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Finding the Perfect Nanny

Interested in hiring help for your family but not sure where to start?  We sat down with Mimi from Westside Nannies to find out the best way to “Find the Perfect Nanny for your Family”.

What is the first thing parents should do once they have decided to hire help?
Great question! When you decide it's time to hire a nanny, the first step is to pick no more than two means through which you will be looking for candidates. Whether you choose to use an agency and a childcare website, or post an ad on a bulletin board and get referrals from friends, make sure not to overwhelm yourself with resources. Two outlets is plenty when it comes to finding the right candidate.

What are the benefits of using a Nanny Agency?
When it comes to hiring a nanny, there is nothing more reassuring than knowing that the person you hire has been thoroughly screened and vetted by professionals who know the business of childcare best. From formally interviewing and reference checking candidates to running criminal backgrounds and walking each nanny through the Trustline registration process, a reputable agency has its clients' best interest in mind at all times. Furthermore, one of the biggest perks of working with an agency is the fact that all candidate sourcing is done for you, which is a huge time saver for most families. We are here to find you the one, without you having to do almost any work.

How do nanny agencies work?
At Westside Nannies, we like to compare our process to a matchmaking service. More than any other factor, an agency's job is to make strong matches between personality types and morals + values. Once you decide what you want and need in a nanny (from experience level and childcare philosophy to the type of schedule you'll need), we have a 20 to 30 minute consultation with each client and walk through what their ideal candidate looks like. As soon as we get a good grasp of this, we're ready to hit our books! We personally reach out to our candidates who best match your list of criteria, and introduce your position and what you are looking for in a nanny. As soon as the candidate agrees that your family sounds like a potential fit, we email you customized profiles and biographies of each candidate, and you decide who you would like to interview. We then coordinate first round, in-person interviews. Once you have narrowed your candidate pool down to 1 to 3 candidates, we recommend setting up a trial day, or working interview, during which each nanny spends 3 to 8 hours in your home working with your family and children. This gives both you and the candidate a chance to get a realistic glimpse into what the position would be like, and allows each party to decide whether or not this feels like a long-term fit. As soon as you are ready to make an offer, we create a customized work agreement for you and your nanny to review and edit as necessary until everyone is 100% on board and a start date is in place!

What are the requirements for your nannies?
Westside Nannies is known for holding some of the highest requirement standards in the private childcare industry. In order to be considered for representation, we require our candidates have a minimum of 5 years of professional childcare experience, with at least 2 years working as a nanny in a private home. In addition, all candidates must have glowing childcare references, be legal to work in the U.S., be fluent in English (reading, writing, and speaking), and have clean criminal records + excellent driving records. We also require candidates to be CPR & First Aid certified, be willing to perform light housekeeping tasks such as children's laundry and food preparation, and be licensed to drive (although not all candidates in the San Francisco own personal vehicles). Westside Nannies also looks for candidates who have flexible, adaptable attitudes, are team players, and have sparkling personalities!

What advice can you give families who are hiring help for the first time?
We know how nerve-wracking and overwhelming hiring a nanny for the first time – or anytime —can be. In order to maximize your search and minimize the stress that may come along with it, we advise giving yourself plenty of time to find the right person, and to always follow your gut when it comes to making a hire. For new parents, we recommend giving yourself 4 to 6 weeks to start the search process (from the start of the search to the day an offer is made), and 2 to 4 weeks for parents who have already been through the nanny hiring process. In addition, listen to what your instincts are telling you when you meet each candidate! Just like going on a first date, the first few moments within meeting a nanny candidate will tell you a lot about your connection with her based on gut reaction alone. Don't be scared to follow this reaction – it may just be the deciding factor in who you hire.