Looking for tips on nanny hiring from those in the know.
March 31, 2013 8:01 PM   Subscribe

I need to hire a nanny. I've got over 30 applicants to an ad on one of the big caregiver websites, and I'm working on setting up interviews with a couple of the applicants. I need your help so I don't screw up and hire someone I'm going to regret for a really important job.

We need a nanny for my newborn daughter. She will be 4 months old when the nanny will need to start. My husband and I both work very demanding jobs, including overnights, weekends, and holidays. Our schedules vary considerably. We get the schedules several months in advance so we will know our day to day needs, but we may also have last minute needs like getting called in to cover a colleague or take care of an emergency situation. This makes our potential need more difficult to cover than other families', and I expect to pay more because of it. We also have two cats and we'd probably ask the nanny to help a bit with the cats, light housework, and possibly little chores like groceries or mailing packages or whatnot.

I am worried about my plans to interview these applicants because I tend to assume the best of people and be overly forgiving of flaws in job interviews (an issue I've noticed in prior HR situations), and thus I can end up hiring someone who may not be the ultimately best fit. Questions:

- How much do I offer to pay the nanny and how do I work the payment? I am planning to pay over the table. Most of the nannies have "desired pay" listed in their profiles of either $10-$15/hr or $15-$20 per hour. So I tried multiplying $15/hr by 40 hours a week and I listed a range around that as the 'potential pay' for this job. But in a given week we may not need 40 hours of coverage. If my work hours do not overlap much with my husband's, perhaps we'd only need 10 hours or something. But we also will not necessarily know when we are coming home. I might expect to be home at 5pm and end up getting stuck at work til 7pm due to some crazy thing happening. I want to pay well to cover this unpredictability and also night/weekend/holiday availability. Do I offer an hourly differential for nights/weekends/holidays? Do I agree to X amount base pay per week plus X amount more per hour if we go overtime? Do I need a contract for them to sign?

- My husband wants to be able to hide our "cat cam" around the house to watch the nanny. He thinks we should have them sign a waiver saying we might record them using a hidden camera, so that even if we didn't end up doing this, they would think we might and be scared into behaving well. I think this might seem creepy and scare away our nanny-potentials. Thoughts?

- How do I ensure that I don't just think "oh, she's nice" and end up hiring someone who isn't the best fit? What are the hard questions to ask or the secret ways to determine if someone's good as a nanny? Normally I'd imagine I would watch her play with the kid, but my kid is a newborn and she really doesn't *do* much. I could probably easily get her to fuss and then hand her to the applicant to see what they would do, but that seems cruel and unusual.

Any other pro-tips are welcome. The site we're using has a background check and driver's license check function that we plan on using, and of course we will talk to the references.
posted by treehorn+bunny to Work & Money (32 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Just about the nanny cam -- I think it is nice to inform the person, but you could term it more gently as being "for our security and yours." Friends of mine did a hidden camera thing and were appalled -- at themselves -- when they accidentally caught the nanny innocently changing her clothes in the baby's room. They knew that they'd really violated the nanny's privacy and felt horrible about it.
posted by BlahLaLa at 8:06 PM on March 31, 2013 [2 favorites]

Don't hide a camera. That is creepy and weird and offputting. However, if you want to monitor, you can tell the nanny you love / miss your baby and want to be able to see her, so you've installed (visible) cameras in several rooms and may be checking in randomly throughout the day to see your baby. Then, the nanny will know that you can see her in a non-creepy way; if it bothers the potential nanny, she can take another job.

I think you may need to pay a minimum wage per week; most people who take nanny type jobs can't afford to work only 10 hours per week, and it sounds like your nanny won't be able to take a second job due to the flexibility you require.
posted by insectosaurus at 8:07 PM on March 31, 2013 [10 favorites]

If you can afford to pay your nanny full time wages, even if she doesn't always work full time, then please do. Talk to her before hand and explain that some weeks she will have to work nights and weekends, more than 40 hours, but other weeks you will make it up to her by giving her fewer hours.
This will be her full time job. She has to pay her rent if you need her or not. The last person that you want to be stressed out and angry is the person holding your child.

Set up the interview in a park that has lots of children around. Arrive late so that you have time to observe her waiting. Does she engage the other children or does she stare at her smart phone? Go with the applicant that engages.

Have three interviews with the ones you like the best. One just with you. One just with your husband. And one with the two of you together. Video, with her knowledge, all three interviews, to review later. You may notice something that you missed.

Once she gets the job, do not video her secretly or with her knowledge unless you suspect abuse or theft. Everyone has the right to fart in an empty room without feeling worried about it. You should trust her and she should trust you. That is a good work relationship.

Remember that you are her boss, not her friend. Do not burden her with your emotional issues or personal problems. Also, understand that she is busy taking care of your child and may not have the time or the energy to run errands or clean your bathroom. Do not make those things a priority.
posted by myselfasme at 8:15 PM on March 31, 2013 [5 favorites]

Nannies aren't babysitters. This is a career and you need to hire her for 40 hours a week.

What's your plan for vacation pay, health insurance, and sick days?

Interviewing is pretty easy to get a good vibe. Are you okay with nanny not speaking English?

I'm happy to email you our nanny contract.
posted by k8t at 8:20 PM on March 31, 2013 [4 favorites]

Also in most places you will need to pay time and a half if you go over 40 hours in a week.
While of course weird stuff comes up, I think that having to have nanny stay late unexpectedly on a regular basis is going to be tough for a lot of nannies. In my experience interviewing nannies, many had teenage kids or lives of their own and asking them to stay late at the last minute impacts a lot of people.
posted by k8t at 8:23 PM on March 31, 2013 [1 favorite]

$15 for 40 hours a week is $120. I notice that a few questions down, people are commenting that they pay $50 for an hour or two of cat care. Guaranteed hours (guaranteed minimum pay) seems only fair considering difference in workload and level of responsibility, right?
posted by Houstonian at 8:25 PM on March 31, 2013

Um, $15 for 8 hours is $120. $15 for 40 hours is $600.
posted by Cranberry at 8:31 PM on March 31, 2013

(Houstonian your heart is totally in the right place but $15 for 40 hours = $600.) : )
posted by BlahLaLa at 8:33 PM on March 31, 2013

I'm repeating something that a friend did while evaluating potential nannies that I don't see you mention. Her child was also very young (perhaps a month old?)

When she narrowed it down to the last 2 candidates, she told the last them that she would pay them for half a day, but the half day would be part of the training (if hired) and also an evaluation to decide which person she was going to select.

She said that the 2 candidates, even though they knew that it would be an evaluation, behaved very differently. Candidate A looked at the baby and had interactions. Candidate B never looked at the child and held the baby off to the side (imagine carrying a book in arm as you are walking). This test alone helped her immediately decide which person to hire.Believe it or not, both were nannies and came with references.

Also, if this info helps, she paid her nanny for 40 hours week/minimum, even though she and her husband often did not need coverage for that many hours a week.
posted by Wolfster at 8:34 PM on March 31, 2013 [5 favorites]

Ugh -- yes, of course! I still think that low of a wage for taking care of a child, two cats, and a house deserves guaranteed hours. But yes, my math is wrong.
posted by Houstonian at 8:35 PM on March 31, 2013 [1 favorite]

Also in most places you will need to pay time and a half if you go over 40 hours in a week.

Are sure about that? I thought domestic help could go to 50 hours without going into overtime.

In any case, whoever helps you with your nanny taxes will be able to tell you.
posted by alms at 8:39 PM on March 31, 2013

Don't record the interviews, that's really bizarre. How would you feel if your job interviews were recorded? That said, do use a nanny cam if it makes you feel more comfortable, just tell your nanny that it's there.

If the nanny is going to need to leave the house to do errands, make sure that is clear in the hiring stage and also make sure that you are comfortable with the nanny's vehicle or can leave one of your vehicles for her use. If it's going to be her vehicle, reimburse for mileage and consider buying a car seat base just for her car so it doesn't have to be installed each time (and possibly getting it professionally installed for peace of mind). One family I worked for had some kind of GPS tracker on the car that I could use, which was vaguely insulting but also understandable.

Make sure you have some kind of communication system in case you're running late at work. Someone needs to call or text to say "emergency at work, it's going to be more like 7, I'll text when I leave." I was a nanny in college for a physician who got stuck in procedure. Meanwhile, baby was sick and it was hours past the time she was supposed to be back, and I couldn't reach her. Super stressful.

I would suggest having a minimum guaranteed weekly rate (maybe pegged to 30 hours) and also having time-and-a-half for over 40 hours.

If there are two candidates you like, and who are willing to go part time, you might consider hiring both to increase your flexibility (or at least using one for date nights and the other nanny's vacations). This way you're not so dependent on one person. Keep in mind that you need a back-up plan for illness, family emergencies, vehicle emergencies, etc.

Finally, have you considered an au pair or other live-in? With the extent of your needs, that kind of arrangement might really make sense.
posted by charmcityblues at 8:41 PM on March 31, 2013 [7 favorites]

I agree with the suggestion for an au pair.

You might also find that hiring a team of people is more effective than a single person. Several families I know have two part-time nannies, split between days, and that helps give them the flexibility they need. You might also find that services like Wondersitter or UrbanSitter or SitterCity can help you fill in with care above and beyond your regular needs with your nanny.

Finally, it's ok if you don't hire the absolute right person on the first try (assuming you're hiring someone who is basically capable and responsible to watch your kid). Your baby won't know the difference if the first person doesn't work out and you need to hire another person once you figure out what does and doesn't work for you in actuality rather than in your head as you think about it. This is a tough role to hire for, and it might take you a few tries. Take some of the pressure off yourself by thinking of it as a trial (and maybe being explicit with your candidates about this, too).
posted by judith at 9:02 PM on March 31, 2013 [3 favorites]

I don't have kids, but when I was younger, I had lots of friends who nannied. Good nannies (especially in cities) are in high demand and won't stick around with a family who can't give them a relatively steady income. So you'll probably need to guarantee a certain number of hours per week.
posted by lunasol at 9:07 PM on March 31, 2013 [1 favorite]

I'll answer the toughest one first - REFERENCES.

My nanny is awesome. She's been a professional nanny for something like 20 years, and it shows. She is still connected with her old families and gets invited on vacations and to big family events, even though the children are grown and no longer in her care. (This is true of the nanny that took care of my dad and stepmom's children when they were young, too, I might add.)

She is riculously precise about needing time off, alerting me weeks or months+ in advance. She's always a bit early, non-judgmental about everything, is a bit allergic to our cats so takes allergy meds before coming by. I always scrub the joint free of pet hair before she comes, anyway:))

I would be lost in a ditch without her. My child is all smiles whenever they spend time together

It has worked out that I found this wondrful gem because circumstances changed with her other families, and she is no longer full time with the other two, leaving her available for the days I really really needed her. So you might be able to get someone very experienced part-time BUT you will need to have a steady schedule or accomodate in other ways (like having at least two back-ups, I have two trusted friends who can take over or fill in when need arises.)

My nanny is a mature woman (well able to keep up with my toddler!) and she's super responsible on all fronts. She cleans so much it makes me feel guilty. My child naps for her better than he naps for me (she has that special touch, far as I can tell.)

She arrives on Sunday mornings (a hard day to cover reliably) at 7:20 am like clock work, well groomed and with her hair looking professionally done. She's sharper than me in this regard;)

If a former employer gives a glowing review of a candidate like I just gave my nanny, then hire them!
posted by jbenben at 9:13 PM on March 31, 2013 [2 favorites]

Thank you for the excellent suggestions so far. I have a plan B, C, and D already for backup care if needed. We unfortunately cannot do an au pair right now because we don't have the space.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 9:21 PM on March 31, 2013

As per judith:

"Finally, it's ok if you don't hire the absolute right person on the first try (assuming you're hiring someone who is basically capable and responsible to watch your kid)."

I went through a few very nice, but less qualified and less consistently reliable (schedule-wise) people before I found my caregiver. None were total strangers and/or were not recommend by others.

If you are going with a stranger, you'll do no wrong with someone that multiple families give glowing references to.

Regarding the nanny cam... What are the laws in your state? I assume nannies today assume they are being monitored in one fashion or another. In my case, friends would drop in to check up on things for me the first few weeks with a new person. I'd tell the nanny that so-and-so would be dropping by to drop off a book/spare key/what have you, but without specifying a time. My friends always had the nanny's cell phone number, too, just in case they were taking a walk or at the nearby park.

The right nanny won't need checking up on, but at four months, you'll be all kinds of relieved to be getting good reports back!
posted by jbenben at 9:23 PM on March 31, 2013

I'm a nanny! I've been a nanny now for two families (three years total), one family with four children (!), one family with one child.

Agreed with everyone saying that you need to have guaranteed hours (or at least guaranteed pay) for your nanny. No one likes to not know what they are going to make on any given week. With my current family, for whom I currently work part-time, I get a flat rate for the month, which guarantees a certain amount of hours that I will work any given week. Any time over the set hours is paid an extra hourly wage. If the parents have a last-minute need (late night dinner with client runs over, they run late, whatever) I also get extra. Any extra should be more than what the usual rate would be if calculated hourly, unless said extra has been negotiated before-hand. It's perfectly reasonable to offer to pay them withing the range of what their profiles state. But keep in mind that, while light cleaning/cooking within the home is normal, asking them to run errands moves into personal-assistant territory and you should pay them a little more than the low end of their range. Then, if you like them, give them a raise six months later.

It sounds like you are going to need more than one nanny. You'll need a main nanny who has a set schedule every week and will always work those hours and will always make the same amount every week. You can always ask this nanny to work extra hours, but s/he has the right to refuse them, at which point: You'll need one, maybe two, on-call nannies (aka babysitters)--people you can call to fill in. I live in NYC and here there are a few agencies that have a whole slew of nannies available for on-call work. I also work for one of the agencies and I do last-minute gigs for families that need babysitters. I don't know where you live, but perhaps you can call the agency here (SmartSitting) and see if they can recommend someone in your area.

And just go with your gut on hiring. If they feel right, then give them a go. Spend the first few days with them (or the first few hours of the first few shifts) and get a feel for their style. Also feel free to pop in on them periodically through the day to make sure they aren't just sticking your baby in a crib and texting. It's okay if they don't feel like they'll work out. If your weirdo radar goes off, it's okay to trust that feeling and move on to someone else.

Regarding the nanny-cam thing: That's up to you I guess. As a seasoned nanny, I would be reluctant to work for a family with a nanny cam. I can't really articulate why, but it would just make me uncomfortable, like if your boss were sitting directly behind you at your desk all day looking over your shoulder. But I'm not a parent, and I suppose you have every right to put up cameras in your own home to monitor things. But absolutely you need to be upfront about that.

And yes, references are the most helpful seeing as how infant care doesn't require a well-developed child-rearing philosophy that you can question them about. At this stage, it's more about the nanny's character than particular skills or routine, and that's best known through references and your interactions. Be upfront about what you expect in terms of chores and in terms of communicating about time off/sick days/etc.

Good luck!
posted by greta simone at 9:23 PM on March 31, 2013 [12 favorites]

Once you've narrowed it down, I'd definitely do a paid "trial day" or whatever. When I babysat in high school, a lot of families would do that. It was great actually for me because I could learn a lot about the routines, ask questions, etc, and it made everyone feel more comfortable. Obviously this was not a full-time nannying gig but I think the same concept applies.
posted by radioamy at 9:24 PM on March 31, 2013

Nthing greta simone, even if I cut hours short, I pay the full day.
posted by jbenben at 9:24 PM on March 31, 2013 [1 favorite]

Is there a nanny agency in your area? They've done this all before and can guide you, might be something to look into. GL!
posted by cestmoi15 at 9:33 PM on March 31, 2013

Do I need a contract for them to sign?

Yes, you definitely need a contract. From seeing how friends have worked with their nannies, there is a big difference between those who had a contract and those who didn't - those who had a contract have had much better experiences. My outsider's perspective is that the process of spelling out expectations in a written contract seems to be very useful.
posted by medusa at 9:50 PM on March 31, 2013 [1 favorite]

With my current nanny, and every other, I did a paid day together to orient everyone to the routine.

This also gave me a chance to check if my child liked the person, especially easy to judge once he was closer to a year old.
posted by jbenben at 11:19 PM on March 31, 2013

myselfasme: Set up the interview in a park that has lots of children around. Arrive late so that you have time to observe her waiting. Does she engage the other children or does she stare at her smart phone? Go with the applicant that engages.

You're getting lots of great tips... but Do. Not. Do. This. I was a nanny in college, and I would NEVER show up to a park (childless!) and start randomly playing with other people's kids! It's weird. If I had been at the park with kids in my care and someone did this, I would have intervened - gathered the kids up and said it was time to go to the grocery store or get an ice cream or whatever. It's squicky, regardless if they're male or female.

Also, for now, you want someone who really likes BABIES; not someone who loves 8-year-olds. You need someone that can let a fussy baby sleep on her shoulder for two hours while she reads blogs on her smartphone. (If you keep the same nanny until your kid is eight, then you'll have a nanny that loves YOUR KID - which is even better!) If you're watching someone wait, I'd just look for someone who's patient and calm and can entertain themselves vs. someone tapping their foot and checking their watch and looking irritated.

If you use a nanny-cam, I agree - visible and she should know. Also, expect differences and minor errors/clumsiness - she won't always handle things the exact same way you would, and she (like you) will make mistakes. This is okay (neglect, grievous or repeated errors in judgement are not okay). If you use the cam, you have to able to step back and let her do her thing. FWIW, I have quit/turned down nanny/babysitting gigs for the same reasons nannies get fired too. It works both ways!

I was a nanny through college with half-time hours and I was salaried: picked the kids up and stayed until someone got home (tidying, homework, dinner, pets) which was sometimes late, occasional help with school events in the evening/weekends. In return, when they went away for six weeks I still got paid - which allowed me to study abroad while they were on vacation. Also took occasional babysitting gigs and did a few years at summer camps (infant daycare at family camp, then teenagers).

Think about if you want to hire someone very similar to yourself, or very different. Be aware of what choice that is and why.
posted by jrobin276 at 11:42 PM on March 31, 2013 [5 favorites]

Former nanny here: if you set up an appointment to interview me and then were (deliberately) late, I would assume that you were someone who was going to be inconsiderate of my time. I would expect that you would expect me to be entirely at your beck and call, and that you would cause me to be unable to have any kind of personal life. And I would turn down the job.

But even without that, it does sound like your situation and needs would cause a nanny to be unable to have much of a personal life, and I would have required a lot higher salary because of that. You are basically needing someone who can have their entire life revolve around your (sometimes last minute, no-notice) needs. No one who is any good is going to do this without you paying them *very* well.
posted by MexicanYenta at 12:52 AM on April 1, 2013 [7 favorites]

My husband wants to be able to hide our "cat cam" around the house to watch the nanny. He thinks we should have them sign a waiver saying we might record them using a hidden camera, so that even if we didn't end up doing this, they would think we might and be scared into behaving well. I think this might seem creepy and scare away our nanny-potentials. Thoughts?

I've never been a nanny, but I am a former childcare worker. I understand that US culture is quite different to Australian culture, but I am 100% on your side here.

People dealing with other people's babies - especially the first ones - generally expect a certain amount of nervousness and checking-uppering. It's totally natural and no big deal. But filming, not to see your child during the day, but to actually try to "catch" the professional out is, well, unprofessional in my opinion.

As a former childcare worker, if I felt someone didn't trust me enough not to surveil me, than what the hell are they doing asking me to look after their child? I would assume that they were a) paranoid, b) over-protective, and c) waiting for an opportunity to freak out, it would be inevitable. Thus, I would never work for them. As a good child-carer, my services are in demand, at good prices. I wouldn't want the headache. Additionally, I guarantee that after maybe the first week, likely the first day, no one will ever watch the video. I presume neither you nor your husband have ever had jobs involving hours of footage. Trust me, even in fast forward, it's mind-numbing, it will be the last thing you'll do when you come home, and you'll forget about it immediately.

You want to star the relationship with a carer out really professionally, and positively. Starting out saying "I don't trust you and think you need the threat of me spying to do your job", is not a positive start; it will taint the relationship from the get-go. By all means, set one up in the bedroom so you can see little sapling+leveret - which you will probably like to during the day anyway - but not for "spying".

If your husband is so invested in getting the right carer, than he needs to step up and vest in the interview and selection process - don't be pushed into it just because you're on mat leave (you're looking after a baby), or a nebulous perception that it's a "mom thing". Further, if you're husband would think about hiring someone that he thinks needs to be "scared straight" to look after your first child... Yeesh. Just don't hire them in the first place. This is important; if you need the camera or the threat of the camera, this is not a person who should be looking after your child. Get a professional, and be prepared to pay for it. This is a one-off investment that will deliver huge dividends to your mental health, restedness, and your relationship with your husband and child. It's definitely worth it.

I can empathise with your nerves, but you have a good head on your shoulders, treehorn+bunny, and good attitude. I'm sure you'll make a good decision. Don't be afraid to trust your gut, don't be afraid to hire, then keep looking, and don't be afraid to change your mind down the track as you and your child's needs change. Best of luck,
posted by smoke at 1:31 AM on April 1, 2013 [3 favorites]

Hi. Professional nanny here with 15+ years of experience.

1. In order to be fair to you and the nanny, you need a contract. This contract will stipulate what you expect (baby care, then light housework, etc.) and what hours you will contract for. If you think you will need a minimum of 40 hours a week, then you will pay her for those 40 hours regardless of whether you use them or not (for example, if you cancel her hours down to 30 one week because your mother comes to visit or you are on vacation, then you pay her for 40 hours). The rest of the hours will be paid at the wage rate ($15/hour is pretty normal nowadays). If you want to contract her for 20 hours, then choose whatever you think the minimum will be and go from there. Don't lowball this, as it will lead to frustration if you contract her for 10 hours a week and constantly use her for 60. This contract should also include her time off (that's a demanding job you are suggesting) -- usually at least two weeks of vacation with notice (make sure you stipulate how much notice you require and how she can take those days -- all at once? In smaller blocks?); it should include your expectations (as said above); and it should include a termination clause (Two weeks notice? Immediate?) and a review clause (after two months, you will sit down and review your expectations, her job performance and then you can also use that time to negotiate a new set of hours/new pay scales/etc.).
2. No nanny cams. None. Ever. Don't do it, don't threaten it. I refuse to take a job where that comes up. It's not because I treat the children badly, but because I need to do my job without worrying if a nanny cam is seeing me accidentally fart or something. You would not video an employee at a desk job so this is a non-negotiable for me. If you are worried, do a one week trial run with you or your husband at home.
3. You need to ask her about developmental issues --- how will she deal with tummy time? Crawling? Walking? Feeding solids? How is she with naps (obviously you have your answers, but ask her what she would do if the baby was inconsolable and wouldn't sleep for a whole day)? What is a typical day like for her with the child? What is her goal with the child? For being a nanny? What happens if you and she have differing views on discipline? How would she deal with an emergency? What kinds of games, activities, ideas does she have for engaging with your child? Just because the baby is only four months now doesn't mean she won't grow up with this nanny (hopefully). Be sure you nanny knows those things and know about development. It's easy (and I hate to say this) to choose a nanny that is a "nice" college kid who has babysitting experience. That's not the same as a qualified nanny who will care for your child's developmental needs.

Finally: if you pay "over the table," you need to consult your tax attorney or accountant first. I used to work for the DA of a major American city and his wife was a tax attorney. They chose not to pay taxes because it's such a huge PITA. If you choose to pay over the table, then you also need to treat your nanny as an employee, which means health insurance, paid vacation time and overtime benefits. I am all for domestic workers being treated better, but those issues will sink you if you forget to think about them and simply want to declare her on your taxes without making her a real employee.

If you want a copy of my contract, I'd be happy to send you one. Just MeMail.
posted by mrfuga0 at 1:47 AM on April 1, 2013 [6 favorites]

Checklist of questions? Stick to it, figure out what your deal killers are, and try to stick to what you've come up with upon reflection. Background check?
posted by sfts2 at 4:10 AM on April 1, 2013

Yeah, make sure you consult a tax attorney. I remember when I hired someone to watch my baby, I was relieved that I could take the baby to her house, rather than having her watch him at my place, because (as I recall) the tax rules treat these very differently, and I could get away with just paying hourly wages rather than payroll taxes etc. Though I did give her paid vacation and sick leave, because I truly believe everyone needs those things to be a happy, productive employee.

There are a ton of example lists of questions on the Internet, you might want to try combing through those to find questions that are relevant to you. Check references, obviously. But I ended up hiring the person who my "gut" liked and it worked out great, so make sure you leave a little room for just having a good feeling about someone.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 7:46 AM on April 1, 2013

I understand that you don’t have space for an au pair. However, since your job description sounds more like an au pair than a typical nanny gig, consider looking for someone with previous work experience as an au pair. The applicant will better understand the expectations of the job, and their references will be more pertinent.
posted by tr0ubley at 8:12 AM on April 1, 2013

Worth to note that au-pairs coming through State Department sanctioned organizations can not work more than 10 hours a day and no more than 45 hours a week.

The system is often abused by the families, but those are the rules that both parties should abide with.
posted by zeikka at 8:55 AM on April 1, 2013

Where does one begin with regards to hiring a nanny? I realize this post may be old but hopefully it will help some other moms that come across it. I will make this as brief and helpful as possible as someone who has worked with nannies, agencies and families in NY and NJ for years!

First of all, if you can afford to use a professional nanny agency, you should! It is much safer, much easier and less stressful because they weed out tons of 'bad' nannies with fake references, poor experience, bad attitudes, criminal records, etc.! Those online sites are available for ANYONE to post on and you will literally be looking for a needle in a haystack.

Secondly, you get what you pay for. $15/hr should be the minimum you would considering paying someone regardless of job duties and 'how easy' the job is. You are hiring a quality caregiver - a person, not a service that can be negotiated or discounted.

Last but certainly not least, do all the screenings you can if you are not using an agency including google searches, reference checks, background checks, etc. Go with your gut on the interview, try to get a feel for the person's personality as opposed to 'question and answer' corporate style interview.
posted by NorthNJMom at 12:36 PM on October 12, 2013

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