Recently I had the privilege of speaking at Nannypalooza in Raleigh, NC. If you attended, HELLO friend! If you didn’t get to come to my workshop this blog will be a great overview for you. In my workshop we talked about how to avoid what we at Family First call “Red Flag” jobs and went over how to screen potential employers.  I remember when I was a full time nanny going through both agencies and finding jobs on my own. I desperately wish someone would have prepared me with the knowledge of how to find a family that I fit well with and treated me with respect, and offered quality pay and benefits. Let’s get you set up for success and dive into some hot topics and guidelines for doing just that. 

To start, you have to know what you want before you go after it. This starts with taking an evaluation of what your values, boundaries and ideal job are. Once you have taken note of these three items you can start looking for your dream job. There are many ways to find a job but the main avenues are Facebook groups, staffing agencies, referrals,, sittercity, Indeed and LinkedIn. 

When reading a job description you want to make sure you look for Red Flags. We took a poll in a few online nanny groups one being The Charlotte Nanny and Childcare Connection which has over 19K members. Below are the main Red Flags that you should be looking for. 

Our very first MUST is to remember, human trafficking and scams are real. There are people who will want money up front, a social security number or license before even meeting you. Never offer these items to any potential employer. 

Next, if they ask illegal questions like, “Do you have any children/do you plan on having children.”  “Are you married?” “Do you have any health issues?” 

Other Red Flags: 

  • Inconsistency in hours 
  • Poor communication 
  • Calling a nanny a babysitter
  • Willing to hire without calling references 
  • Interview feels rushed 
  • Speaking down to you during an interview 
  • Having multiple nannies in a short period of time
  • How they speak to you on the phone / zoom
  • Not offering legal pay or not wanting a contract
  • Offering low pay and poor benefits
  • Having a dirty or extremely unorganized house
  • Not willing to meet in person for a trial 
  • Values don’t align or asking political status 
  • Job creep, asking for housekeeping
  • Not offering guaranteed hours
  • Not allowing the nanny to drive or go on playdates 
  • Parents that micromanage / looking at cameras too much
  • WFH Parents that do not respect boundaries
  • Having grandparents over often without respecting boundaries
  • Trying to bank hours or not paying for “lunch” hours
  • Telling a nanny traveling that it’s like a vacation 

If you see any of these items in a job description or encounter them in an interview please think twice before continuing down the application process. These Red Flags apply to agency job listings as well. 

Now that we have touched on what to look out for, let’s chat about some tips for screening a family on your own or through an agency. 

After reviewing the job description go ahead and google the parents and check their social media. You can also check the sex offender list to make sure they are not on it. We highly suggest meeting via Zoom or FaceTime for your first interview and then meeting in a public space for a second interview. If both parties are still interested in moving forward you can meet at their home for a trial. Before meeting them at their house, it’s a good idea to google the house and make sure that the home is registered under their name. When doing a trial or in person interview please make sure to let a trustworthy person know where you are going and have them check in to make sure you are safe.

It also never hurts to ask for a reference of a previous employee to make sure the job aligns with what you have been told about it. During the interview don’t hesitate to ask direct questions so that you and the children are safe if you accept the nanny position. One question that many forget to ask is if there are any guns in the house and if so are they locked up in a safe place. According to

  • Nearly 1,300 children younger than 18 years of age die from shootings every year.
  • 1 in 3 families with children have at least one gun in the house. It is estimated that there are more than 22 million children living in homes with guns.
  • Most of the victims of unintentional shootings are boys. They are usually shot by a friend or relative, especially a brother.
  • Nearly 40% of all unintentional shooting deaths among children 11-14 years of age occur in the home of a friend. 
  • Adolescents are at a higher risk for suicide when there is a gun in the home.
  • Some parents believe that hiding their guns will prevent children from accessing them. However, 75% of children who live in homes with guns know where they are stored. 
  • Many parents think their children are not capable of firing a gun. However, children as young as 3 years old may be strong enough to pull the trigger of a handgun.

Once you have been offered a position and choose to accept the job make sure you get a signed offer letter with details about pay, benefits, basic duties and your start date. After this has been signed, going over a detailed contract with the family will be very helpful and set both parties up for success in the future. 

When working through a Nanny Agency: 

Not all agencies are equal and it is important that you know who you are working with to find a solid and long lasting job. Make sure that the agency is transparent with you about their values, mission and guidelines for accepting both nannies and parents. At Family First, we require all of our clients to offer contracts, competitive and legal pay, PTO, sick days, paid major holidays, guaranteed hours, mileage reimbursement and we encourage them to offer a health insurance reimbursement or stipend. Make sure that it is also clear that the agency views nannying and other household staff positions as a career and never go through an agency that makes you pay an application fee or takes a cut of your money. Lastly, ask about their communication before, during and after the placement. Do they stay in touch with you long term or provide assistance down the road if you need it? If not, that might be a red flag.  

While it is important for agencies to advocate for you, at the end of the day no one can advocate for you better than you can. Keep attending conferences like Nannypalooza or the International Nanny Association Conference to stay on top of industry standards and kindly show parents why you deserve the best! 

If you ever need assistance or guidance you do not have to be a part of our agency to recieve help. We are here to empower nannies and educate parents in order to help create healthy long lasting working relationships in the nanny industry. 

Leigh Aberle,

Founder and CEO 

Family First Household Staffing Agency