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Everything You Need to Know About Hiring a Nanny in London with Homebodies

Updated: Jun 28

nanny playing with child

Are you considering hiring a nanny in London? Look no further than Homebodies - a trusted nanny agency dedicated to finding the perfect fit for your family's needs. In this blog post, we'll walk you through the step-by-step process of hiring a nanny with Homebodies, ensuring a seamless and personalised experience. From the initial discovery call to the final hiring decision, we prioritise your requirements and provide exceptional support along the way.

Step One - Booking a discovery call

If you want to get started working with us, the first step is to book a discovery call. This is an opportunity for us to work out whether we are the right fit for each other. Typically, we'll start by discussing your requirements for a nanny. Do you need someone full-time or part-time? How many hours a week would you like a nanny for? We'll also discuss what type of nanny you're looking for. Is it a live-out nanny? A live-in nanny? A nanny-PA? A rota nanny? or a night nanny?

If you decide to work with us, we ask you to agree to our T&Cs and pay an initial instruction fee. The reason we charge this is to guarantee you are committed to working with Homebodies and using our services. From this point on, we share the risk. Our nanny agency always goes above and beyond and puts a lot of attention, time, and care into each search.

Step Two - Having an initial consultation

The next step once you've agreed to work with us, is for us to have a consultation. This is either available on Zoom or face-to-face, should you want us to meet you in your home and see your environment (different price packages apply). The Zoom consultation tends to be our clients' preferred option and may last an hour. If you're very busy and can't commit to the full hour, we'll spend the time you have available. Initial consultations can also last longer or be spread over two sessions if necessary.

The objective of the consultation is for us to gain an understanding of:

  • Your family, your lifestyle, parenting style, philosophy, and views in bringing up your children.

  • Your children's needs, routines, structures, likes and dislikes, and all the different logistical aspects related to your children and what they need in terms of a nanny.

  • The type of nanny profile you might need. Do you have any specific requirements and personality traits you would like your nanny to have? Did you perhaps have a nanny before? If so, what did you like or dislike about working with them? This helps us intuitively understand what kind of person might be right for you, your lifestyle, and your values.

nanny reading to two children

Step 3 - Looking for the perfect nanny for your family

After the consultation, we have a good idea of what kind of candidates may be suitable for you, and we start what we call 'the behind-the-scenes' work. This involves advertising on different platforms as well as on our website. We have many candidates on our database that we can advertise the role to by selecting the criteria that apply. We may also have nannies on our books who we may have worked with previously who are tried and tested. New nannies also come to us all the time, often sharing an interest in a particular position or they have been recommended to us.

It takes a great deal of time to sift through all the different CVs to match the right kind of nannies to your family's profile as there may be several objective criteria that need to be matched. For example, if the family lives too far from the nanny, or the nanny doesn't want to work 55 hours a week (and that's a requirement) then this candidate isn't suitable for the position and won't be put forward.

Once we have hand-selected the candidates that we think might be a good match, we'll share them with the family. Part of that process will involve interviewing new candidates in advance. This is where we make sure the prospective nannies have all the right qualifications and documentation (such as the right to live and work in the UK, a police check, a Paediatric First Aid certificate, etc.). We also check they have excellent references and this insight helps us to match the nanny to the family.

Step 4 - Meeting and interviewing your prospective nanny

Once this part of the process is complete, you will receive the Nanny Profile. This includes a bio about the nanny written by Homebodies, the nanny's CV, and their documentation. These are the nannies we recommend you start interviewing.

There are two ways of interviewing your prospective nanny. You can either first meet them in person or do it over video (Zoom or WhatsApp) if it's easier, as this can be done on an evening, weekend, or lunch break - depending on availability.

After the interview, we ask both the nanny and the family for feedback. This can happen over Zoom, on the phone, or even via voice messages on WhatsApp. We are very flexible in terms of how these conversations happen and when (evenings, weekends, etc.), as our priority is to accommodate the family and provide the best possible service.

Step 5 - Hiring your nanny

If the initial interview is successful, the next stage is organising a paid trial. The trial is a very important part of the process and allows our clients to see the nanny in action, interacting with the child or children and deciding if she is a good fit for their family. If you want to offer one of the candidates the job, we'll help to finalise the placement and agree on the salary offer and start going through the details of the contract. We can introduce you to a payroll company that we work in partnership with so you can sign up for their services at a discount.

Once we've agreed on a start date, and the contract is finalised, Homebodies remains available for regular check-ins to support both the nanny and the family throughout the whole process. If you want to contact us six months down the line to ask for some advice, or if you want to discuss a salary increase, or make any changes, we are always available. Both nannies and families can contact us at any time during the employment to talk about any issues that might arise.

nanny playing with bubbles with girl dressed as princess

Frequently Asked Questions about hiring a nanny with Homebodies

How long does it take to find a nanny?

We always recommend that families start the process of looking for a nanny at least eight weeks in advance. Our approach is very thorough, so allowing enough time is crucial. The process of interviewing and trialling nannies may take a few weeks, especially if they're working full-time elsewhere and have limited availability. Plus, you have to consider notice periods too. Nannies may have a 4-6-week notice period in their contract, but this could be even longer.

Having said that, we have been able to find excellent candidates in a week or two because we always go above and beyond if a family is looking for a nanny urgently. There are always going to be nannies who are available for an immediate start. And because we work out-of-office hours, we're able to move quickly to find the nanny you want.

Taking the time to go through this process has advantages in itself. Sometimes parents don't know what they want until they start looking for a nanny or meeting a selection of different candidates. We find it's often helpful for families to spend at least a couple of weeks interviewing a few candidates, so they make an informed choice.

If you want to hire a maternity nurse or a night nanny, we advise families to start early as many candidates get booked up quickly. A lot of expectant mums start looking as soon as they find out they're pregnant as maternity and night nannies may work with the same family for 3-6 months. It can be harder to find someone highly experienced and who meets your requirements to be available if you leave it until the last minute although we often get last minute requests and are able to assist.

Do Homebodies have nannies on their books?

We have a huge number of nannies on our books. Some of them have been working with us for many years, and while they may not all be looking for a new job just yet, they could see an advert and put themselves forward because their post is coming to an end.

Of course, this doesn't mean that all the nannies on our books are available to start immediately. And those who are, may not be the right match for you. Sometimes we receive very specific requirements from families, and we will always find the very best matches which can involve working with new candidates we have not placed before. You can be sure we'll always put forward candidates who are the best fit for your family.

What type of nannies do you place?

We focus on different nannies' profiles (including maternity and night nannies), but we mainly work with families who are looking for full-time nannies (who work full days) or nannies who work a minimum of 3 days a week. We don't work with after-school nannies or part-time positions less than 35 hours per week because our focus is to find the very best-calibre candidates who are looking to commit. Part-time or after-school nannies who are committed professionals and want to work on a long-term basis are harder to find.

What fees do Homebodies charge?

Our initial instruction fee is payable at the start of the process of working with us. When we successfully find you a nanny, we ask for a one-off placement fee. However, if you decide (when signing our T&Cs) that you want to work exclusively with us, you receive a 10% discount on your final fee. While there's no obligation for you to sign this exclusivity clause, it means you commit to working with us only instead of doing your own search in parallel or approaching other agencies.

What nationality are the nannies you place?

Our nannies could be of any nationality, as long as they have the right to live and work in the UK and they have fluent English if that's a requirement for you. If you're a Spanish-speaking family living in London, for example, and would like a Spanish nanny who speaks Spanish with your children, that's who we can find for you. We recently helped a family who relocated to the UAE and wanted an Italian nanny who had previous UAE experience. We can source international nannies who work in different countries across the world. You don't even have to live in London to work with us!

Do your nannies have specific qualifications?

A lot of nannies will have CACHE-level qualifications or an NVQ that they might have obtained at the start of their career or during previous employment in a nursery setting, for example. Some of our nannies will have Montessori qualifications or Norland or Chiltern, depending on where they trained. We even see nannies with teaching qualifications from their country of origin (including the UK) who trained as preschool or primary school teachers but then decided to move into nannying.

Although qualifications are important, we believe that experience always trumps qualifications. Unless you're looking for specific training or requisites, we may consider candidates with less qualifications but proven experience and outstanding references. What's key for us is finding excellent-calibre, professional candidates with the right experience. That's why the nannies we place typically have a minimum of five years' experience in childcare.

What checks did nannies have to do and do you help with those?

Our first check is always the enhanced DBS/police check, which we do through a specialised agency. If a nanny doesn't have an up-to-date DBS check, we can get this done very quickly for them.

We also personally check all nannies' references, which is a crucial step in the process. Rather than taking written references, we speak to previous employers. This helps us understand whether a prospective nanny would work well for your family. By contacting previous families directly, we can ascertain the type of family the nanny worked with previously.

For example, if they happily and successfully worked for a very high-profile household with multiple members of staff, they might find it easier to work in a similar environment. On the other hand, if a nanny has only ever worked in a more informal and relaxed family setting, she might struggle with a different dynamic. We'll also ask previous employers what type of family they think the nanny might enjoy working for. We tend to get brilliant insight by asking those types of questions as they give us a real sense of whether the nanny has the potential to slot right into your family.

How many nannies will we interview when working with Homebodies?

We typically start with a shortlist of 3-4 nannies that we recommend you interview. If none of those are suitable, we adjust the search criteria based on your needs and requirements, and we keep looking! Following the feedback we receive from the initial interviews, we might then send another 2-3 candidates. We don't stop our search until we find the perfect nanny for your family.

It's worth pointing out, once again, that timing is crucial in the process. Good nannies get snapped up quickly, so keeping the momentum going is key. That's why we encourage families to have interviews over video and during evenings or weekends, if possible - at least for a first meeting. Meeting the nanny in person is always our recommendation as you will get a better feel for each face to face. If you don’t make yourself available, weeks may pass before you get to meet a prospective candidate! And it's not unlikely for nannies to meet a few families before they make a decision either. That's because, naturally, they'll want to make the right choice for themselves, too. They are choosing the family as much as you are choosing them.

Would you like Homebodies to find the perfect nanny for your family?

Are you ready to find the perfect nanny for your family? Our award-winning nanny agency is here to guide you through the process, ensuring peace of mind and a successful nanny placement. You can trust Homebodies to make hiring the perfect nanny in London or Internationally a stress-free experience. Contact us now for an informal chat about how we can help.

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