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Guide to interviewing for a Nanny – as told by nannies

Parents, listen up. If you are interviewing for a nanny, here are the do's and don'ts from the people wo know best – nannies themselves.

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Nannies have opened up about the worst interviews they have had. The responses were shared in a Reddit thread after u/Maximum_Claim8800 asked “You ever just want to close your laptop in the middle of a virtual interview?” We’ve compiled the below guide for parents based on the responses so you can stand the best possible chance of recruiting a qualified, dedicated nanny for your family.

1. Don’t offer cash in hand

A nanny with the Reddit username u/Maximum_Claim8800 explained in her post that she had told a couple during a virtual interview that she expected to be paid by the books. “This couple didn't know what ‘on the books’ meant. When I explained pay through a payroll service, I am telling you the mom had a SHOCKED pikachu face reaction. She was like ‘oh so you want us to withhold taxes FOR you?’” UM YES I DO I don't understand how these parents are comfortable dropping 40-50k a year untraceable cash on an employee?” She added: These parents are an attorney and a business consultant. How do they not think this through?”

2. Don’t try to govern their appearance

Reddit user u/litaxms wrote: “My sister interviewed for this couple who put in the contract that she had to consult with them before making any noticeable or permanent/semi permanent changes to her appearance such as a new hair colour, haircut, nail polish or makeup style change, clothing style change etc. When she asked them about it, they said ‘Oh, of course we're reasonable, it's not a control thing! It's only for when girls decide to do things like cut their hair too short or start wearing very obvious makeup or not wear bras or anything we'd have to explain to our kids you know.”

3. Don’t expect your nanny to do something you wouldn’t do yourself

“One couple expected me to learn Mandarin. On my own. To teach the six week old baby. They were white.” Wrote U/Waterproof_soap. Adding: “And no, both the parents at only spoke English, but they wanted her to ‘have opportunities’.”

4. Don’t try and barter after agreeing a rate

U/Peachesandcreampied revealed: “I had a couple reach out to me, I told them what my rates were because it was higher than their posting. They said they could do that multiple times. Interviews went amazing, they said they would include all the things I was asking for. They said the job was mine once references came through, I knew they would so I let my current employers know (short-term position). After they contacted my references - which I had to wait a week for them to do - they said they just couldn’t afford me right now but really wish they could. STRUNG ME ALONG FOR A 2 WEEK RIDE JUST TO WASTE MY TIME!”

5. Don’t expect them to be on call 24/7

“I had a lady interview me, come in for a trial day and agree to my rate. Awesome. Then she told me she would only need me 4/5 hours a WEEK but didn’t know what days, it would change, some weeks it might be 8, but never over 12. And she needed me to not have any other job so I could come over with basically no notice. I explained I could only do that if I was paid some type of on-call wage. She was shocked and offended. (Her post said she wanted someone full time for up to 40 hours a week.) I tried to explain how I could not live on a few hours a week and needed a regular full time job. Her solution was that I work nights and leave my days free for her.” - U/Waterproof_soap.

6. Treat them as a professional

“It's amazing how unprepared some families are when starting their nanny search. I work with 0-3, starting when they are newborns so I've always worked for first time parents hiring their first ever nanny. It's a journey of educating them. The number of interviews where people are shocked, SHOCKED, that I have a contract that includes things like paid time off and sick days and legal pay.....Like my dudes, this is a legit job. This is my career. Do you think I'm just floating by for funsies?” - u/elemenohpeaQ

7. Know the difference between a nanny and an au pair

Reddit user theverdadesque wrote:“ I once had to explain the difference between Au Pairs and Nannies and why Nanny wages are more than Au Pair wages. They were wanting a nanny for the same below minimum wage price they were paying their Au Pair (who up and quit a couple weeks into being with them apparently)…I turned them down before even meeting in person. I always go with my gut and knew that there was no way I would enjoy that role. I’ve had to explain the role of a Nanny during interviews to a couple of families over the years…”

Don’t expect a super human

“I had my qualifications, availability, and rate on my profile. In my bio so they couldn't miss it. In what ended up bring my shortest interview ever, the dad told me they wanted three prepped meals a day, full house keeping, watching a newborn and 5 year old, running the live-in granny to appointments, pet care, 'ocassional' evening and weekend coverage, and for me to 'be around' on weekends 'just in case.' No overtime, pto, no vacation, no sick days…” wrote u/calamitybambi

They added: “It's utterly exhausting to work this kind of job and the burn out is high. Imagine never getting a break from work or your boss, ever.”

9. Take their job seriously

“Parents ask me what I want to "be when I grow up" … assuming I'm a student, assuming this is not my last stop, or offering me career advice during our interview?!?!? I have a degree, I have a RETIREMENT PLAN, I have YEARS of EXPERIENCE, I marketed myself and you are INTERESTED IN HIRING ME and you're less than ten years older than me... I am what I want to be, and I'm grown up!” wrote u/FatPizz Adding; “Imagine asking the person renovating your house what they want to be when they grow up while you're chatting with them about doing a highly specialized job that you NEED them to do??? Like wow is this job so transient that it can't be my final destination?? Then why you trying to hire me?????”

10. Don’t dodge your responsibility as an employer

“I just started with a new family and after a year on payroll I knew that’s what I wanted. I asked them about it explaining how it’s easier for everyone and it’d keep everyone out of trouble and they hit me with “cash is so much easier and you’ll be getting your full check’”.

If you are considering hiring a nanny, we can shoulder the hassle of Revenue for you, including Revenue PAYE registration, letters and calls to and from Revenue, monthly payslips securely emailed, holiday entitlements, nanny-shares and tax allowance splitting, setting up a direct debit between you and Revenue. Contact our team today