Wooing the Perfect Sitter

Beyond these basics, it's also a good idea to add a dash of your personality. Here's a good sample posting:

We are looking for a babysitter to work Monday through Friday from 4 to 6pm in Your Town, USA. Must be very organized and have an upbeat attitude, high energy, a good sense of humor and a strong love of pizza. Our three very active boys are ages 6,4 and 1. Please have two excellent references, at least two years' experience working in a paid childcare position, your own transportation to our home, and an excellent driving record. We would also prefer that you are a nonsmoker and speak fluent English. We have two dogs. Our kids have no allergies. This is a summer-only position. Light housework is included, and our rate is $12 an hour. If interested, please contact Brenda at 888-555-5555 between 9 and 5 on weekdays, or email brenda@youremailaddress.com.

Screen Smart
Think of interviewing as a way not only for you to get to know your sitter, but also for her to learn about your family and how you run and organize your household. Before speaking with references '- who may be in touch with and report back to the sitter '- it's a good idea to plan and have a list of questions prepared. The same applies to the interview '- you only have one chance to impress a potential sitter, so use that time wisely. Put yourself in a sitter's shoes: When deciding between potential jobs, it's likely you'd rather work for an organized, friendly family than a scatter-brained one.

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