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Tips needed on hiring a nanny without using an agency.

(53 Posts)
Millarkie Sun 11-Feb-07 22:25:04

The last nanny I hired was a woman I knew from her previous job, and I just asked her if she was interested, wrote up a short job description and contract and bob's your uncle.
I may be needing a live-in nanny from later this year so I'm doing a bit of research now.
I expect I'll advertise on gumtree/nannyjob and will type up a job description but if/when someone replies what do you generally request? Is it over-the-top to ask for a c.v. and a couple of references? Do you do your own 'application form' or just take name and contact details and have a chat by phone before shortlisting for interview?

And, just in case my hours turn out to be less than 25 per week (kids are of reasonable age)- would you do similar to recruit an au pair? How long does the au pair route take from advert to them starting work?

Thanks for all help.

Millarkie Sun 11-Feb-07 23:03:36

bumpety bump

Ladymuck Sun 11-Feb-07 23:06:39

Would expect a cv and written references for a nanny. Typically expect cv to be emailed and written refs provided at first interview. Would generally only take up phone refs after first interview.

No experience (yet!) on aupairs I'm afraid.

uwila Mon 12-Feb-07 11:09:03

I ask for a CV and a picture to be e-mailed to me in my nannyjob ad. If I like them, I send them a questionnaire which is fairly detailed. Then I select five or so that I want to tal to more, and I e-mail them. Then we might chat a bit on msn. Then, I call them on the phone and SPEAK to their references (unless references don't speak english in which case I do e-mail and get my own translations).

uwila Mon 12-Feb-07 11:10:12

Oh yeah, then I interview in person if possible. But, of course, this is only possibe if the are already in the UK.

Millarkie Mon 12-Feb-07 18:16:14

OK, so asking for a c.v. from a nanny isn't at all over the top. Thanks.

Millarkie Mon 12-Feb-07 22:02:30

I've got another question - how long does it usually take from advertising to nanny starting the job? I am guessing that any nanny in post already will need to give 4 weeks notice so is 6 weeks enough?

And another plea for similar info on hiring an au pair please.


uwila Mon 12-Feb-07 22:08:56

I would place the ad 2 - 3 months before I wanted her to start. No harm in having it all sorted a month ahead of time. And some nannies might need to give more than 4 weeks notice.

Millarkie Tue 13-Feb-07 09:39:23

Ta Uwila.
Hmm..problem is that we are moving to another area and so ds will have to go to a new school. There is only a tiny chance that the local school will have a place for him and most likely the only state school place is in a poorly achieving school, quite some miles away, so we are going to put him into the local private school (who are happy to accept him) if he doesn't get into the local one.
If he gets a place at local school I will need a full-time live-in nanny (to look after the littl'un during the day and ds after school).
If he gets a place at local school, and littl'un gets a place at local half-day nursery I will need 23 hours per week (so au pair type hours) afternoons only.
If we go for the private school we will have wrap-around care and not need anything else....but will have no dosh.

And we can't apply for schools until we have exchanged contracts so I only have the bit between contract exchange and completion to sort out schools/childcare unless we give up on the state school completely or take ds out of school for a few weeks (not sure if that is illegal) and I'm guessing I'll have to take some unpaid parental leave anyway

Nanny912 Tue 13-Feb-07 20:11:36

Please please please use agencices as this is the safest way.
I wish I found my job through an agencices as I need advice on my job.
Nannies need lots of support when starting a job and thats what an agency does for them.

For one you will know that the nanny has been childcare approved and CRB checked and is real. Never Cut corners when children can be at risk.

eleusis Tue 13-Feb-07 20:20:48

I would never never never use an agency. They don't do anything I can't do better myself.

eleusis Tue 13-Feb-07 20:21:15

I am uwila btw.

elliott Tue 13-Feb-07 20:25:03

I think it depends where you are - there is a very small nanny job market in my part of the country and really I would struggle to find applicants without using an agency - the few applicatns signed up to websites in my part of the world don't look very inspiring. Of course I resent the fees but I can't see another way really.
Also I was quite impressed by the service of one of the agencies I used this time

Millarkie Tue 13-Feb-07 21:32:03

Nanny912 - I would be interested to know how an agency can tell a nanny is 'real', more than the nanny's employer.
For my last nanny I arranged her surestart approval including CRB check, and once a nanny is approved you can easily check that out via the surestart website. I can do the same checking of references by phone as an agency.

Does your employer subscribe to nannypaye? They are good at advising nannies. We used a very clear contract and job description with our last nanny.

eleusis Wed 14-Feb-07 08:35:03

So, where are you moving, Milarke? Big city or small town?

Interesting that if you land in the private school then wrap around care is sufficient. Can you tell me more on this? Do you get wrap around care on the tuition you already pay or does it cost extra? I have a 1 and 3 year old who I hope are going to a free COE school. But, it would be interesting to know if I can get a private education for the same cost of a nanny.

Issymum Wed 14-Feb-07 09:31:50

We employed our first nanny using an agency and three subsequent nannies directly. My hints are: 1. Interview and re-interview if necessary. This is a very personal employer-employee relationship and you need to go with your gut feel. I'd go for experience, common sense and intelligence over nanny qualifications any time. 2. Give a very clear and detailed description of exactly what you expect the nanny to do and what the average day would be like. This doesn't have to be 'authoritarian' just descriptive and detailed e.g. "we prefer DD to have only a small piece of chocolate after tea, but we happily make exceptions if she's having tea at a friend's house". Expectations should be clear on both sides e.g. what time will you get home and what's the deal if you're running late. 3. If the nanny is going to be live-in, you also need to be clear and detailed about what you can expect from each other as landlord and tenant. 4. References. I think these are absolutely vital and I generally go back 5 years and follow them up rigorously. There should be no unexplained gaps.

Having said all this, all our nannies have been beyond fabulous even the emergency one I hired 'sight unseen' off the internet on Sunday night when our current nanny got flu on the eve of this half-term! They have not only looked after our children, they have enriched our lives.

MrsWobble Wed 14-Feb-07 09:43:57

My experience has been that it is relatively easy to find a nanny without an agency if your job is reasonably standard - we got our full time nannies without an agency. However, now our children are older we have gone for more of a nanny/housekeeper type arrangement with variable hours to cope with school holidays, inset days, sickness etc and found an agency helpful in sorting out the arrangements - our agent was able to advise us, and presumably the nanny, on what would be a reasonable job description, duties and pay. I think had we had some of the discussions directly with the nanny we might have risked starting the relationship off badly.

Issymum Wed 14-Feb-07 11:05:28

Hello Mrs Wobble! Interesting, especially as we're about to progress to a non-standard arrangement with both DDs at school in September.

MrsWobble Wed 14-Feb-07 11:20:02

I'll be interested to see if your experiences match mine then Issymum. Up until our current arrangement I had always been sceptical of the agent's value but the one we used this time was very good - at face value we would not have found the nanny we have and she would not have taken our position but the agent was able to identify our needs/her needs and match them.

Obviously I still did my own dd/reference checking etc but that's not the main role of the agency in my view - I wouldn't want to subcontract the suitability decision to anyone else under any circumstances.

Issymum Wed 14-Feb-07 11:28:34

Hi Mrs Wobble: I think in fact we're going to go down the route of an au-pair couple. We can't afford a nanny and two sets of school fees, but we can offer really excellent live-in accommodation and conditions, so we're hoping we can get a more mature, educated and experienced couple. For au-pairs, particularly a couple, I still think it may be better to use a website rather than an agency and certainly the first time around we'll look for an au-pair couple who are already in the country so that we can interview them.

Millarkie Wed 14-Feb-07 18:37:16

Poster-formerly-known-Uwila (sorry, on dodgy laptop and can't scroll to see your new name easily)

We are moving to a village which is a couple of miles outside a small market town and also commutable by train to a big city. It is 'down south'.
There are 2 nearby private schools, both provide care 8-6 in termtime, both cost about £6k per child per year. On top of that we need to find a small amount of childcare for school hols, but not too much as Grandparents will take them for half terms and we will go on hol for some of them.

nannynick Wed 14-Feb-07 19:51:39

Thought it may be interesting if I posted the view of a nanny (me), whose current job was obtained without an agency.

The parents had advertised via a local agency, whom I was registered with. That agency however didn't match me to the job. I found out about the job via an internet site and applied directly to the parents. The position suited me and I seemed to meet the parents expectations. Have now been in the job for 16 months.

I do not know why the agency had not matched me to the job, but perhaps it was due to myself not telling the agency that I would consider such a job specifically, or because the parents hadn't told the agency that they would consider a male nanny (with agencies I tend to find that if parents mention to the agency that they will consider a male nanny, I get to hear about the job, regardless of other factors not matching - which isn't a bad thing, as I could be flexible in what I wanted from a job).

Location can make a big difference as in some areas there are few nannies looking for work, so parents need to cast a wider net and thus use agencies located some distance from their home.

Agencies are great when they make the right match between nanny and employer, but it can be hard to get that match right, and thus sometimes like in my case, the agency does not put forward a candidate, thinking that the job doesn't match close enough for the nanny to consider the position, or for the parents to consider the nanny.

I would suggest that you look for a childcarer privately at first, especially if timescale is not urgent. Then if you don't get any joy, cast the net further by using agencies.

Millarkie Wed 14-Feb-07 20:08:58

Thanks Issymum, Mrs Wobble and elliott for the parent's view and nannynick for the nanny view

I've now managed ( I think ) to get ds a place at a reasonable state school, and dd a 5 mornings a week slot in a pre-school and dh wants to do the breakfast/school/pre-school run. So (although the temptation of the private school is still hovering over me) I am going to look to see if I can find someone who would be interested in an 'afternoons-only' job for termtime, and who will be happy to work at least a few weeks of the school hols full time.
Ideally someone who really likes being with children, who will do a first aid course, and can go to college/study in the morning and work in the pm I guess.
And if I get no takers for that I will try for a full-time live-in nanny or au pair (childcare is only 23.5 hours in termtime so would fit for au pair but I am frwightened )

Millarkie Thu 15-Feb-07 17:35:02

eleusis - Can I ask why you ask for a photo with the cv? Has this helped you decide in the past?
I have been looking at 'work wanted' ads on gumtree and been put off by the ones which have photos of them out on the town with a beer in hand I admit.

I have had my first responses to an ad, both have good and bad points. I have asked for c.v.s but then came back to this thread and saw your comment about photos. I have a feeling this will be 'hiring by mumsnet committee'

Millarkie Thu 15-Feb-07 22:30:46

And at what point do you negotiate salary? Is it reasonable to ask them what their 'expected salary' is so you have an idea, or do you just make up your mind how much you are willing to pay and offer it?
,This has come to mind because although I know what local au pair rate is, and I know what the live in and live out rates for qualified nannys are , I have had applications from an unqualified nanny with a child, and a part-time university student with no childcare qualifications (but some experience) and am not sure where on the scale they would be.

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