Tuesday, April 4, 2017
Well hello old friends. And new! It seems like I haven't posted in a while now, but I am back with a very interesting post! I am writing from sunny Arizona, where it is about 85° and gorgeous. I moved back to Arizona after my Fall semester ended and am living with my dear old dad. He is getting older and really should have someone living with him and I am just trying to get my degree and be done with school already, so it works out for both of us! As you know, I have moved around a lot! Most of the time, I am able to find a job right away which is nice. But this time, it is different because I am in school full-time and can only work part-time. This means that my job outlook has gone down significantly. The one thing I have always been able to count on is my 10 years of childcare experience. It means that pretty much wherever I go, I can find some sort of work because of my experience and high ratings.
The main way I have found childcare gigs is on a site called Care.com. For those who don't know what it is, Care.com is a company founded in 2006 originally specifically to match caregivers with parents looking for childcare. Now, it is a vast resource for those looking for caregivers for their children, elderly family members, pets, and also housekeeping/cleaning and errands. I have been on the site for about 5 years. I have several positive reviews and a slew of families that I have worked for under my belt. I get anywhere from 3-4 emails a month from families looking to hire me. Unfortunately most of them I have to turn away because of the location, however I am currently working for 2 care.com families here in the valley. Whenever I tell people that I work with parents on the site, most people are surprised that I am able to find work. They tell me that they have never been able to get hired on the site, and that they never get replies to their applications. This blog post is hopefully going to explain why, once and for all, and help some people get hired!
I will go over some misconceptions and solutions.
#1: No one replies to my messages/applications
This is the number one complaint I get from people. Care.com rolled out a "premium" feature for parents and caregivers. They claim that it allows parents to see your profile first, and that you are 3x more likely to get hired. What they don't tell you is that if you don't sign up to be a premium member, often times you can't receive any messages or replies from families for applications that you have sent out. This is INCREDIBLY frustrating and also RIDICULOUS. It all depends on the site. I haven't quite figured out what it is the triggers the system because I have been able to receive replies off and on (so I continue to send out messages to parents occasionally). It's just bad business, and makes it hard to get work. Also, reviews are everything. Parents don't want to hire someone with 2 years of experience and no reviews. It just isn't going to happen.
#2: Parents are only looking for 1 or 2 days a week
Unless this is something that you are looking for, it can be really annoying to try and get hired for substantial work. A lot of parents only need 1 or 2 days a week and consider that part time. That isn't part time in my book, and it isn't going to pay the bills. Unless you can line up several different families with those hours, it won't be very worth it. I have started posting ONLY FULL TIME (or hours I am looking for) on my profile, so that I don't have low ballers contacting me for crappy hours. The nice thing is that there is a calendar on everyone's profile where they can post the hours they are available. This makes scheduling very easy.
#3: Overbearing/Helicopter parents
There are several different types of parents. The laid back parents, the do what you want parents, no TV parents, TV anytime parents, nerdy Harry Potter/LOTR parents (my favorite), LGBTQ parents, and religious parents. Then, there are the helicopter parents. When you agree to watch a child whose parents work from home, you need to make sure that you are comfortable with the situation. I have had only 2 bad experiences with parents who work from home and were completely neurotic, and wouldn't leave me alone with the kid for more than an hour without checking on us. I realize that this is part of the culture (of both of the families). This is the thing: If a parent has hired you, they need to trust you unless there is something that you have done to betray that trust. I will NOT work for parents who don't trust me with their child. It is a slap in the face and makes my job uncomfortable and hard. It's also just annoying. You are your only advocate when it comes to self employed nannying/babysitting. You don't have an HR department or someone you can air your grievances to. I have ended relationships with a family because of this type of behavior, and it truly was for the best.
Some other helpful tips I could suggest is making one of the 30 second intro video which apparently is supposed to help you get hired more quickly. Also, making sure to reply to messages by the end of the day is very important. It can mean all of the difference between getting a job and not getting a job. Reviews are a requirement for me, no matter how I met the parents. Like I said, reviews are everything!
I really hope that this is a helpful post. If you have any comments or questions, please reply below! I respond to every comment posted.