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What Should You Watch Out for in Nanny Job Listings?

2017 June 8


When looking for your next nanny job, it’s important to thoroughly read through the nanny job listing and to be on the lookout for any warning signs that could spell trouble in the future.

The first step is to remember that not everyone knows exactly what a nanny is or what duties fall under the job title. First-time parents, especially can be slightly confused about what they can and can’t ask a nanny to do and so it’s important that you take the time to read through each listing and note down any questions that need clarifying by the employer during the interview or before-hand over the phone.

Top Tip: If possible, try to contact the employer over the phone as this will give you a better feel for who they are and what they want than communicating via email. It’s also a great way to make yourself stand out from the competition as they’ll be able to start getting to know you before you even set foot in the interview.

To help you identify the good listings from the bad, we’ve made a list of the most important red-flags that you should lookout for in a nanny job listing and interview.

  • Job Descriptions Contain No Detail ­– If a job description is very vague and doesn’t outline exactly what’s expected of you, it could indicate that the employer doesn’t know what they want or maybe they want you to do more than typically expected which is why they haven’t included the information. It’s important to establish a clear line of communication, so that you know exactly what would be expected of you if you were to apply for the position.
  • Lack of Referrals – Again, this might not be possible for first-time parents but you can instead ask for character references to give you a clearer picture of who you’d be working for. We have more advice on why you should ask parents for references on our blog.
  • No Connection ­– After talking to your potential employer over the phone or during your interview, you’ll quickly get a feel for their personality and whether you are a good fit for each other. If you don’t feel at ease in the home, with the employer or with another person in the household, that’s going to cause problems for you, particularly if you’re a live-in nanny. It’s better to cut your losses and look for another position than to set yourself up for a bad working relationship.
  • Flexible or Varied Hours – Whilst this can initially sound like a good thing, this type of wording can often be an employer’s way of getting around a minimum hour contract, leading you to be treated more like an on-call babysitter instead of a nanny. You need to understand exactly what the hours each day/week will be and ensure that these are stated in your contact before you accept the role.
  • Perfect Children – It’s natural for people to sing their child’s praises, but on occasion, parents could be trying to hide certain behavioural issues about their children that you would need to be aware of before accepting the role. Be wary of any false information and pay attention to how the children behave and if it matches what you’ve been told. It’s not that nannies can’t work with children who have behavioural issues, but that the parents should be honest from the start so that you can ensure you have the skills required to provide the best level of care for each individual child.
  • Light Housekeeping Required – Whilst this isn’t an unusual aspect of a nannie’s daily role, it’s important to understand exactly what’s expected of you. Does your employer want you to tidy away toys and food mess after the children or do they expect that you’ll deep clean the house from top to bottom? Communicate with your employer, letting them know what you can and can’t do and find out exactly what they expect from you.
  • Must be Good with Pets – Some parents might simply be checking that you’re not allergic to their cat or dog, others might be expecting you to walk the dog or clean out the rabbits every day. It’s important to establish early-on what’s expected of you and to communicate clearly whether that’s something you’re willing to do. Again, any extra duties should be agreed upon and included in your nanny contract.
  • Long List of Ex-Nannies – If the employer has had several nannies before, for short periods of time, it shouldn’t take you long to find out. Chances are someone or something will tell you, be it a child, a parent, the references might reflect this or you might have applied for the same position once or twice before and here it is again. This could indicate problems in the household and in the way that the previous nannies were treated.

Look out for these warning signs whilst looking for your next nanny job and remember to communicate clearly with your potential employers.

Tell us, what’s the strangest or craziest nanny job listing you’ve ever seen?

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