Even though searching for a great nanny seems like a real nightmare, knowing exactly what to ask the candidates makes things a lot easier. Sadly, not many parents ask the right nanny interview questions and they end up clueless about who to hire.
When trying to find the best nanny for your little ray of sunshine, you would like to know every little detail about her. After all, you’re entrusting your child to this person’s care and there is no room for mistakes.
Well, the good news is that I’ve been through this process and you’re about to get a real wisdom bomb.
First of all, I’m here to share all the crucial tips that will lead you towards your perfect match.
More importantly, I’ve gathered all the nanny interview questions to cover all the significant aspects. Trust me, after this, you’re good to go!
The Phone Interview
When you put up an ad that you’re looking for a caregiver, you’ll be flooded with job applications. Naturally, you don’t have the time or energy to schedule an in-person interview with each applicant.
This is why you should start with a phone interview where you should introduce yourself and tell the potential nanny some basic information about your family.
First and foremost, she should be familiar with the number of children she is expected to take care of, how old they are, and whether or not they have special needs or medical conditions.
Also, the nanny candidate will be interested in a job description. What are the working hours? Is the salary negotiable? When is the start date? Is there a trial run?
This phone conversation shouldn’t last for too long. You can ask the applicant some simple nanny interview questions but don’t go into too many details.
Remember: The purpose of this conversation is for both parties to decide whether there is a need for an in-person interview to discuss everything further.
Whatever your impression of the nanny candidate, make sure you get back to her with your decision.
You can either invite her for a face-to-face interview or you can tell her that you’ve decided to hire someone else. Either way, it’s unprofessional to leave someone hanging and waiting for your response.
A Nanny Contract
When hiring a new nanny, the most practical way to handle all the technicalities is by signing a nanny contract.
It should clearly outline the rights and duties of both parties, which will save you from any potential problems in the future.
The contract should include salary, working hours, nanny’s role and obligations, and other things such as paid vacation or clauses related to any possible raises.
Besides avoiding potential problems, this is the only legal way to hire any employee, since you’ll be paying taxes for the nanny’s wages.
Nanny Interview Questions Not To Ask
As interested as you might be in the individuals applying for the nanny position, remember to respect each candidate’s privacy and feelings.
Whether you like it or not, there are some nanny interview questions that are off the table.
It’s not acceptable to ask the potential caregiver about their sexual orientation, private life (marriage status, children, etc), and age.
Some of these questions are pretty much illegal (since you’re not allowed to discriminate against people) and others are just impolite.
Getting Started With The Nanny Interview Questions
Here are some sample questions to help break the ice. Start with an open-ended question to give the potential child care provider a chance to talk about herself, without you asking her anything specific.
1. Tell us something about yourself.
2. Why did you apply for this nanny position?
3. Why did you decide to become a nanny?
Previous Work Experience
Naturally, one of the things you’re concerned about is the nanny’s previous experience. You want to know whether she has any childcare experience and if the answer is yes, what did it teach her?
Before the interview, it’s a good idea to run a detailed background check. If you’re hiring through an agency, there is probably no need to worry.
Each agency has high standards and requires high qualifications. Besides, they always run background checks and they guarantee that the caregiver has a good record.
However, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to check your potential employee’s references yourself. Naturally, you won’t be going through this entire process for every application you get.
Once you narrow down your options, it’s time to conduct an investigation. Don’t only rely on the nanny’s letters of recommendation, as they could be false.
Instead, run a check yourself. Don’t hesitate to contact her previous employers and ask them anything you want to know.
Even though you have completed a background check, it is important to hear about your nanny candidate’s previous experience from her directly.
1. Do you have any other work experience besides being a caregiver?
2. Do you see this as a temporary job or as a career?
3. How long do you plan on staying with the family?
4. How many months/years of childcare experience do you have?
5. Why did you leave your last job?
6. When did you stop working?
7. What were you doing in between jobs?
8. If you could choose, would you prefer working in a daycare or as a babysitter?
9. Could you imagine yourself working in a daycare with more children?
10. What do you like most about being a nanny?
11. Do you have any experience in introducing solid food to a baby?
12. Do you have any experience in potty training?
13. What kind of relationship did you have with your last family?
14. What didn’t you like about your previous job?
15. What did you like most about your previous jobs?
16. Which age groups do you have experience with?
17. Do you have any experience with introducing a bottle to a breastfed baby?
18. Do you have any experience with children with special needs? If not, would you be prepared to work with a special needs child?
19. Do you have any experience with children who have medical conditions? If so, what are those conditions? If not, are you prepared to undergo some extra training?
20. Do you have any experience with children who follow a specific diet or have allergies?
21. Do you have any life experience with caregiving?
22. So far, what has been the most challenging situation you have faced as a nanny? How did you deal with it?
23. How old were you when you first started caregiving?
24. Do you have any experience in families with co-parenting dynamics?
25. Do you have any experience with babysitting more than one child at a time?
26. What do you miss most about your previous family?
27. What was the work style in your previous family?
28. Describe a typical day in your previous job.
Education And Training
Experience and references are not enough. Instead, you expect your new nanny to at least have some formal education.
After all, your child is going to learn a lot from this person. She is not there just to change their diapers and feed them – their time spent together should be useful and favorable for your child’s development as well.
Some nannies are fluent in more than one language or have a special skill your child could benefit from. Even though teaching your kid these things is not the babysitter’s primary role – it is definitely a plus.
However, this is not the only reason why her education matters. What is even more important is the training every nanny should pass.
Most agencies make it mandatory for all of their employees to pass CPR or first aid training. It would be a good idea to check for these certificates. This is crucial for your child’s safety, so please don’t overlook it.
If your candidate doesn’t have this certificate but you feel she would be a perfect match for your family, make it mandatory for her to get those qualifications.
1. Do you know how to provide first aid? If not, would you go for first aid training?
2. Do you inform and educate yourself on child development? What is your favorite child development literature?
3. What’s your education level?
4. Are you done with your education or do you plan to raise your education level?
5. Do you speak a foreign language? If so, would you be willing to share your knowledge with the child/children?
6. Do you have a special skill? What is it?
Just as every parent has a preferred style of raising a child, so do nannies. In this section, you’ll see whether or not your styles are compatible and if you and your candidate have similar worldviews about upbringing.
Remember one thing: There are no right or wrong answers here since you’re asking for the candidate’s opinion. However, if you want to avoid any future issues, it would be good for you to agree on some crucial matters.
1. What is your preferable parenting style?
2. What would you do if you got a job with a family who has a parenting style you don’t like?
3. What do you consider to be the best strategy for parenting a strong-willed child?
4. How would you feel about taking care of a pet?
5. How would you feel about taking a child outside of the home (i.e. to playdates)?
6. What would you do to comfort a crying baby?
7. How would you feel about working with a family whose religious practices significantly differ from yours?
8. How would you get a child to eat when they refuse?
9. What is your favorite age of a child? Why?
10. What kinds of rainy day activities would you usually do with a child of this age group?
11. Can you name three kinds of activities you find suitable for a child of this age?
12. Would you be comfortable helping children with homework and other school activities? Do you see yourself as capable and educated enough to do this?
13. Would you be comfortable doing some light housework, besides taking care of the child/ children?
14. Would you be comfortable cooking for the child/children?
15. How would you form a balanced diet for a child of this age group?
16. What kind of punishments for kids do you consider to be the most effective?
17. Old versus modern parenting, which one do you prefer and why?
18. How would you feel about going on vacation and traveling with the family?
19. How do you feel about Montessori parenting?
20. Have you ever experienced an emergency situation with the child you were babysitting? What was it? How did you handle it?
21. What do you think about children using TV, mobile phones, tablets, and other electronics?
22. Would you be able to spend the night with the child, if necessary?
Getting To Know The Potential Nanny
Even though you’re advised against asking overly personal nanny interview questions, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t put any effort into getting to know each candidate.
Here are some sample questions that will help you make a decision. Most of them are pretty informal but will assist in uncovering more than you might expect.
1. What three qualities do you think every good nanny should have?
2. What is the most difficult part of being a nanny?
3. How big do you think a nanny’s role is in a child’s life?
4. Why do you see yourself as the best nanny candidate for our family?
5. How do you usually spend your free time?
6. What are your deal-breakers when it comes to babysitting? What are the things you wouldn’t do?
7. What is the most interesting thing about you?
8. Do you play any musical instruments?
9. Do you play any sports?
10. What is the thing that could make you stop being a nanny forever?
11. Do you have a driver’s license? Are you an active driver? Do you have your car?
These sample questions serve to check whether your potential nanny is sharp-witted. Put her in some hypothetical situations and don’t give her too much time to think.
This will help you assess how well she handles stress and potentially dangerous situations, which is crucial when taking care of a child.
1. How would you handle a situation where a toddler refuses to go to sleep, even though you know it’s bedtime?
2. How would you handle and reduce sibling jealousy?
3. How would you react to a child throwing a temper tantrum in public?
4. How would you react to a child who refuses to turn off the TV?
5. How would you handle a baby crying in their sleep?
6. How would you respond to a child’s tricky question? (i.e. What would you say to a toddler who asks you how kids come into this world?)
7. What would you do in a situation where co-parents have different parenting styles?
8. How would you explain the importance of politeness and good manners to a toddler?
9. What would you do in a situation where a child is drowning?
10. How would you react to a child cursing, calling other children names, or even hitting them?
11. How would you handle a situation in which a child is annoying you?
End Of The Interview
As you’re approaching the end of the interview, it’s important to go back to some of the technical stuff from the beginning.
This is the part where the candidate gets the opportunity to speak her mind about this job position and to get the answers she wants.
1. Would you be prepared to do a trial run?
2. Do you have a flexible schedule?
3. What are your salary expectations?
4. Why do you see yourself as the perfect nanny for our family?
5. Do you have any additional questions?
6. What is the thing you like most about this position?
7. What is the thing you don’t like about this position?
To Wrap Up
There is no doubt that these nanny interview questions will help you find the perfect fit.
However, don’t forget that you’re not the only one making this important decision – your little ray of sunshine has to “click” with the new nanny, as well.
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