Thu, 10/01/2009 - 11:40

As a foreigner finding myself in Sofia with my wife and two small children, I wanted to share with your readers some of the joys of looking for a home-help/nanny.

We decided after some searching to use a recruiting agency specialising in nannies, and found one which had an English language web page. After an initial meeting with the lady who runs the agency, we signed a contract to the following effect – the agency would first send us a dozen CVs from which we should choose five or six applicants to interview; then a one-month trial period with the selected applicant would validate our choice; then in case we didn't find the right person on the first round or were unsatisfied about the trial period, the agency contractually promised to reorganise up to two more rounds of interviews. A fee of 600 leva was to be paid, half on signing the contract, the other half after we found the right applicant. As it turned out, when we arrived at the agency for the first interviews, only one from the six we'd selected was there, along with another of whom we knew nothing. That one inspired us enough, however, to give her a try, but after a week she decided to leave without forewarning. Meanwhile, the agency had cashed the second half of its fee. So we got back in touch, explaining the situation and asking for a new, preferably better organised, second round of interviews. But the answer, in a few words, came as a surprise: "Not our problem anymore." Truth is, after such lousy work, we hardly wanted to use the services of this agency again. But when I found out that not only had we been charged for (close to) nothing, but that the nanny whom we'd taken for a trial also had to pay a fee to the agency, I decided to warn the world against this incompetent and disreputable agency. I advise the woman running it to get into Black Sea real estate – she has the right attitude to thrive there. As for anybody searching for a nanny: stay away! We did in the end find somebody through mutual acquaintances, which is probably a safer (if slower) way to go about recruiting in Sofia.

Gilbert Barillé

Issue 37

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