Creating a Clear Job Description When Hiring a Nanny: The Nanny Manual

This is part 3 of an 8-part blog from the perspective of TIFFAN's Founder and "The Nanny Manual" author, Alyce Desrosiers.

This is a huge, important step parents often overlook in their rush to hire someone.  Knowing what you need informs what to look for.  It directs parents to the segment of the market to recruit from; the skills they need someone to have; the qualities and characteristics of the person that would fit in with their family.  

The job description includes the basics, such as whether you want live-in or live-out; what the schedule would be, including any overtime, travel or overnight care; what compensation and benefits are provided and what documentation  parents need their nanny to have.  The job description also includes the nanny’s responsibilities when caring for the child, keeping the house neat and tidy and running errands.  What requirements a parent needs a nanny to provide as a condition of employment, such as training/testing and background checks.  How much childcare experience and the type of experience is very important.  

Parents also should identify what qualities and characteristics they prefer their nanny to have.  It may not be politically correct, but having a candid discussion between parents before starting the search about such characteristics as age, ethnicity, race, gender is important.  The simple answers are less important than how these may influence how care happens.  If there are a lot of stairs in the parent’s home, then age for example may indicate how safely she can carry an infant up and down the stairs.  The amount and quality of experience can also be a factor of age; gender might influence the type of relationship a parent wants to have with their child.

Finally, there’s the important piece:  values.  Children learn about themselves, about others and about the world they live in based on the values those important adults caring for them teach them in the everyday moments of their lives.  I ask parents to reflect on the relationships they had with their own parents and important caregivers and identify those values they were taught and how they were taught.  Parents can make decisions about those they want to pass along in their own family and with their child.  When talking and meeting nannies about their own value system, parents have a clearer, almost gut positive and confirming response to nannies that share common values to the parents.

-Alyce Desrosiers