So you’ve finally taken the dive and decided to have a nanny be a part of your child’s life. One of the most important aspects in securing a successful nanny is the dynamic between the nanny and your family.
The initial interview you hold with the candidate is massively important. With a good interview you can gain a strong understanding of not only the nanny’s abilities, but also of their philosophy and characteristics, which will have a significant influence in your home. To guide you through the interview, we have prepared some sample questions and tips for you to help make the best interview process possible.
When interviewing prospective nannies, be sure to try and make them feel as comfortable as possible from the start of the interview. Perhaps offer them a drink or glass of water, showing a certain level of warmth your family holds. By doing this, you allow the nanny to be in a relaxed state, which will inevitably allow their “true colors (both good and bad)” to shine through from the get-go.
Questions to Ask the Nanny
1. Start with confirming the requirements of the job. Make sure she is available for the hours you need. If you need someone who drives, make sure he/she can. Other areas to consider are his/her level of comfort with meal preparation, active involvement such as swimming or playing sports, homework assistance, etc.)
2. Make a point of listening to how she speaks. Can you hear her or is she so soft spoken you have to struggle to make out what she’s saying? Does she speak English well enough that you can understand her? How is her grammar, her manners? Remember, this person is going to have a huge impact on your child’s development, not to mention you will want to ensure she’s able to capable of understanding what your needs are (she may even need to administer medicine, occasionally, etc.)
3. Ask what experience he/she has in caring for children? If you are looking for someone with specific childcare experience, such as newborn care, make sure he/she has worked with babies.
4. How long do you think you would be willing to stay in this position? When can you start? What do you plan to do when this contract is completed? If a long term commitment is what you’re after, make sure they aren’t leaving for college in 6 months. Does he/she have any prior commitments that will not allow her to work during that time?
5. What kinds of activities would you do with a (insert ages of your child(ren)) year old?
6. Can you give me some examples of problems you have had with kids and how you handled them?
7. What would you say is your discipline style? Can you give me some examples of when you would need to use discipline with a (insert age) year old child?
8. What do you consider to be your most important responsibility as a nanny?
9. At what point would you call a pediatrician or 911? Have you ever had to handle an emergency? How did you handle it?
10. Do you have any health-related problems that would prevent you from doing this job?
11. Are you open to cooking? light housekeeping? driving? swimming? Occasional overnight stays and travel? Can you work occasional weekends? etc.
12. (If driving is required) Do you have a clean driving record?
13. Will you be able to adjust your schedule if we need to go out of town or stay late at work from time to time? [Note: Make sure she knows that this would be overtime and she would be compensated with additional pay].
14. What is the longest position you have had with one family as their nanny?
15. Are you currently employed? If yes, Why are you seeking a new opportunity?
16. What was your last childcare experience? Why did it end? What were the ages of the children you cared for?
17. What do you think a typical day is like with a (insert the age of your child i.e., infant, toddler, 5 year old, 10 year old.)?
18. How do you feel about furthering your training by attending child development classes or seminars?
Considering a Live-in Nanny?
If you’re thinking about having your nanny be live-in, some additional questions will probably give some important insights into your candidate. When interviewing for a live-in nanny position, be sure to outline your household rules, so the nanny can determine if he/she is comfortable with them.
1. Why are you looking to be a live-in nanny? Have you ever been a live-in in the past?
2. Do you have any worries or apprehensions about living with a family? What are they? It’s best to get these out in the open now so you can try to alleviate them.
3. Are you looking for a 5 day or 7 day live-in opportunity?
4. Did you run into any problems with your last live-in arrangement? What were they?
Some Last Tips
• Depending on your “wish list” of requirements, you may find that it is difficult to find a nanny who is open and/or experienced in all areas of your liking, and sometimes that’s OK. Afterall, nobody is perfect. In such cases, try to focus on what is most important to you (the “must haves”) in having a nanny, and allow that to help guide you in making a decision.
• It’s absolutely important that the nanny connects not only with your child, but with everyone in the household. If you find someone you feel could be a great potential fit for your family, offer them a trial period of at least one week, prior to offering them the position. ALWAYS do a trial period as this is time time for all parties involved to determine if they feel good about the opportunity.
Hiring a nanny can often feel overwhelming. The most important thing to remember is to never rush into hiring someone for any reason. When in doubt, always trust your gut! Taking your time to do things right in the beginning can (and almost always will) eliminate potential issues which may arise down the road as a result of hiring someone too quickly. Remember, this is a nanny for your child – it’s likely one of the most important decisions you’ll ever have to make.