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How to Interview Your Future Nanny

We know that this might be your first time hiring a nanny (or anyone for that matter). We oftentimes have parents ask us how they can properly prepare to interview nannies, what they should look for, etc. So today we are bringing you a step-by-step guide on how to interview a nanny! SEVERAL question ideas are included in this email, however you do not need to ask them all. In fact, that would be way too many. Pick out the questions that are most important to you or that apply to you in each section. A few questions per section would be plenty. These are simply to give you ideas.

Step 1: Introduce yourself & your family.

A great way to start the interview is to simply introduce yourself and your family to the nanny. Briefly explain the details of the job, what it entails, and what you're looking for in a nanny. The nanny will already be aware of most of this based on the job description, however it doesn't hurt to remind them and reinstate what is important to you. This would be a great time to be upfront about any unique requirements your family has, such as religious, cultural, dietary, or special needs.

Step 2: Icebreaker Questions

After introducing yourself, it's time to start asking questions! Begin with a few questions to break the ice. It's smart to start with an open-ended question that allows the nanny to share about themself without being asked something specific. Here are some good icebreakers-

1. Tell us about yourself.

2. Why did you apply for this nanny position?

3. How long have you been a nanny and why did you decide to become a nanny?

4. What do you like about being a nanny?

Step 3: Previous Work Experience

All of our nannies are background checked and meet our high standards and qualifications, so you can rest assured knowing that you are speaking with someone who has a good record. However, it is still very helpful for you to hear about her previous experience directly. This will give you plenty of insight into the type of nanny they are, how they might work with your family, etc. Some great questions to ask include-

1. Do you have any other work experience besides being a caregiver?

2. Tell me about each of your previous nanny or childcare jobs.

3. Do you see this as a temporary job or as a career?

4. How long do you plan on staying with us?

5. How many months/years of childcare experience do you have?

6. Why did you leave your last job?

7. What didn’t you like about your previous job?

​8. What did you like most about your previous jobs?

9. Which age groups do you have experience with?

10. Do you have any experience with introducing a bottle to a breastfed baby?

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. Do you have any experience with children with special needs? If not, would you be prepared to work with a special needs child?

15. 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?

16. Do you have any experience with children who follow a specific diet or have allergies?

17. So far, what has been the most challenging situation you have faced as a nanny? How did you deal with it?

18. Do you have any experience in families with co-parenting dynamics?

19. Do you have any experience with babysitting more than one child at a time?

20. What do you miss most about your previous family?

21. What was the work style in your previous family?

22. Describe a typical day in your previous job.

Step 4: Education & Training

Next you will want to ask the nanny about their education and training! All of our nannies are CPR & First Aid certified. Any education, training, or certifications outside of this are not required (except for specialist jobs such as Newborn Care Specialists) however it may be something that's important to you and if so feel free to ask about it! Many of our nannies have certifications/education in child development, Montessori, or have special skills they can teach your children like a foreign language. Below are sample questions to ask-

1. Do you inform and educate yourself on child development? 

2. What’s your education level?

3. Do you plan to further your education?

4. Do you have any special trainings or certificates that have to do with caring for children?

4. Do you speak a foreign language? If so, would you be willing to share your knowledge with the child/children?

5. Do you have a special skill? What is it?

Step 5: Nanny Style

This is a very important topic to cover! Just like you have a parenting style, each nanny has their own nanny style. You will definitely want to get a good idea of what that is in order to see if they will be a good fit for your family. We have a plethora of sample questions below, but again choose the ones that apply to you and even feel free to change the questions to better suit you.

1. What is your preferable parenting/discipline style?

2. What would you do if you started a job with a family who has a parenting style you don’t agree with?

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. What would three kinds of activities be that 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. How would you feel about going on vacation and traveling with us?

18. How do you feel about Montessori parenting?

19. Have you ever experienced an emergency situation with the child you were babysitting? What was it? How did you handle it?

20. What do you think about children using TV, mobile phones, tablets, and other electronics?

21. Would you be able to spend the night with the child, if necessary?

Step 6: Get to Know the Nanny Better

This is the part of the interview where you can ask the nanny a little more about themself to get to know them better. This makes a nanny feel very cared for and valued!

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 are you passionate about?

11. What are your core values?

Step 7: Hypothetical Questions

In this section you will ask the nanny some hypothetical questions to see how she would react in different situations that may come up. This makes the nanny think. They may not have an answer immediately, however it gives quality insight into how they will handle different situations with your children. Answers to these questions can be quite telling as to the type of nanny they will be.

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?

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?

Step 8: End of the Interview

When you are getting to the end of the interview, you will want to wrap up with some technical questions and allow the nanny to share their thoughts about the position and ask you any questions that they may have.

1. Would you be prepared to do a trial run?

2. Do you have a flexible schedule?

3. What are your salary expectations? (Your proposed salary/wage will have already been shared with the nanny and she will only be interviewing if she is content with it, however you are still welcome to discuss any details regarding pay if you would like. If you would prefer the agency to discuss, we are happy to do so.)

4. Why do you see yourself as the perfect nanny for our family?

5. What is the thing you like most about this position?

6. What is the thing you don’t like about this position?

7. Do you have any questions?

What to Look For

Now that we have discussed how the interview will run and what questions to ask, it is important to know what to look for during your interview and signs that this nanny might be the right fit for your family. There are five main things to look for during your interview.

1. Were they on time? 5 minutes early is best. If a nanny cannot be on time to an interview, that's not a good sign for going forward.

2. Were they easy to communicate with leading up to the interview? 

3. Did they make a good first impression? Did they greet you well, have a friendly demeanor, etc?

4. What did they communicate non-verbally during the interview? Did they listen to you, make eye contact, and stay engaged?

5. How does the nanny interact with your child or children? This is more important than anything else! A nanny might answer all your questions perfectly, however seeing them interact with your children means more than anything. This might happen before or after the interview, or during your trial run. 

The Three Cs: Culture, Competence, & Chemistry

We want to end with the 3 Cs. Culture, Competence, and Chemistry. When choosing which nanny to hire you will want to think through these three things.

1. How will they affect the culture of your home and family? Do they have a peaceful presence or would they add stress to your home? Do they bring a positive outlook into your home or are they negative? A nanny will either have a positive or negative impact on the culture in your home, so hire wisely.

2. Are they competent in taking care of your children and doing what you expect of them?

3. What is the chemistry like between you and the nanny and your children and the nanny? Would you like having them around and working with them? Would your children benefit from his or her presence in their lives?

We hope that this information has prepared you to properly interview and hire nannies by covering specific topics, asking the right questions, looking for certain verbal and non-verbal cues, and using the three Cs as you make your hiring decision. We are here to help in any way that you need. Happy interviewing!!!

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