Notice we are not looking to hire a "sitter." To me, there is a big difference between a nanny and a babysitter. A babysitter is a responsible, kind, mature person who will keep your children alive and relatively unharmed for 3-4 hours once in a while while you go have dinner with your husband. Or run errands. Or clean out your garage. Or whatever, but a sitter is not the same thing as a nanny to me.
A nanny (or a "manny," hey, I'm open-minded) is someone who is a true collaborator in helping you raise your children. A nanny is a professional who brings ideas to the table. A nanny knows, supports and works to help implement your family's philosophy about such things as diet, media consumption, discipline, and sleep. A nanny is engaged in your children's lives and contributes positively to their development as little emerging people. And she/he has fun while doing so. Basically, Mary Poppins without the priss-pot attitude. We've been lucky. The three women who have been our children's nannies over the last 5 years have been all of these things and more.
I'm now in the throes of trying to hire someone for this Tue/Thur position, and I've been amazed at the cluelessness of some applicants. If you happen to be reading this post and you are looking for a nanny job, try to not do any of the following:
1. Cancel your interview 30 minutes beforehand because you are "too tired from working six days this week." You think you're tired? Try on my life for a few days. If you are too tired even to sit down over coffee and talk to us, there is no way you are going be able to handle our active 3 year old rascal and her 5 year old drama queen sister. Fail.
2. After cancelling your interview, attempt to reschedule it during the workday. Um, hey there, the reason I need a nanny is because I WORK DURING THE DAY. No, I will not be scheduling an interview with you "mid morning" after you have presumably had your beauty rest because that is more convenient for you. Double Fail.
3. Repeatedly misspell basic words in your resume. Anyone who has graduated from middle school should know how to use word processing tools. I know I'm not hiring a schoolteacher or a copy editor, but come on, use the grammar and spell checks! They're free! It takes 2 minutes! I can forgive a "it's" for an "its" every once in a while, but five misspelled words, three misused words (e.g., "where" for "were" - really?) and countless punctuation errors in a short two-pager of a resume = not detail-oriented enough to keep up with two preschoolers.
4. Have a blog that reminds me of that chick who was my buddy's psycho ex-girlfriend. I can probably find your blog/twitter account in less than 5 minutes on Google. If it's public, it's fair game. I know blogs often serve as expressions of a person's deepest feelings and perhaps we shouldn't judge people based on their scary blogged thoughts, given that darkness is in all of us. However, when the actual facts of your life that you choose to highlight and make public to the world on your blog make you look like a tragedy magnet, you are likely not getting hired to take care of our precious children.
5. Engage in Facebook Foolishness. Even with limited privacy settings, I can still usually find your profile picture. I can usually also see your "likes" and other things that give me clues as to who you are. I would not refuse to hire someone because they are drinking beer or acting goofy in a FB picture (because that would be a total double standard given my own behavior). But if you appear unhinged, I'm not taking any chances.
6. Make ugly remarks about your current/past charges or their families. Gossipy, rude comments do not endear you to me, especially if you are trying to buddy up by contrasting us or our choices in comparison. If I specifically ask you "what is something that has bothered you in past jobs?" or something like that, by all means answer honestly, but you can do that diplomatically without slamming a mom or calling a kid a brat. Actually, never refer to a child as a "brat." It's a sign that you come to snap conclusions about a child's character based on exhibited behavior. To be clear, this is a bad thing. Caregivers should judge a behavior and have or develop an intention about how to address it, not judge the child. All kids can act up from time to time, and all "brats" have a nugget of goodness in there somewhere. It's your job to help bring out that goodness and work cooperatively with the parents to change the undesirable behavior, not place a label on a child.
7. Have a photo on your resume that screams "I've got a 'tude". You need to appear cheerful, loving, honest - the epitome of a shiny happy person. If you are throwing a Snooki pout in a photo on a nanny resume (I swear, I actually got one of these), I am not going to even call you.
8. Lie. I will probably catch you, and even if I don't, some instinctual warning bell will go off in my head about you and I'll know something is wrong.