How To Write a Great Nanny Wanted Ad

Writing great nanny wanted ads is an essential task for every full service placement agency. You’d think it would be a pretty straightforward and easy task but it’s not. A great ad takes time, thought, and a knowledge of your audience but the effort is worth it. A great ad will help you recruit high quality candidates, serve as the first step in the screening process, and brand your agency in your local market.

Here are my tips for writing a winning help wanted ad.


Avoid Phrases that Don’t Have a Standard Meaning
Professional Nanny   Many agencies use this term to indicate that they’re looking for serious candidates that have a proven track record as a nanny and are willing to make a meaningful commitment to their next family. In other words, flakes need not apply. Unfortunately this is an emotional charged term that doesn’t have a clear definition in the industry. Many amazing nannies don’t consider themselves “professional nannies” because although they give 110% to their jobs, they don’t plan on being a nanny forever.

It’s a better bet to use terms that more accurately describe what you’re looking for like long term commitment wanted and long term references required.

Competitive Salary   So what exactly is a competitive salary in your area? Ask 5 different people and chances are you’ll get 5 different answers. Many nannies are very wary of ads that include this term because many unsavory agencies use it to try and hook quality nannies into low paying jobs. An easy solution is to list the wage range the family is offering.

Salary DOE   The rate offered in any nanny job is dependent upon experience so this phrase is especially unhelpful. By listing a range along with the a detailed description of what the family is looking for, you’ll give candidates a much better idea of the wage they’re most likely to earn in the job.

Light Housekeeping   This might be the most overused and confusing phrase out there. No one knows what light housekeeping actually means but it keeps getting included in help wanted ads. Some agencies mean the nanny only has to clean up after herself and her charge. Some agencies mean sweeping, vacuuming, dusting, or changing sheets. Since the level of housekeeping needed is a huge factor in a candidate’s interest in a job, it’s important to get this right. Rather than use this vague term, list out the additional housekeeping responsibilities. (BTW, all decent nannies know cleaning up after themselves and the kids is part of every job.)


Lose Salary and Go with Hourly Rate
Most nannies today compare jobs based on the hourly rate yet there are still many agencies listing a salary for a variable number of hours per week (e.g. $700 for 45 to 50 hours a week). List the hourly wage in the ad so candidates can accurately assess if the job fits their needs.


Stay-at-Home Parent or Professional Couple?
It’s essential that you include this information in your ad since many nannies will not work with a stay-at-home mom or dad. Some agencies skip mentioning an at-home parent because they want to sell the nanny on all the great parts of the job before they let her know about this possible challenge.  That approach often backfires because it feels like a bait and switch tactic to caregivers. There’s no use selling a nanny on the ten great things about a job if she’s unable to successfully work with the one big challenge.


Describe the Type of Nanny the Family Is Looking For
This shouldn’t be limited to just the nanny’s education, experience, and skill set. Give a short but accurate description of the personality traits that will fit in best with the family. This can also include specific traits the family wants to avoid. Not every nanny is self-aware enough to use this description to know if the family is a good match for her but many nannies are.


Use “Required” Sparingly
Nannies are a literal bunch. When an agency says “Bachelor degree required” or “5 years of previous nanny experience required” great nannies that don’t have that exact requirement won’t apply even though there’s a good chance they’d be a great candidate. Lots of agencies use the term “required” because that’s what the family has told them. But often it’s a preference, not a requirement.

I recently talked to a nanny who was one year from her Bachelor’s degree in Early Childcare Education and had 6 years of Waldorf teaching experience plus 4 years of nanny experience. She contacted me for advice about a job that fit her needs and philosophy perfectly but it also required the degree she didn’t have. I encouraged her to apply anyway. It turned out the family really wanted a nanny that had a strong background in education. They thought that meant a nanny with a degree but her combination of formal education, professional development and hands on preschool teaching experience was more than enough.


Don’t Ignore the Challenges
Many agencies skip including information about the job, parents, or children that might turn a nanny off. This can include special needs, a challenging employer, or a tough travel schedule. But the reality is nannies love a challenge. And they really appreciate knowing the down side going in. An honest assessment of the job won’t turn nannies off. It will attract candidates that understand and accept both the pros and cons.


And Don’t Forget the Basics
Location   Commute time is a big deal for nannies when considering a job. Simply saying the job is in “City A” doesn’t give much information. List the neighborhood or a close by major landmark like a shopping center or park to give the candidate an idea of where the family is located.

Taxes   This is a make or break issue for many nannies so if the family is paying taxes, indicate this in your ad. A simple “gross” added to the hourly wage (e.g. $16 / hr gross) is enough to give nannies the heads up about taxes.

Schedule   Include the days of the week, the daily hours, and any additional time that is required such as a monthly Saturday night date night. If the family needs scheduling flexibility, let the nanny know that.

Benefits   Don’t forget to list the extras that are included in the compensation package such as paid time off, health insurance, and professional development dollars.

Responsibilities   A nanny job automatically includes hands-on childcare and child-related duties like children’s laundry, meals, and cleaning up after the nanny and child. Don’t waste real estate including the “no brainer” list. Use your space to list additional duties needed such as family laundry, errands, family cooking, and tutoring.

Information on Children   Don’t forget to list ages, sex, a short list of personality traits and interests plus any special needs the child may have. The reality is although the children are the central part of a nanny job, they are also the easiest part of the “should I take the job” puzzle. A great nanny loves kids and can bond with and enjoy most kids.

Pets   Some nannies are allergic. Some just don’t like cats, dogs, or other pets. Either way, let candidates know if a pet is part of the household.


And of course, make sure you include instructions on how you’d like to be contacted.

– See more at: