Before offering a nanny the job, it is never a bad idea to ask your top two candidates (separately) to do a trial day. It is up to your discretion as to whether you would like to conduct this as a full or half-day. It is standard for you to pay each nanny you invite on a trial day.
You may want to start the trial day off by giving the nanny a tour of your home and pointing out where you keep all of your homecare and childcare essentials. There is no need to go into full-depth, as you and possibly your current nanny (if this is feasible) will be with the candidate for the entire trial.
If your child(ren) will be at nursery or school for most of the day, invite the nanny to arrive at your home an hour or so before you need to pick up the children. This will ensure you have some time to sit down over a cup of tea and truly get to know the nanny. Many parents feel that the right nanny is not only someone who is highly experienced and your children adore, but also someone with whom you can enjoy sitting down for the occasional chat.
Take the candidate through the full routine. How does the nanny do? Is (s)he very hands on and seem like a natural, or does (s)he defer too much to you? Does the nanny seem to take a creative and warm approach to your children? Now that your children are in the midst of their daily routines, do they still respond well to the nanny? Does the nanny ask intelligent and useful questions about the children and their daily routines? Don’t forget, a candidate may be a bit nervous, especially if (s)he truly wants the position you are offering. Regardless of whether they are nervous or not, a good nanny will always show initiative and demonstrate common sense.
It is also normal for your children to turn to you as the authority figure, even though you may put the nanny-on-trial in charge. This is not necessarily a bad thing and happens with most children until they get used to authority figures. If they immediately take to the candidate, then that’s an even better sign. Your parental instincts will help you make the right assessment of the nanny job trial day.