Recruiting a nanny

Published by Sarah Horrocks
Published on 9 July 2008

If you hire a nanny, she (or he) will have the responsibility for your baby and contribute to his/her emotional wellbeing. Choosing the right person is important, so here’s some advice to help you find candidates, prepare interviews and write the contract.

Interviews
- Introduce yourself and talk a bit about your baby. It’s important to get the person in front of you to trust you.
- Ask her what makes her a good nanny. Ask her to tell you about a typical day with a baby to see if she knows what it takes to look after a baby.
- Ask questions about her experience and ask what she would do if there was an accident, if baby had fever, etc.
- If in doubt, get her to do some practical tasks (preparing bottles, for example).
- Be very clear about what you want and what you expect.
- If baby is present, put the candidate in the same room and see how she interacts, reacts to cries, etc.
- Ask her if she has any questions. This will help you understand her better.
- Ask her for ID. You never know.
- She must provide references. Ask her for them, and, of course contact the referees before making any decisions.
- You could also ask her to come back and meet your partner to help confirm your choice.

The importance of a contract
It goes without saying that your nanny's earnings will need to be declared. You’ll be her employer and she your employee, so you need a contract of employment. Don't neglect this! A contract is not only the basis for discussion of her role: it's also a legal guarantee in case of conflict. A renewable trial period of one month is also a wise idea, and do renew it to give you time to make sure you’ve made the right choice.

The contract should include:
Job description: to monitor the health of your child, safety, diet and cleanliness while baby is awake.
Obligations: not to leave your baby alone, allow a third person to enter the house without your permission, etc.
Working hours, including overtime pay and conditions, holiday pay and bank holidays.
Transport and meals.

What if you share custody?
This has its advantages in that you divide the cost and there are two of you to find the right person. Carry out interviews together and then discuss them.