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The Lady: who has used it to recruit?

19 replies

Tiggus · 15/04/2005 09:36

I just saw a thread where somebody was mentioning using the Lady to recruit nanny/housekeeper.

Has anyone used it and what do they think? I noticed they don't seem to have a website, do you need to place a classified in their weekly (and for how long?)

We are looking to recruit for this role come Sept. We live in East Anglia and are looking for 4 days pw, not a huge salary but fair for the short week. I was little put off before by the amount of ads for nannies in Monaco, Dubai etc, are we too small fry? Also, don't nannies prefer to come via an agency for security? I am naturally cautious so have always employed via agency too but am open to suggestions.

OP posts:

starshaker · 15/04/2005 10:01

ive been employed through the lady before but not sure how it works the other way round. as for security just make sure u check referances as thats basically all an agency does anyway


Pamina3 · 15/04/2005 10:03

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Tiggus · 15/04/2005 10:31

Pamina - yes that's exactly what I was worried about. If I have made it a rule never to recruit over the internet then why should I recruit thru classifieds? I suppose if I wanted to run a nanny agency it would be good experience, otherwise just another way to grey hairs.

Altho (starshaker) funnily enough my nanny who is top-pro (IMO) said that she would consider going thru the Lady as some agencies can be slow / sent you to unsuitable jobs.

What was your experience of being enmployed thru an agency BTW? I am interested to know "the other side", as I am talking to a couple at the moment and definitely prefer one, but she takes about a wk to return my calls. TH eother one is more pushy and always on the phone, so more on the ball, but she is a bit too pushy, so am worried she might send me someone I don't like.

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starshaker · 15/04/2005 10:38

the agency i went with basically just phoned me and said there is a job u might like asked if she could forward my cv and that was basically it.


Tiggus · 15/04/2005 10:44

Did she never meet you / interview you herself in person / check your refs etc?

Otherwise sounds bloomin' easy and a business I might look into myself!!

Seriously were there agents you felt happier with / turned down / who turned you down? I am sure there must be better or worse agencies, but apart from the sound of someone on the phone I don't know how to judge ...

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MrsWobble · 15/04/2005 12:44

I have used the Lady to recruit a nanny twice. i didn't ask for applications in writing but asked them to telephone and then left the answerphone on with a message along the lines of "if you are calling about the job please leave your name, contact number and brief answers to the following questions and we will call you back". We then had a couple of basic screening questions (which i can't remember exactly now but I think were along the lines of age, qualification, years experience and salary expectation). I then shortlisted 5/6 for interview and phoned back with a "sorry position filled" to the rest.

It wasn't a whole lot of trouble - the main thing was remembering not to answer the phone when it rang to avoid getting into conversation with applicants - we had 40+ enquiries each time of which only a handful were suitable.

I know some people don't even bother to contact unsuccessful applicants but I preferred to do this rather than have them phone again - I also think it's more polite.

Both the nannies I recruited this way were good. I used an agency last time because I wanted someone from overseas and wasn't sure they would see The Lady.


Tiggus · 15/04/2005 12:55

Thanks Wobble. Just had a call with the lady at one of the agencies. She seems very efficient but is terribly patronising about the job spec. Maybe I will give agencies a go for a month, then try THe Lady - don't need anyone til Aug anyway.

Hate looking for nannies. I think it is worse than house-hunting. I love our's to bits, I can't believe that she is going >sigh< but I am cutting my hours so she will get bored / have less sole charge.

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starshaker · 15/04/2005 16:56

nope never met her thought about starting 1 myself if it was that easy lol. i also registered with some in london and they were a lot more strict 1 wouldnt even consider me till i had passed my driving test even though i had experience and qualifications


Pol25 · 15/04/2005 19:15

I have had many jobs from the lady being an ex nanny and now mum, I have always found better jobs their than agency ones, plus you as a parent vett their CV, refs etc... some agencies don't even check these! Plus there is only the ad fee which is fairly high but no way near in comparison to agency fees.


ljcooper3 · 16/04/2005 09:29

The Lady Magazine does have a website, I go on google and search there. You can put ad in the magazine over the website or by telephone.

I am a nanny and prefer not to use agencies because the 3 I have had experience with have all messed me about one way or another. When I was looking for a position I looked in the Lady magazine. I also used and Parents check references and police checks etc, that way you can be sure its been done correctly.

Good Luck with your search!


SoftFroggie · 16/04/2005 13:16

I'm also looking for a p/t(3 days pw) daily nanny in deepest E Anglia - mid Suffolk. Which agencies have you tried? They've told me it's a bit early to place nannies yet (we're looking for Oct), and they'll be in more contact in a couple of months.


jothorpe · 16/04/2005 14:01

Given that you are looking for a p/t(3 days pw) daily nanny, would it not be better to look at local advertising, rather than national publications, after all you will want the nanny to live within a reasonable travelling distance.

My general feeling about childcare job listings in magazines (such as The Lady, Nursery World, Simply Childcare) is that they tend to be London targeted. Maybe quite a general view which I expect some of you will disagree with but that's how I feel - these mags are great for London, but bad for anywhere else.

Given your timescale ( nice to see your planning in advance ) it's worth trying several different advertising methods, from a postcode in a local shop window, internet recruitment sites, as well as possible magazines.

Out of interest, how much is it these days to advertise for a nanny in The Lady? Is it worth the cost?


SoftFroggie · 16/04/2005 21:35

Oh, yes - Jo - I wouldn't be advertising in the Lady! I was wondering whether Tiggus had any tips on local agencies.

I've contacted a few agencies, but none of them are very local - I'll also try putting an ad in the regional paper and on internet sites, a bit nearer the time. My first nanny, so I would quite like to use an agency for the 'hand-holding'. You gave me some useful ideas on costs on a thread I started. I have many, many questions on employing a nanny, so I suspect you'll be answering a few more for me over the coming months. Looking forward to your wisdom.


ChicPea · 16/04/2005 22:48

I mentioned on another thread that I had recruited a Housekeeper/Mother's Help so Tiggus you may have been referring to me.
I wanted a 5.5 day week and did not want to be told by an agency consultant or by the candidate that generally Housekeepers want to work Monday to Friday. So I advertised exactly what we are as a family and what I was looking for, conditions, etc and I was inundated. Yes alot of time wasters but they are immediately obvious and I was straight with them. I interviewed six women, three were a definite "no" and the other three, all with fab references, all wanted the position so it was up to me. I chose a Slovakian nurse with fluent English who after 2 weeks I can only describe her as a dream despite the fact that she is not a Housekeeper as such but a Mother's Help. She is hard working, willing, keen to please and respectful. She even did the cat litter tray last Sunday despite my protestations. It is early days but I am optimistic.
My ad cost £100 x 2 weeks and I spent 3 days in total taking calls and 1 day interviewing.
I should point out that you have to be experienced in recruiting as you need to know how to sift and also, those without CRB checks and work visas do apply for jobs in the Lady as an agency would not be interested in them. So you do have those to contend with.
Your point about posts advertised in Dubai, Monaco, etc., is a consideration but is only going to interest somebody looking for an overseas position.
Starshaker, your point on agencies only checking references, a good agent with experience will sniff out the "odd" nanny or the one whose CV just doesn't tally. Another thing about using an agency I would say is that if a mother is in a hurry to recruit, contacting an agency will result in a short list of capable nannies being put forward very quickly indeed as they have been interviewed and reference checked and are basically waiting for news of available positions.
Tiggus if you are looking for a September start, I would start the process at the end of July. If you are looking for the end of September and if you have to can wait until October for somebody to work their notice, I would advertise in the second week of September when the schools are back. There is a huge "shift" of staff in September and there will be a good choice but there are also alot of employers looking as well.


RTKangaMummy · 16/04/2005 22:52

When I was a nanny I got my work through THE LADY mag.

don't put names of DD/DS though

just boy 3 years etc.


Tiggus · 19/04/2005 16:03

Thanks for your advice - have been offline a few days. SoftFroggie RE deepest East Anglia, I am Cambs and have spoken to the agencies in the Yellow Pages, 2 of whom I have used before, 1 based more in Essex whom I got current nanny thru. So not sure if those could be any help as I don't think they go north of Huntingdon.

Ljcooper, Chicpea etc - re timing, I think that I will try current agency until July, then if no luck will think again of advertising in the Lady.
Chicpea, out of interest, do you live in London / is your position live-in? Also, how did you check refs etc if she is not UK trained? I am not an experienced recruiter at all, have enmployed 1 nanny and a few PA's / trainees at work before had kids.

I had my fingers burned with 1 rubbish AP, and an unfortunate choice of nursery, so I am ultra, ultra cautious these days.

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ChicPea · 11/05/2005 00:18

Sorry Tiggus, have been busy of late and therefore not posting much.
To answer your questions, I live in London and yes the position is live-in. I took up one reference for my Mother's Help from the family where it was not working out. This was due to her being hard working, very neat and tidy and great at ironing but too serious and shy. Her previous family had 9 year old triplets one of whom had Cerebal Palsy (sp?) and she was chosen because she is a trained nurse and the agency who placed her did the heavy sell. I saw all her translated documentation and felt confident. Also, by her not having to hand in her notice, offering her a 4 week trial meant I had nothing to lose.
I think when interviewing somebody you have to go with your insticts whether it is somebody who is going to live in to selecting a nursery. When in doubt, the rule is "don't".
PS I have interviewed in an agency situation which has given me an advantage but it's really not until you employ somebody to help you with your home/children that you realise what is reasonable to put up with. I have learnt to speak up straight away by saying (when I notice something on another floor of the house) "X... can I just show you something please" and then she comes upstairs and I explain how I would like it done or where ... is put away. It's hard work initially but I think in hindsight now it's easy to see that when things are going wrong it rarely gets better, just bearable or worse.


MizZan · 11/05/2005 14:49

Tiggus - not sure where you are in this process but we are moving to Cambridge and looking for part-time childcare from September (earlier would be find too). Would you consider a nannyshare arrangement (maybe with your current nanny, even?)? If so please CAT me and we can exchange a few details. Thanks!

If not, good luck with your search. Just FYI we live in London and I used the Lady to advertise for our first nanny. As with others on here, I was inundated with responses and most were totally unsuitable. Wasted a lot of time scheduling interviews with nannies who did not turn up, or turned up and had completely unrealistic requirements (partly my fault for not screening better by phone). We did end up hiring someone who responded but who turned out to be a bit of a disaster. Our subsequent nanny, a gem who stayed with us for 2 1/2 years, I found through an ad she had up at the local newsagents. Recently I've cut down work hours and we now have two part-time nanny/babysitters, one found through a newsletter called Simply Childcare (great, but London-focused) and one through a website, (also very good but nothing on Cambridgeshire I don't think). HTH.


Tiggus · 11/05/2005 16:05

sorry have been busy recently too!
MizZan - CAT me - I am theoretically open to a share arrangement but needs discussing in more detail.

ChicPea - sage and helpful advice. So far I have 1 candidate from 4 agencies!!! A little annoying but potentially better than being swamped, as I assume all agencies have the same people sending their CVs to them that would "scatter gun" a reply to a job ad.

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