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  • catherinejdietrich

How Does a Nanny Trial Work?

Hiring a nanny to work (and sometimes even live) with your family is a big commitment. A trial gives you a chance to “test the waters” and see how you feel about having the selected candidate working in your home - how you get along with her, how she interacts with your children, and whether you want to make the arrangement permanent. We always recommend to our clients to do a trial session (or a couple of trials with a couple of different candidates) before making an offer.

So how does this work?

Duration and logistics

When we arrange a trial for a client, it usually lasts a few hours, one, two days or - in special cases - a maximum of a week. If a trial is less than one hour, it is considered simply a second interview. However, if the trial is planned to be longer than one hour, the candidate then needs to be paid for the hours he/she is working. (The market rate here in Switzerland is between CHF 24 and CHF 26 net per hour).

If the trail lasts a week, it can be calculated based on the gross monthly salary offer.

Welcome and introduction

Giving the candidate a few minutes of conversation at the beginning is a nice way to make them feel welcome. Remember that she may need some minutes to prepare herself to start work, and let her know where she can leave her shoes and belongings.

Start the trial by introducing her to the child/ren she will be caring for, explain to the child (even if you have already) the reason for the candidate's presence, and put everybody at ease. If your child is open to the candidate, it will give you a better idea of how they will interact together more quickly.

Next, share information about your home, where she can find what she will need to do her job, and - depending on how long the trial will be - information about your child's schedule, food to prepare, and anything else relevant you can think of.

Be close but give some space

Try not to make the candidate uncomfortable or more nervous than she already is. You’ll want to be close enough and available to answer any questions or explain different parts of the schedule or expectations as the day progresses, but not so close as to interfere or be on top of her. You want to see how she would cope if you weren't there.

At some point in the day, you may want to have the candidate be on her own with the children. Give her specific tasks and instructions about what you need:

“Today I need you to help me with…” Even if it’s something as small as taking the children outside to play, this allows both the children and the nanny to relax and start to get to know each other.

If you need the nanny to help with light household tasks as part of her regular nanny job duties, it is recommended that you focus the trial on childcare as this is the more complex part of the job.

Identify what is important to you and test that

If there is something you are anxious about, or an aspect of her job that is most important to you, let that be the area of focus for the trial. For example, if you are concerned about she will to prepare and give the bottle, have her do this. If you are concerned about driving the children to school or their their activities, have your nanny take the driver's seat and do the school run with you.

Make a short list of these focus areas and structure your trial around these.


If possible, schedule some quiet time at the end of the trial (away from the children) to talk with the candidate about how she felt the day went. She may have specific questions or concerns she wishes to address with you, and even if you thought everything went great, you’ll want to make sure she felt the same way.

When the trial day has come to an end, make sure to pay the candidate and thank her for coming.


Once the candidate has gone, give yourself some time to reflect and look back through the notes you made. Even if the candidate didn’t do everything perfectly on the trial day, this should not automatically disqualify her from the position. Some things come more naturally as she gets to know your children, the house, your routines and preferences, and becomes more comfortable with your family.

Most of all, listen to your gut. If the candidate looks great on paper and interacted well with you, the children and other members of the family or performed great housekeeping tasks but there’s still something not quite right you can’t put your finger on, it may be better to keep looking.

Reach out to Good People

It is important to us to find you the perfect person for your family and your home. We are happy to coordinate the trial period for you and assist with feedback if this is something you need.

Good People is a domestic staffing agency specialising in introducing high quality household assistance. We provide a simple, fast and professional service to recruit trained and vetted staff who match your family values. To discuss what we can do for you, or to join the Good People Club, get in touch.

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