Find a Great Part-Time Nanny or Babysitter in NYC: Tips from a Pro Nanny AgencyJuly 9, 2018
Finding a great part-time babysitter in NYC can feel like an overwhelming task, but with enough time, patience, and attention to detail, you can absolutely check it off your to-do list! Follow our tried and true method for finding, carefully screening, and successfully hiring your next part-time nanny or babysitter.
How to find a great part-time babysitter in NYC
1. Nail down your part-time babysitter’s job description.
This might seem like an obvious one, but organizing all your job details up front will make finding your part-time babysitter a much smoother process. There are three main components you’ll want to look at:
Responsibilities: A part-time babysitter for school-aged children might be responsible for school pick up, commuting to and from different activities and playdates around NYC, helping with homework, preparing dinner, caring for pets, and possibly pitching in with light housework or errands. Responsibilities will look different for younger kids and families with multiples. Write out your unique description.
Schedule: This is truly the first step in determining compatibility between yourself and your part-time babysitter. Think through your ideal schedule and any flexibility you might have within that schedule – it will open you to more choices.
Rate: Make sure your hourly rates are appropriate for your market, for the number of kids, and for the level of experience you’re looking for in your part-time babysitter. In Manhattan and Brooklyn, occasional babysitter rates are about $20/hour, with nanny rates around $25/hour for regular, consistent positions. When choosing how to compensate your part-time babysitter, or even an occasional babysitter who is in your regular rotation, there are several different approaches. If you have flexibility at the higher end of the range, it may give your part-time babysitter more time and resources to commit to your family. At the lower end, it may be helpful to have several babysitters in rotation, or to guarantee a part-time babysitter a minimum number of hours per week.
2. Publicize your part-time babysitter job opportunity.
There are many ways to get your job out into the world. You can use one of many websites that allow you to post a job and connect with child care providers interested in working with you, keeping in mind that those websites are legally classified as “venues,” meaning that anyone can sign up and create a caregiver profile; they just provide the “meeting place.” Translation: you will need to do all the heavy lifting when it comes to verifying the identity of your candidates and completing a thorough screening.
3. Narrow down your responses.
Families are often surprised by how many responses they’ll get using venue-style child care sites. Sifting through hundreds of messages takes a lot of time, and it can be hard to “read” someone from a single message. You’ll want to coordinate a 10-15 minute introductory phone call with any candidate you are considering before inviting them to meet in person. Between reading through responses and coordinating times to speak with potential babysitters, expect to spend about 3-5 hours of time before beginning the interview phase. Opting to use a reputable local NYC nanny agency will not only speed up things up significantly, it also comes with the reassurance that the individual has already been background-checked before you move on to the next step.
4. Set up an in-person meeting.
Before your first meeting, prepare a list of questions that will help you get to know your part-time babysitter and their previous experience with children. Follow along on their resume if they’ve provided one (yes, you can ask for a resume, although you don’t need to require it). Ask when they started and ended positions with individual families so you can better understand the frequency and significance of those experiences. A general statement like “I have experience with 3-year-olds” can mean a variety of things, from date-night babysitting with mostly sleeping toddlers to day-in and day-out care, so ask specific questions. If you need some ideas, check out our blog post on some great interview questions to ask your part-time babysitter. Keep a mental checklist of how easy it has been to communicate with your candidates so far, and if they’ve kept their appointments as originally scheduled.
This might sound like another obvious one, but don’t second guess your instincts during the interview. Do you like this person? Do they seem warm? Easy to work with? Reliable? Honest? Knowledgable? Even if they’re great on paper, it’s crucial to have that personal connection that can only be determined in a face-to-face conversation.
5. Request, and yes, actually call their references.
Take notes in your interview, because the positions that stood out to you as the most relevant and significant are the ones you need to actually call for references. This step can take time because families are busy (your own and the one you’re trying to contact), but your candidate’s previous employers should be more than willing to hop on the phone for a few minutes. Just like the in-person meeting, prepare a list of questions for each reference and make sure their answers line up with what you learned during your interview. Asking specific questions about the timeframe of the position, the responsibilities of the kids, the ages of the kids when they worked together, and other details will help you verify the relationship and that the reference is who they say they are. Make sure you receive the full name of the reference and their phone number from your part-time babysitter candidate. Pop their name into a Google search and see if everything checks out. Thankfully, the NY State Senate just passed Leo and Lulu’s Law, which establishes the crime of misrepresentation by, or on behalf of, a caregiver for children. We hope the passage of this law discourages anyone considering providing a fake reference on behalf of a child care provider.
6. Run a proper background check.
Have you heard of the national criminal background check? Doesn’t it sound comprehensive? Sadly, it is not. The national criminal background check gives you the opportunity to trace the social security number of your candidate, which pulls up all the counties the person has previously lived in and sometimes pulls up other records that get reported. You must then search the records of all those individual counties manually to see if they pull any convictions up. The catch is that not all counties report to the state and not all states report into the national system. Plenty of background check companies only search available digital records and unfortunately, that just doesn’t cut it. Many companies sell families a false peace of mind, so it is important to educate yourself on the benefits and limitations of the background check system.
A background check covering the national criminal database and relevant manual counties will cost anywhere from $75-$100+ in New York (due to our very expensive court fees) with additional costs for DMV records and other available checks. Legally in New York State, you can only go back 7 years. A clean background check on its own is not enough without the above steps of conducting in-person meetings, verifying accurate references, and checking out the social channels of your candidates and their references.
7. Start with a trial run.
Invite your part-time babysitter to do a trial with your family. Plan on paying the babysitter for a few hours of their time and hanging around to observe their interactions with your children and around your home. If everything is feeling great, run out and get an errand or two taken care of. With all of the work you’ve done to get to this point, all that’s left is making sure that your individual styles fit together and that your children are feeling the warmth and love that you want them to feel.