fit

When searching for a nanny job, choosing the right family is key. While some compatibility issues between nannies and families don't appear until the two have worked together for a period of time, others can be detected during the interview process.

There are several steps that nannies take to find nanny jobs through eNannySource. During each step, nannies have the opportunity to learn a great deal about the families with whom they may work.

Looking through the Listings for Nanny Positions

When a nanny uses an online listing service to search for nanny positions, she can immediately glean valuable information from the listing each family presents.

The tone of each listing can offer clues about the type of family requesting nanny services. Listings that are full of “must have” or “must do” statements, for example, may indicate that a family is overly demanding. 

The nanny should look closely at each listing for important insight into the family. Basic information about the family, including the number and ages of children, should be easy to decipher, but there is more.  A listing that presents bullet points of nanny duties, for example, may indicate that the family is organized and embraces structure.

Remember, for some people it is much easier to speak than to write. If the details of a listing seem appealing but the tone of the listing is slightly off-putting, it may still be worth perusing the advertised nanny position. 

The Email Interview

If the nanny position seems appealing and there are no immediate red flags, the next step is for the nanny to contact the family via the internal messaging service or direct email. In either case, this step provides an opportunity for the nanny to introduce herself and express interest in the position.

At this stage in the interviewing process, the correspondence should focus on the details of the position. The email interview may include information on the number and ages of the children, their personality styles and interests and any special needs the children may have. The parents may ask the nanny questions about her experience and skill set, as it relates to her children.

Discussions about salary and benefits should not be discussed during the email interview. When a nanny discusses salary and benefits prior to learning about and expressing specific interest in the position, it can make the family question if the nanny is superficial. 

During every stage of the interview process, nannies should be cautious and attentive to any overly forceful language or questions that may cross the line in terms of the nanny's personal and professional boundaries. Anything that makes a nanny feel uncomfortable should be considered a red flag. 

If the interview goes well, the next step would be for the parents to ask the nanny for a phone interview.  

The Phone Interview

Once you’ve reached the phone interview stage, it is time to discuss the ins and outs of the nanny position. To prepare for the phone interview, nannies should make a list of the important questions they have about the nanny position. For example, nannies may wish to ask:

  • What are the hours required for this job?
  • What duties will be expected of me? (Cooking for the children or the family? Cleaning the entire house or just cleaning up after the children? Driving the children to activities?)
  • Can you tell me a bit more about the children and their personalities?
  • What is your family's approach to discipline? How would I be directed to handle behavioral issues?
  • Am I able to help plan the children’s day? Can we go on outings and participate in public activities, like attending story time at the library?

Anytime you are interviewing for a nanny job, the answers to the questions you ask will provide valuable information, but their responses will also give you additional insight into the family such as:

  • If the family talks down to the nanny or speaks in a condescending manner
  • If the family seems put off or acts as if the nannies questions are a nuisance
  • If the family values a nanny’s experience and considers her a professional
  • If the family is easy to communicate with.

The tone and the quality of the responses that a nanny receives will give insight into the family. Anything that makes the nanny feel uncomfortable should be considered a red flag.

If the nanny and parents connect during the interview and the nanny’s skill set and experience match what the family is looking for, the next step would be for the parents to invite the nanny for an in-person interview.

The In-Person Interview

Once the nanny has progressed to the in-person interview stage, it is likely that she and the family have expressed a great deal of interest in working with one another. During the in-person interview, the nanny should gather as much information as possible about the family by interviewing the parents as much as they are interviewing her.

At this stage, observation is also a very important tool that can be used to gain insight into the true character of the family. If the interview is with the parents alone, pay careful attention to body language and non-verbal communication, as well as how the parents interact with each other. If the interview includes the children, the nanny should observe how the children behave in front of their parents and how the parents treat their children.

If you are interviewing in the family’s home, the condition of the home may provide insight into the family.  A neat and orderly home may indicate a family adheres to some sort of structure. A dirty and chaotic home may indicate a lack of order.

If the position is live-in, the nanny should take a tour of the nanny’s quarters and carefully consider if the area would be comfortable to reside in.

If the children are present, the nanny should engage the children and observe how they interact with her. It is important that the nanny is able to develop a repertoire with the children for whom she may be caring for.

During this time, the nanny should also ask about the family's history with previous nannies and ask for family references. It may also be a good time to broach the topics of salary and benefits, should the interview be going well.

By the end of this interview, the nanny should be able to tell if there is chemistry with her and the family.

If the interview goes well and there are no red flags, the next step, should the family be interested in hiring the nanny, would be for the parents to present the nanny with a job offer. Once the job offer has been received, it’s up to the nanny to decide if she’d like to accept employment with the family.

Sometimes before the job offer is extended, the nanny will be asked to come for a working interview. During this time, the family should pay the nanny for her services. A working interview typically lasts from 1 to 3 days.

If the nanny chooses to accept work with the family, a detailed work agreement should be hammered out. 

The Trial Period

A trial period allows a nanny and family to try out their working arrangement. The trial period gives the nanny an opportunity to experience the position and a family the opportunity to observe the nanny in action. It also provides for a way out, for both the nanny and the family, should the arrangement not be as anticipated. 

In the work agreement, be sure to include the dates of the trial period and the steps that need to be taken should either the family or the nanny wish to cancel the employment arrangement. If the nanny chooses to accept work with the family, a detailed work agreement should be hammered out.

You've Been Hired, But It Isn't Working Out - Now What?

Of course, some issues or concerns may not arise until several weeks into the employment arrangement. Just because a nanny has accepted a position does not mean that she is stuck in that position indefinitely or even through the time agreed upon in the work agreement.

While every effort must be made to fulfill the commitment that has been made, some issues cannot be resolved. When issues come up, it’s best to address any issues and work to resolve them together. Sometimes all it takes is a conversation to clarify expectations or to address concerns for change to happen.  If an issue cannot be resolved, the nanny and/or family may wish to end the working relationship. 


The most important thing for a candidate seeking nanny jobs is to make sure that she will fit in well with the family that hires her. By taking the time at each step in the hiring process to ask key questions about the nanny positions and by observing the situation from all angles, she will be able to determine ahead of time if the family might be a good fit. But only by actually taking the job will she be able to know for sure if the position is right for her – and if it isn't, she should simply move on as quickly as possible.

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