My 15 step process for hiring our nanny

Sitting there jotting down a thousand questions I’d have for the girl who’d be watching our little ones for 16 hours each week.

I wanted to do my mompreneur work from home — or at least have that option — and having a nanny was starting to look more and more like the next right step. I had tossed around preschool for Daniel and letting the same school watch Hannah during that time, but I needed to lay down a work schedule I could tweak if needed. 

I really needed a work solution I could grow with. If I felt like I needed to put more hours in every week to help support my family, I wanted to have that option. I needed to have the option of adding hours if that worked with the other person’s schedule. I’m nursing Hannah and hope to do that for a while, so working from home (or close by) while my littles were there had a nice ring to it.

 
 How we hired our nanny
 

But there are taxes and household ID numbers and background checks and job descriptions and an interview process. Those things terrified me!

I was scared no one would apply if I put out an application. So I asked around. And I asked and I asked and the recommendations were amazing, but the schedules just weren’t going to work for those girls. I was back at square zero with even less time to find someone and the same fear: no one is going to apply. Or worse: people will apply and I’ll have to tell some people no.

So I did it scared.

My process for hiring our nanny and transitioning back to mompreneur work

Isaac and I sat in our living room one night after the kids were asleep and he helped me gather my thoughts and write it all down. So here’s what we did to hire our nanny.

I was nervous we wouldn’t find someone I could trust, but I leaned into God and asked for help. And this gal we hired! My heart… I love her. 

I mean… I love her so much that when she gets to our house, I just want to talk to her non-stop! I absolutely trust her with our little ones, but God provided immeasurably more than I could even ask for with her. She has a teaching heart and wants to point my babes back to the Lord. 

It was such a hard decision when we sat down and read over applications because we had so many great gals apply and I ended up interviewing a handful of them. I wish I could have hired all of them. I’m so grateful that they applied and I ended up passing on their applications to some close friends.

Back to the process…

1. Make a giant list

Have a giant brainstorming session and get everything on paper. I think I’m a pretty laid back mom, but I still have some pretty specific ideas of how I want things done with my kids. I don’t want them to be told that they are “bad” or what they did was bad.

If I teach them who they are as a person is “bad,” then I will spend my entire life trying to teach them that they are not. “Bad” is an identity-shaping word. It’s defining. It’s not full of light, but darkness. I don’t want them to be taught that they belong to a kingdom of darkness, but a kingdom of Light.

2. Who are your children and what do they need?

Daniel is full of energy and loves to be outside. Hannah is the most peaceful person I’ve ever met and has a heart that needs pursued. They need someone who is patient, who has a selfless attitude, and who will point them back to Jesus.

If you read this instagram post, you know Daniel has bad dreams. So when I sat down and thought about who I’d want to be walking with him through that if it ever came up, I realized someone who listens well is really important to me. So I watched for that in the interviews. The thing is… all of the gals I interviewed were just amazing and they all listened well, but it was something I was definitely looking for.

I want my children to understand boundaries, respect other people’s boundaries, be able to identify their emotions so they can lead other people well. I think natural consequences are important and will help my little ones learn from their decisions.

I don’t think I have it all figured out, but I can see a glimpse of who my children are called to be — although I’ll let the Lord reveal that to them in His own time — and I want to empower them toward those callings. I want to teach them it’s okay to be scared, but we can be brave even when we are scared and do what we need to do. Because one day God will tell them to do something and they are going to feel scared. Scared of what other people might think. Scared of what the outcome might be. And I want to empower them now to face their fears so that their fear is never their master. We can be scared of what other people might think and still obey. 

And I want to teach them how to practice obedience now in the smallest of ways because obeying the Lord in small ways has big impact. I want to show them obedience is just the first step toward friendship with God. That’s ultimately what I want for them… for them to know that they can approach His throne and ask for anything in His name and receive it.

 
 A 15 step process for hiring a nanny
 

3. Write the instructions for the application and introduce yourself

You’ll want to include a photo of you and your family, who you are, what you do, and kind of paint a “picture” of what the job would look like each week: how many hours, how many kids, where the job is, daytime/nightime, what you’re looking for as far as character goes, the deadline to apply and when they can expect to hear back from you.

I run a business from home and am gearing up to start working again after maternity leave with our children, ages 3 and 3 months.

We are looking for a joyful and peaceful nanny to care for our littles for 16 hours a week in Bolivar, MO. The start date will be in mid-April, but we are open to being flexible if it's the right fit for our family. Must be able to commit to one year.

We will finalize a regular work schedule before the start date, but I'm looking at 2 longer days (8 hours each) or 1 longer day + 2 shorter days.

We are looking for someone who is teachable and able to teach, an encourager, a helper, eager to give a gentle response and be a calming presence. Must be organized, have your own transportation, and a clean driving record.

Having someone in our home who can teach our children who Jesus is and be a helper to them is very important to us. We are looking for someone who is passionate about walking out their faith in front of our children.

Please prayerfully consider applying and if you feel led, answer the questions below by 11:59 PM CST on March 31, 2018. We will begin the interview process on April 2, 2018.

16 hours a week in Bolivar, Missouri.

4. Write the application

We included the following questions on our application. I actually had a lot of questions in the application and then removed a lot of them and decided to ask those questions during the interview process.

You’ll want forms for...

  1. First name, last name
  2. Email
  3. Phone number
  4. How did you hear about this position?
  5. Tell us about your church community and why you love it.
  6. What is your all-time favorite playlist/album/song?
  7. What are you passionate about?
  8. How does your faith play out in your everyday life?
  9. What kind of experience do you have?
  10. Where can I find you on social media so that I can get to know you better? Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.
  11. When would you be able to start?
  12. Tell us anything else you think we should know about you!

The bottom of the application just read, “We are so grateful for your time and can’t wait to learn about you. -Jordan & Isaac”

 
 

5. Print all applications and read over them

We sat on the couch again after the kids had gone to sleep and filtered through the applications.

I actually cut off the names and how they heard because I just wanted to start with a blank slate for each girl and get to know them through the application. I ended up knowing a few of the young women who applied and didn’t want to be biased toward them.

6. Email all applicants

I emailed everyone who applied and either set up an interview or thanked them profusely for applying and encouraged them. We didn’t have a hundred people apply, so even though it took extra time, I tried to personally encourage each applicant.

7. Interview and interview again

We prayed before we read over the applications and asked God to show us exactly who He had for the position. I set up four out-of-home interviews and set up an in-home interview when I thought I had found our nanny!

This whole process was really, really fast because I didn’t put the application out until three weeks before maternity leave was over. I wanted to already have someone by that point, so I was grateful that I knew who our nanny was supposed to be after just two interviews.

But I would suggest having a minimum of three interviews. Even if you know that you know that you know you have the right fit for your family, do three interviews. The third interview you could do could be dinner at a restaurant (you buy)!

Dave Ramsey talks about the interview process in his book, Entreleadership, and it changed the way I think about teams.

8. Request and call references

Try to ask open-ended questions and let the reference do the talking. I just introduced myself and told them that so-and-so had applied to be a nanny and I just wanted to hear more about her!

Just saying that opened the door to learning a lot!

9. Call with a job offer! 

This was the fun part! We set up a training day for her and finalized her work days and times contingent on her background check.

10. Background check

You can use something like Kennect Screen to run the background check. It will cost you money to run a background check and there are cheaper places, but this background check includes so many different screenings.

You can actually select “email candidate for information” and Kennect will just send you an email with the results. It takes the pressure off from handling sensitive info like social numbers!

11. Email the people you interviewed who didn’t get the job

I emailed each girl I interviewed and encouraged them personally. They were all so incredible. So much so that if they weren’t called to such specific things, I would try to talk them into interning for me. Or becoming part of our team. I would personalize each email, encourage each girl, and offer to pass her name along if you have friends who are looking for babysitters or nannies.

 
 How to hire your first nanny
 

12. Write down a job description

This does not have to be “professional.” It just needs to communicate what the job will entail, but it doesn’t need to be up tight. You could put it in the form of a schedule on the fridge with some written “expectations.” But we don’t call them “expectations.”

Our expectations are just written in letter form under lunch options for Daniel and how much Hannah eats. One of our expectations is that the kids come first and picking up toys or doing the dishes is awesome, but they are not the priority, so there’s no pressure to put a clean house over the needs of Daniel and Hannah.

I have someone come clean our house once a month (twice a month with a new baby was just too much work for us) so I don’t need her to clean anything. But if I was going to ask her to clean our house, I would work with her to find a schedule that was manageable and included some down time. I think it’s important to have some down time when you’re watching kids, so scheduling her to the max isn’t something I’d do.

13. Have a training day

I’m a get-it-done kind of girl so having a training day was the last thing I wanted to do, but it will set you up for long-term success with your nanny. She came over during the time she’d normally be working and we just spent the day together. It gave her the opportunity to ask questions, get to know the kids, and I practiced working.

I told Daniel we were going to practice me working and him playing with and listening to our nanny. I actually used that time to curl my hair (haha!) and write the job description from step 10. Daniel busted through the door a gazillion times and I scooped him up for a hug every single time. That was fun. :)

14. Household EID numbers and your accountant

If you’re tax-savvy, then you probably already did these things in the back of your head. :)

I am not what I would call tax-savvy. We have an accountant who handles the tax stuff for my business (and our combined personal income), so we are going to let her handle this, too. I know it’s different for each state, but here’s how it’s working for us! You need this kind of info to develop a budget that includes a nanny, so I’m hoping this is helpful info!

Our nanny will work 16 hours a week at X/hour. We will pay her hourly rate, withhold 7.65% from her paycheck (her end of the taxes), and put that in a savings account to pay to the IRS each quarter. In addition to that, we will also save 7.65% (our end of the taxes) to pay the IRS each quarter.

If you’re hiring a nanny, you have to consider them an employee. So that means that you withhold from their paycheck and you also pay taxes on their paycheck. There are a lot of articles about this (like this one) that you might want to read if you’re paying for childcare. If you pay more than $1,800 to a single person in a year (even for date nights), then you have to employ them as an employee.

15. Transition back to work

I gave myself a little bit of a pep talk in the weeks before I went back to work. Remember how I said I was a go-getter?! Well, I can be kind of a mean boss to myself. I hope I’m fun to work for (you’d have to ask my business manager), but I can be hard on myself.

Knowing this, I try to speak truth over myself. I want to remember that work gets to be a joy! I don’t have to hustle for my work to matter. I’m not really about hustling… at least not in the traditional sense of the word: “busy movement and activity.”

So I’m giving myself all of April to catch back up, to get going on blog posts and emails, and finalize my business goals for the year. It’s time to look at pageviews and user statistics on the blog, open rate for email marketing, and anything else I need to tidy up before moving forward!

 

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Whether you’re getting ready to hire a nanny or you will in the future, I hope this was encouraging and insightful! It’s not impossible and if I had had a process for it sooner, I think I would have done it from the get-go!