I am sure that a majority of parents are confused by how many childcare agencies there are. Many have been operating for years and are well established, while some are relatively new. The key when choosing a nanny agency to hire a governess, private tutor or nanny, is to choose one that has experienced staff, preferably people that have worked in the role themselves.
This is crucial, especially when looking for candidates to work abroad. Another key is not to register with too many agencies, otherwise, the client will be inundated with CV’s, thereby making the selection process very difficult.
Why using a nanny agency with previous childcare experience will help you when hiring a governess, private tutor or nanny
Here at Harmony at Home International, we pride ourselves in that both Judy and I are still working within the childcare sector, therefore, have a unique view from both sides of the desk. On the one hand, we still have hands-on day to day experience with the children that we care for but are also very aware of the needs and concerns of the parents/clients who come to us at Harmony for childcare staff be it a governess, tutor or nanny. We have both worked for VIP families, in a considerable number of diverse cultures internationally for many years. I live and work overseas in the Middle East, and Judy is at home in the Cotswolds working in after-school childcare and education.
It is usually very easy to shortlist candidates, by making a checklist of the requirements of the position and then filtering out those candidates who do not fit all these requirements. Obviously, each position has different requirements, so these checklists vary especially as we specialise in the recruitment of governesses, tutors and nannies.
When we have a shortlist we usually Skype with the candidates, and sometimes the list will change again, according to the suitability after the interview with the candidate.
Alongside the job requirements, the candidates must also have a current DBS and be on the update service, and a 12-hour Paediatric First Aid Certificate or be willing to obtain one. The candidates must also provide at least two professional written references, one of which must be their current or last employer who are immediately contactable either by phone or email.
What are the hiring factors when considering a governess or other childcare specialist?
Some of the qualities we look for in governesses, tutors and nannies are the same, while others are different. For instance, we would expect governess and tutor candidates to be qualified educators with at least 5 years’ experience in this field. Excellent references, of course, are the main priority when looking for a governess, tutor and nanny, and we always follow up written references with direct references from the past employers.
Experience working within a private household is of major importance in all the roles. There is often a choice nowadays where the candidate can choose to live in or out of the house. Where babies are involved, more common in the role of a nanny the mother usually prefers the candidate to live in, so therefore experience of working closely within the family is so important. A smiley happy face when working with children, plus a pleasant personality is crucial.
There are differences between a governess and a private tutor
The main difference between a Governess and a Tutor is that a governess is responsible for the full-time education and social skills of the children, whereas a Tutor gives supplementary education to improve the level of the student, or to help slow learners keep up with their fellow students. A Tutor is a qualified teacher who gives extra tuition outside the conventional education system, usually to help underachievers or to improve the level of high achievers. Tutors are often employed on an hourly basis, but many Tutors are now employed on a full-time basis, and this is particularly useful when a family is travelling. There is also another popular position and that is the position of a Tutor/Nanny, which combines extra tuition for the children, social skills and some basic nanny duties, and this usually includes being responsible for the children’s clothes, etc.
A nanny on the other hand is an individual person who provides care for one or more children in a family. Today, modern nannies, like other domestic workers, may live in or out of the house depending on their circumstances and those of their employers. Professional nannies are usually certified in cardiopulmonary resuscitation, qualified in First Aid, and have a degree or extensive training in child development.
Sometimes we also vet the client to see who they are and where they live, this research is only for us, especially as most of the clients are foreign and it gives us peace of mind to know that they are a reputable family.
Getting governess and childcare hire right, the first time
The key factor in matching candidates to prospective children and families is that all parties are happy. If it takes a little longer than anticipated to find the right person for the job, it’s better to wait rather than placing an unsuitable candidate to impress the family or claim the commission. If you have worked in this field you would realise just how important this is, and how things can go badly wrong. This can cause unnecessary stress and upheaval for both the family and the children, especially if they have suffered a similar experience before.
It is important when a client contacts Harmony to discuss all options and listen carefully to their requirements. It will take time – some weeks usually to source a number of suitable candidates, to forward all their details to the client and then organise interviews on their behalf. The childcare candidates also have to be listened to carefully.
The job is after all about caring for children first and foremost, getting on with the family and any other staff and hopefully being paid well enough to eventually put down a deposit on a property or travel around the world. Girls working overseas have to be mature in their outlook and be able to list positive reasons for wanting to live and work abroad i.e. she wants to learn the language, visited on holiday and wants to see more of the country, has friends and relatives there, would like to broaden her horizons by living in a different country for some years before settling down at home.
Almost all nannies and governesses would like to go to the USA at some point but will settle for somewhere like Paris, Vienna or the Caribbean which are much less of a culture shock than Riyadh, Moscow or Bombay. We all have to start somewhere, particularly if we are newly qualified and haven’t had much experience, as working abroad can be very daunting at first.
A good place to start is Europe, and in a country where the local people speak some English, as there is nothing worse than trying to make people understand you. Then as time passes you will pick up the language and you might even go to classes to learn the language properly. My first position was in Athens, Greece and both parents spoke English, and being the capital city many of the local people spoke English.
We feel that we are one of the best international agencies, specialising in governesses, tutors and nannies. Unlike other large agencies that employ many staff, we are a small personal franchise and we put a lot of time and effort into making sure that the family and candidate are well matched. It’s not our main priority to make lots of money; we prefer satisfied clients and candidates.
Contact Harmony At Home if you wish to discussing hiring a governess, tutor or private nanny. Both Suzanna and Judy would be delighted to assist you with finding the right person, first time around!