Kate Christie, Babysitters and More
Which philosophy do you live by: First Impressions are the Best impressions OR Don’t judge a book by its cover?
I definitely try to be a ‘Don’t judge a book by its cover’ sort of girl. But, this egalitarian philosophy can be put to the test when it comes to something really important, like recruiting a Nanny to look after your kids.
There I was, years ago, hoping to find the perfect local Nanny to look after my three babies (who were at that time 4, 3 and 1). I had my list of absolute musts: they needed to be kind, caring, qualified, equipped with first aid qualifications, energetic and flexible. I had my list of ‘great to have, but not a deal breaker’: capable of cooking and happy to help out with the housework. I had my list of ‘wouldn’t it be an absolute bonus if..”: happy to cook for mum and dad too; good ironer, really clean and tidy!
Ok, ready set go and just jump in….whoops…
Candidate One: Enthusiastic in email (tick); qualified (tick); available to start straight away (tick). The doorbell rang. She’s here, our potential new nanny!! Yay! I opened the door to a beautifully dressed woman… yay! only to receive a full face of the last exhale of the cigarette which had just been stubbed out in the driveway. How do you end an interview even before it starts?
Add a new ‘must have’ to the list: Non Smoker.
Candidate Two: Great email (tick); qualified and a non-smoker (tick tick). The doorbell rang. Our potential new nanny! I opened the door to be confronted with a nicely dressed woman. All good! The interview commenced “Tell me a little about yourself”, ’…ummm, um, I dunno, I mean, umm…I like worken’ with kids, and that.” “Right, Ok, what do you like about working with kids?”….’Umm, I umm, I dunno, I just like ‘em.’ This continued painfully. The interview had been going for 3 minutes and I was exhausted. “Do you have any questions for me?” I plaintively asked, “Ahh…nup.” Of-course not.
Candidate three through to five, well, let’s just not go there.
Ok, back to the drawing board. Clearly I had gone about this all wrong.
So, I sat and planned my ‘tool kit’. I wrote a full and detailed brief of the type of person I wanted looking after the kids; the process I was going to follow in shortlisting for interviews; I wrote a checklist to be completed for telephone screening; I drew up a template for recording every candidate and their pros and cons; I drew up a detailed list of interview questions and a reference checking guide; and more!
I was a woman on a mission.
Candidate six was selected for interview after successfully jumping through my ‘new’ pre interview hoops. She sounded great in email; her CV read well; our telephone interview was excellent; her referees spoke glowingly of her. Looking good.
The doorbell rang. Could this be her, our new nanny? I opened the door to be confronted with a prolifically pierced woman. Are you kidding? But, I had done my homework, it all stacked up, I pushed aside my first impressions. And you know what? She was amazing! Within minutes my boys were hanging off her; my little girl was sitting on her knee; she was a genuinely lovely, amazing, warm hearted, caring, qualified, articulate, non-smoking, prolifically pierced superstar.
Plan well, do your homework and don’t judge a book by its cover.
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