Interviews are always one of the greatest challenges for nannies, as it is the first step in a new professional journey. And we know that in our work, in particular, the interviews are much more rigorous because the chosen professional nanny will take care of a family’s most prized possession, and raising children is no easy task. Joining a new family and becoming part of their family and routine is a big milestone, therefore, it is not easy for parents, too, to find the ideal professional that will fit into their family needs.
For a long time, we have been conditioned to the false idea that being a nanny is not a real profession, a qualified job. And because of this, many nannies have stopped learning and advancing in their studies to get better prepared for the job market. We need to understand that this is a big mistake, because, in addition to not differentiating ourselves as a professional, we are not keeping up with new research when it comes to raising children, which by the way, always has new findings, nor the job market trends.
Like the time we are living now, for example, in which fortunately families have been looking for more and more qualified nannies to take care of their little ones. Many families have struggled to find a high-qualified caregiver to meet their needs. The truth is, we know many parents feel guilty for not having so much time with their children and they want to make up for the time they are away and understand the value of a good education early in life, someone who will love their little ones while also engaging them in a way they can develop to their fullest potential.
However, we know that for parents, it is not always easy to determine and know all of their needs, describe the position, place job posts, and then also hold interviews. Then, after going through this whole journey in search of their ideal nanny, nothing is more rewarding than actually finding them. So I decided to make this post about the characteristics and overall wants that parents take into account most when hiring.
1. Apply for jobs that only have to do with your wants and needs – it is all about the FIT
The first thing you should keep in mind is that just like any other family, this will be your new routine and lifestyle. Therefore, it is essential that you only apply for jobs that, in fact, have to do with your wants and will be happy about, and that also fulfills your needs. It is necessary to keep in mind that, in addition to not being sustainable, working in an environment that you don’t identify with, having to worry about finding another job to supplement your salary and cover your expenses or having to change all your schedules, classes, or other chores without these being your initial or feasible desire, just puts you further from the ideal situation.
Certainly, one of the characteristics that parents value most in nannies is sincerity. So, evaluate if the workload fits your schedule, if the job requires the nanny to live-in, or endure 14-hour shifts, travel in a moment’s notice, and what this routine would be like for you. Think also about these other factors, such as children’s ages, type of care, if children have any special needs, what tasks, experience, qualifications are required in the position and whether you meet all these demands. What type of expertise the family requires and whether the remuneration is in accordance with the job requirements and your qualification and experience.
2. Prepare for the interview
Make a script and draw a map of what you will talk about in the interview, for example: why you left your last job, what the biggest challenges were – always remembering that you shouldn’t speak ill of previous employers – what your routine with the old family was and the type of relationship you developed with them. Be sure to talk about what you are looking for in this new position as well, what the ideal family and job for you would be, keeping in mind the family with whom you will be doing the interview with because the family will want to know if you really fit the job description but great families will also want to know if they also fit in with your needs so they can see you in this new successful professional relationship long term.
3. Have professional references
Whenever possible, ask for a letter of recommendation from old families when leaving work, or even before, actually. Also ask these families if you can pass on their contact as a reference, as many families feel more secure when they can hear from a former employer about their experience with you and how your day-to-day work was. Emails and even cards where your former employers thank you for your work or share how important you are in the family are also great proofs that can be included in your nanny portfolio! Collecting these testimonials to post on your website or on your social networks is also a way of giving more peace of mind and reassurance of your awesomeness to future employers.
4. Highlight relevant training
Although this is not a profession that requires any minimum level of education, it is always good to put all your courses and certifications in your resume. You may not have higher education but have completed nanny training and other professional, related courses. Obviously, the more courses and knowledge you have, the more prominence you will have in the job market. Highlight conferences and accredited courses or nanny exams if you have taken them. Also, put all your skills developed over the years in your nanny journey.
5. Take specialized courses
Continuing on the topic above – some courses are practically mandatory for those who want to be a successful professional nanny and there are many courses available on the market, which you have no problem finding, such as :
- Infant and Child CPR and First Aid;
- Newborn Care;
- Positive Discipline;
- Infant & Child nutrition/feeding;
- Sleep Conditioning;
- Potty Training;
- RIE; etc.
6. Observe personal hygiene and food preparation criteria
Another point that parents take into account is about the care with the nanny’s hygiene, especially now in the times of COVID. We know the nanny will be in close proximity to the children and many will also need to take care of their meals. It is important to know about food handling and storage for the little ones. Ask parents how they want their fruits and vegetables washed and prepared, and learn how to prepare nutritious meals. Also, pay attention to the child’s relationship with food so that you can support them in developing healthy eating habits.
7. Be resilient and communicative
Work hard on your communication skills so that you can succeed in communicating with different types of people and situations. Always notify parents of everything that happens to the child under your shift, what their routine is like, what they did during the day. The same is true for your emotional intelligence, develop it, and work on it. It is an essential skill that we must develop in order to be successful nannies. Mainly, because we work closely with people ann part of our job is to develop little minds! Adapting to the routine and rules of each family, which will often be different from their reality until then takes great strength to be done seamlessly.
8. Check your health and disposition
It is important to take care of your health too, so that the family realizes that you are able, for example, to take care of the child during long hours, sometimes 12, 14 hours, and that you can handle this routine well that can be quite hectic depending on the age of the children. Make sure that you are able to perform all functions, have energy, and also a time for rest with restorative sleep when finishing your tasks after a long day.