Adventures in Advertising

opinion 1
Nannies, what do you look for in a job ad from parents? What attracts you in an ad? What puts you off in an ad?


r.h.fichter said...


- includes at least the most basic information I need to even consider a job (location, number of children and their ages, hours required, responsibilities required, and rate of pay)

- willingness to pay above the table

- willingness to negotiate and honor a contract


- not enough information (if the parent doesn't care enough to even write a decent ad, it's going to be downhill from there)

- pay too low (yeah, I'm sorry you're a single parent and money is tight, but that's not really my problem nor is it enough to entice me to try to get by on even less than YOU get by on)

- champagne taste on a beer budget (wanting to pay for a nanny and get a nanny / housekeeper / cook / tutor / laundress / errand runner)

- having a WAHM or WAHD in the household (sorry, I know it can work but generally speaking it does not)

N is for Nanny said...

- MOST IMPORTANT: Position will be on the books. This is non-negotiable for me.
- Details. Both about my duties (childcare only? housework? hours? travel?) and my compensation.
- Generic Family Info. I like to have a vague idea of what sort of position I am applying for - how many kids, parents WAH/WOH, kids in PT school. A general idea of who the family is (e.g. are they into music or sports?) is nice. I'm less concerned with what the kids/parents enjoy and more interested in them having interests that allow us to get out of the house. (I am much happier as an on-the-go nanny than as a play-at-home-all-day-every-day nanny.)
- Usage of words like "communication" and "respect." Bonus points if the parents have thought about how they may best communicate with the nanny - although this is more of an interview question.
- Traits they are seeking in a nanny, particularly their "deal breakers". For example, if the family wants a nanny who is bilingual Korean-English, and is only willing to consider such applicants, my applying would be a waste of everyone's time.

- Phrases like "nanny will function as a stay-at-home parent" or "nanny will be expected to do everything that we would do, were we home with the children." This is too open-ended and the definition of a parent, not a caregiver. While I have no problem performing some support tasks, I absolutely believe in boundaries.
- Heavy housekeeping. I have gone above and beyond with regard to household responsibilities at every single nanny job I have ever had. I am not a housekeeper and I do not want to be one. I'll do light housekeeping, but I'm going to want it spelled out.
- Anything that indicates the position will be anything-other-than legal. This could be a 1099 or under the table.
- Secrecy. I understand (and respect) not wanting to present private information in an initial ad, but there's a big difference between, "Our son Timmy is a very special boy and we are hoping for a nanny who will love him as much as we do!" and "Our son Timmy has CP, for which we will provide appropriate training. Specific details will be discussed with candidates. Timmy is a happy child who loves tango music, puns, and the St. Louis Rams." I've worked with kids with special needs, but I need to know. (Apologies if I worded that wrong, no offense was intended.)

Anonymous said...

What a nanny wants to see is 'We pay well with no nanny creep.' Add # of children, # of hours, and that great pay amount. And keep your promise, no nanny creep.

MissMannah said...

To be honest, I will apply for pretty much any job listing I see, provided the pay isn't outrageously low and they don't put in the ad that they want to pay under the table. In an ideal ad, the parents would write out as many details about the job as possible (in proper grammar, so I can be assured I'm working for intelligent adults), but it is a rarity ads are ideal.

Bethany said...

What I'd like to see
1. Location
2. Job Start Date
3. Number & Age of Kids
4. How long the position is to last ie summer only, year round etc

What I don't like
1. Adds that just leave a phone number.
2. Ads that assume all nannies arre lazy and involved in criminal activity.
3. Ads that think nannies are housekeepers.

But I don't apply to those so in one way I like those adds. Keeps me from wasting my time.

N is for Nanny said...

I should add that in the details I like to see (rate, hours, # of kids) I screen for jobs that match what I am seeking. So, even if the details are listed, that 70hr/wk job at $3/hr for ten kids is not one I'd apply to - although I appreciate knowing from the original ad not to apply!

Just My Two Cents Just Now said...

The things I like to see in an ad:

We are willing to pay well for the right candidate.

No housework or cooking required...only childcare.

We are great employers and respect the role of a Nanny in the family.

We are willing to pay for CPR/First Aid certification upon hire.

Paid holidays, etc.

Things I do not like:

I am a single mother and can only afford to pay such and such per hr. I am sorry, but hope you understand.

We expect you to do household duties while the child is napping since you are still on the clock. I.e., dusting, vacuuming, mopping, family laundry, etc.

We are not going to pay you more than $5/Hr since the child will be sleeping the whole time. We will not pay you for sitting on the couch, watching a movie and doing "nothing."

We will offer 30 cents per mile when you drive our kids.

We are posting this ad behind our current Nanny's back, we are unhappy w/her and want to fire her...however we need another Nanny in place before we do that.

Please send references before we meet in person so I know it is okay to meet you.


Manhattan Nanny said...

I am reading between the lines to get a sense of what kind of employers the parents will be.
If they emphasize the quality of care and the kinds of activities and stimulation they want for their children, rather than just what will make their lives easier, that is a good sign.
If they don't include number and ages of children, hours, and general location I probably won't answer that ad.

I am put off by ads that list honesty, cleanliness, punctuality, etc., as requirements. Yes, those things are important, but it comes across as paranoid, and I can't imagine it will scare off those who are lacking thereof! Ask the nanny's references about those qualities.

A big negative for me is asking for references in the initial ad. I do not want potential employers calling my references and taking up their valuable time before I've even interviewed with them and decided whether or not I want the job.

If the ad is for new parents hiring their first nanny, I would overlook most of the red flags and go on to a phone interview.

I need a break said...

I won't apply to just about any ad I have higher standards of myself. I also won't apply to ads that say no television, housework and laundry required, and we pay under the table. What I like to see included in the ad is the number of children and the days and hours. I think alot of the criteria of the job can be discussed during a phone interview. I certainly don't want to waste my time meeting with them if were not on the same page.

Susannah said...

Bothers me also. I hat seeing nanny posts where the "nanny" is available 24/7 likes kids , and will do everything for the reasonable price of $20 a week.

I wish there were standard qualifications. Daycares have standards for staff. While I'm on it, the people I have met that work in daycare are everybit teachers, and I have no problem calling them such.

I also prefer to be called nanny. I'm a grown woman. I don't need to be cute.

♥ Amy Darling ♥ said...

@I need a break:

I was wondering...why did you not like it when parents advertised that no housework or laundry was required? I personally would love a job where I didn't have to clean the house or do any wash.

I agree that ads that state parents want references PRIOR to meeting in person are annoying. My references have small children and full-time jobs. They are very busy and do not have time to answer 20 questions by someone that I have not even met yet! If parents are so paranoid about safety, they can take the time to meet me at a local coffee shop or park.

unejeunefille said...

Here's some samples of ads that I can't stand I've seen this week.

My husband and I are cops so if you're a thug or a druggie don't apply.

Couch potatoes and those with a criminal history need not apply.

We wish you could offer more, but we can't not afford a ridiculous salary if you want more than $5 an hour don't apply.

Me and my husband need ananny/housekeeper. We're very busy so call this number to speak to us.

unejeunefille said...

Basically all I want to know from an add is how many kids you want care for, how old those kids are, where you live, what days and hours you'll need.

I can ask other things during a phone interview.

unejeunefille said...

Oh another negative:

I'm only paying cash if this isn't good for you don't apply.

My husband and I want someone to engage our son during the day, we also have a dog that will need to be walked daily, we want someone who will cook dinner, vacuum after the cat, do household laundry, and occasional ironing, grocey shopping, orun errands, and various other tasks as needed.

lexeael13 said...

i look for the normal how many kids and their ages, hours, distance from my house, pay, then i like to see something in the writing of the add that shows they care about their kids and therefore care about quality care for the kids. I appreciate when its not super quick and i can not stand when the person writing it seems suspicious of all applicants.

Tales from the (Nanny)Hood said...

I want to know:

--Ages and number of kids. All kids. Do not surprise me with a step-kid who is "self-sufficient" at 10, except for homework, and lessons, and...

--Family location, how many hours they are offering, whether the job is LI or LO and how long they want a nanny to stay with them.

--Some idea on pay, even if it's "We plan to pay $10/hour and up depending on experience."

--Some phrases that indicate they know what they are doing WRT legality and benefits: Nanny will be paid on the books, nanny will have X days PTO a year, nanny will use her car to transport kids and be reimbursed for mileage.

--And the "tone" is important. If you can't be bothered to write a direct yet pleasant ad, I can't be bothered to apply to your job.

Good Ad: Hi, we live in Fairfax county and we are looking for a live-out nanny to care for our 2 year old and 3 month old girls. We need care from 7 am - 6 pm M - F. We want to find a nanny willing to stay with us for 2 or more years, and we are planing to pay $15/hour or more depending on experience. We also offer a nice benefits package, including a car to use during work hours. We also pay on the books, and will only be interviewing candidates that agree to that stipulation. We look forward to hearing from you! Please forward your resume or a summary of your nanny experience, as well as an introductory letter to the following email.

Bad Ad: We need a nannie. We have 2 kids and live near the big mall on Oakdale road. we also have 3 dogs, but you won't have to do anything but let them out 4 times a day and feed them. We pay cash only, so don't bother applying if you aren't good with that. We are working to improve our situation, so the pay will be low at first, but then we will give raises if things work out. We have to see references before we will talk to you, NO EXCEPTIONS!

Tessa said...

I agree with most of the other comments. Provide details about kids, hours, responsibilities, etc, and don't promise anything you are not willing to follow up on. If you want a nanny/housekeeper instead of just a nanny, make sure you are clear about that up front, and be willing to pay more!

It can also be helpful if you add things like, "we always come home on time to relieve the nanny," or "if we go out of town you will still be paid," or "we will not add to your list of duties without a discussion and a pay raise." These cover a lot of big nanny pet peeves, and it is nice to see that we won't have to deal with any of those problems.

Talking about your finances with someone you are hiring is always tacky. Don't try to get sympathy from potential nannies by whining about how tight money is for you. It doesn't make nannies want to give you a break, it makes nannies want to go work for someone else.

Over, under, who cares? said...

A lot of people on this site go a little crazy when we talk about taxes, but I know there are plenty of nannies out there willing and happy to work under the table. That would never scare me off. Just be totally clear with everyone whether you want to pay above or below the table.

I have never actually worked for someone who paid on the books, but a friend of mine was in a job for 9 months and suddenly her boss handed her a W-2. Like me, she had always worked under the table, and assumed this job would be the same. She ended up having to come up with a lot of money for taxes because the employer never told her she was doing things differently.

Bethany said...

I'm a little dumbe sometimes,

How did your friend'd employer have all her w2 info and your friend not know taxes were coming out?

I've worked off books before, but at this point in my life I appreciate having that record of employment when I need rent an appartment,for school financial aid , and car.

Maybe others can get by off book, but I screwed myself over last time I worked under the table.

Oddily enough I've since found 3 families in a row who willing to pay on the books.

I'm also upfront with that information. So if a family once to be under the table they know to pass me by.

MissMannah said...

I'm guessing this person actually got a 1099, not a W2. If she had gotten a W2, she wouldn't have had to scramble to pay taxes at the last minute.

over under said...

Not the point guys. I just meant that not all nannies are going to refuse a job because the parents want to pay under the table. It is important to be clear with your nanny about whether you want to pay above or below the table. Not trying to start a discussion about taxes, just about being up front with your nanny, whatever your tax choice may be.

Belle Vierge said...

I agree with most of what's listed here. The one thing I'd add is PLEASE list your pets. I don't care if you have an indoor cat who requires zero care or outdoor dogs in a huge yard who will never need to be walked. I am highly allergic to dogs, cats, and horses. I have this listed in my profiles, so when families contact me, they know this. However, if I'm actively applying for jobs, I hate finding out much later that I can't accept a job due to my allergies. It's a waste of time for everyone.

Gimme Refs! said...

Every parent of course wants references before hiring a nanny. What I would love is for the parents to offer a reference for themselves too. I would like to hear from someone else who has worked for them so I know what to expect.

A lot of parents get angry if a potential nanny asks for their refs. Why? Why is it ok for you to demand refs from us but you get offended if we ask for the same?

Susannah said...

I second the refs for the parents.
I've been known to reqest a background check on parents who request of me.

Katie said...

I'll add weird photos a your profile picture. I understand not wanting to post your kids, but I don't want to see you with your boobs hanging every which way, flexing your muscles, your dog, your cat or someone dressed in a weird bunny costume. I will assume you are not seriously looking for a caregiver.

OceanBlue said...

If you want someone with 10 years experience and 20 references say so in your listing.

If you don't don't get snappy when someone with less than the amount you wanted replies.

Actually don't be rude in general. Nannies talk and a bad experience with a family even if it's just during the hiring process get around

Magen said...

What I dont like to see:

Ads that ask me to respond to a laundry list of stupid questions like "Why are you a nanny?" "What do you like about children?" There is too much pressure for a good answer, and I personally dont feel that my value as an awesome nanny should rest on a questionnaire.

Asking for my references before we are in serious discussion about hiring. My references are not available at the beck and call of every parent who wants me to babysit their livingroom from 8-2 on a random saturday night. Please treat me as what I am and respect the fact that if you are not serious about hiring me, I am not going to bother the references I have worked very hard for to appease your worry that I am an internet weirdo. Read my resume, Google me and for goodness sake just call me! I promise to be cheerful!

"This would be a very easy position for the right person." This tells me I need to have OCD, super human senses and the ability to spiderman my way over traffic to be ontime (early) to be acceptable. When I see this, I just think "Ha! She's probably out there somewhere!"

Ads that list all the housework I'm expected to do for $11/hr. If the list is longer than "child related light housework" and the pay is less that $15/hr, I move on.

Things I dont mind/like to see:

Clear explanations and proper grammar. I f ur wrt in lik t ihs in you're add, there's no fucking way I will work for you.

At least $10/hr, anything less and I wont even look at it. Even for 1 child and no housework. I can't afford it.

I love to see info about the kids! If not names, at least age and interests, abilities (walking, potty trained, "loves to ride her bike")

I like to know what I'm applying to. I don't want to need to use the title of the add and the drop down/selected information to make guesses about what the job is. I love to see a clear description of needs. This includes hours, responsibilities, and any other pertinent information, like start date, pets or if there is a sahm/d.

A picture! On Sittercity this lets me know that I am applying to a paying member that is serious about hiring and is accountable to the website. Most non-picture jobs dont send back replies because they dont purchase membership after their trial. There are exceptions!

OP- I hope this helped.

Tamm said...

In an ad and an interview, it is really important to be clear about whether or not you will be in the house while the nanny is working. Even parents who work outside the house sometimes will sometimes be home for a while after the nanny arrives.

I had a job where the MB would spend 2-3 hours every morning showering and getting ready while I was there. It was incredibly stressful for me, and they never thought to let me know about that when they interviewed and hired me. Let your potential nanny know what they are gtting into.