Hiring a Live-In Nanny

Before beginning their search for a live-in nanny, parents should gain a clear understanding of what they are looking for in a nanny and housemate. Having a detailed written job description and summary of an ideal candidate will help parents and potential hires determine if they are a good match.


When it comes to interviewing a live-in nanny, it’s important to remember that the candidate isn’t just applying for a nanny job; she’s applying to be a housemate too. For this reason, it is essential that both parents get a good feel about a nanny’s caregiving style and lifestyle so they can determine if she’ll be a good match for their family.

During the interview, parents should strive to gain a clear understanding of the nanny’s childcare experience and work history. Putting together a timeline can ensure that any gaps in employment are accounted for. Parents should gather contact information for previous employers so that they can verify the nanny’s work experience. Parents should also ask about the nanny’s educational background and any special training she may possess.

Parents must also strive to understand the nanny’s caregiving style. Parents should ask about the nanny’s childcare knowledge and discipline style. Asking open-ended questions like “Tell me about a time you dealt with a child having a tantrum in public” or “How did you handle it when the toddler you cared for refused to eat” will provide insight into how she has handled typical child related experiences. Most nannies also have a childcare philosophy, so asking what the candidate’s philosophy is can also provide helpful information.

Since the caregiver will also be a housemate, parents should ask about the nanny’s personality style, interests and if she’s an early bird or night owl. They should also learn about any food preferences or any other considerations that may impact their housemate compatibility. Some parents give young live-in nannies a curfew. If this is something parents are planning to do, it’s best discussed in the interview process.

Before offering a live-in nanny a position, live-in employers may wish to have a phone, in-person and working interview to help them gauge if the candidate is the right fit.

Background Checks

Since the nanny will be living in the family’s private home, it’s vital that they gather as much information as possible about the live-in nanny so that they can make an informed and educated hiring decision.

Parents should confirm the identity of the live-in caregiver and that the candidate is legally able to accept work in the United States. Form I-9 from the Department of Homeland Security can be used to make that determination.

Parents should also conduct an in-depth background check on the caregiver. Parents can utilize an online site like nannybackgroundchecks.com or hire a private investigator. Background checks should include a social security number trace, state and/or county court records checks in every area the candidate has lived and worked for the past 7 years, sex offender registry check and motor vehicle driving check. They should also include reference checks and verification of any educational credentials or licensing. Nanny employers must comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act and all local, state and federal laws when conducting these searches.

Work Agreement

One a family has found a nanny they’d like to offer a live-in nanny job to, they should present a verbal offer and follow it up with a draft of a nanny and family working agreement. The nanny and family work agreement should outline the terms and conditions of the employment arrangement. It should cover the nannies duties and responsibilities, the family’s responsibilities, the nanny’s salary and benefits, the accommodations and what the boarding arrangement will specifically include, like phone privileges and Internet access.

Live-in nanny work agreements should cover specific house rules, including when and if the nanny can have visitors, any curfews and any housemate responsibilities. It should also include a termination clause and relocation timeline, should either party opt to end the agreement early.

Upon the mutual acceptance of the agreement terms, a final draft should be signed and kept on file for both parties to refer to. Written work agreements go a long way in minimizing confusion and misunderstandings.

10 Ways to Find a Live-In Nanny

When parents are seeking a live-in nanny, it’s important that they have access to several high quality candidates so that they can find their right match. While some methods of recruiting potential nannies will take more work than others, all methods may lead to the ideal live-in nanny and family match.

  1. Word of mouth. If you’re looking for a live-in nanny, let everyone know. Friends, family coworkers and other parents can be a good source for nanny leads.
  2. Online nanny recruiting sites. Online sites like eNannySource.com focus solely on helping nannies and families connect.
  3. Social media. A quick status update to your social media network may land you a few solid live-in nanny leads.
  4. Craigslist. Many parents turn to Craigslist to advertise their live-in nanny jobs.   
  5. Nanny placement agencies. Nanny placement agencies specialize in helping families and nannies find solid connections. A reputable agency will identify your needs and present prescreened and qualified candidates to you for hiring consideration for a fee.
  6. Nanny schools. Nanny schools like the English Nanny and Governess School help current and past graduates secure nanny jobs.
  7. Daycare. Since nannies typically earn more than daycare workers, veteran teachers may welcome a switch to private care.
  8. Advertisements. Go the old fashioned route and place an ad in the local newspaper.
  9. Nanny classifieds. NannyClassifieds.com is like a job board dedicated to nannies. Parents can post and nannies can peruse live-in nanny job listings.
  10. Other nannies.  One surefire way to find a good live-in nanny is through another nanny. Visit the playground or contact your local nanny support group to see if the local nannies know of anyone looking for a live-in arrangement.

There are many ways for parents to round up potential caregivers, but regardless of how they do, parents must do due diligence and properly screen and interview any candidate they are considering hiring. Having a prescreening tool, like a written application, can help parents to quickly sort through candidates and separate them into viable and nonviable options.