The interview process to find a nanny, or a job as a nanny can be stressful! A lot of caregivers go into an interview expecting to answer most of the questions, but it is very important to ask the parents questions as well! Nanny interviews are really two-sided interviews, unlike most other jobs. I know as a caregiver, that it can be hard to think of quality questions to ask a family that you are interested in working with, and vice-versa.
I am not a parent, but I have worked with many different families in many different settings. The family I work with now is so amazing, and I would stay forever if I wasn’t moving away! Since I am close with this family I offered to be as involved in the hiring process for a new nanny as they wanted me to be. I have been giving tips about what to ask and expect, as well as doing interviews of my own for them! Here are a few questions to ask:
- How long have you been in childcare (or working with children)? – This one is pretty basic, but experience matters! Also ask about how long they were at different jobs and what they liked and didn’t like about jobs (this will give you a look into what they are expecting).
- What are some things you would do with the child(ren)? – A really good nanny will want to do other things than just play with their toys, for example I love crafting, playing games, being outside etc.
- How much are you wanting to make an hour (or weekly)? – This is important, and again pretty basic. Some caregivers charge more, but if they have the experience and education they are probably worth it! I know that I charge more than someone with less experience and no degree, but I also know what my time and care are worth! Also don’t expect a nanny to be as inexpensive as a childcare center. If it’s for a full-time position this is probably your nanny’s only job and only income, so keep that in mind.
- How do you plan to discipline the child(ren)? – It’s important to know this! If you have a particular way of doing things you can ask them to do the same thing for consistency, which children thrive from!
- Are you willing to do any babysitting for date nights? – This isn’t a huge one, but don’t just assume your nanny will want to babysit for date nights too!
- What do you expect as far as time off? -or- How much time off do you expect you’ll need around holidays? – This is important! Knowing in advance if your nanny usually travels for Christmas etc. will help you plan ahead and not be surprised when they ask for the time off.
A few more things to think about ahead of the interview:
- Make sure your expectations are clear! Don’t leave things up for interpretation, because every family and caregiver are different! What I mean by this is if you don’t want your nanny to let the children watch movies, tell them. This goes for your rules for the household as well. Most children try to trick their caregivers by saying “we do it all of the time” or “well Mom lets me do that”. So to avoid this make sure your nanny knows what is not okay for the children to do.
- Decide whether or not you want your children to ride in the care with the nanny. This is something you should give a bit of thought to. I have worked with families that liked me to take the children to do things out of the home, and some that didn’t. If you decide that your children can ride with your caregiver make sure to ask about their driving history, safety of their car (or let them use one of yours), set guidelines of where they can and cannot go, and set a gas and spending money budget. I love when I can take children to public libraries or parks, and so don’t the children!
I have been working with children since I was 13, so I have had great experiences as well as far from great experiences. An interview to become a nanny is just as much for you as it is for the family! It is not one-sided, so you need to make sure to go into the interview with questions to ask. This is important because you need to make sure the family is a good fit for you, because you will be much happier! TRUST ME, I’ve worked with families that weren’t a good fit and I was MISERABLE! Here are some questions for going into an interview:
- What does a typical day look like for your children? – It is important to know what the children do on a daily basis!
- What would a typical day look like for me/ What would my daily schedule be? – It’s really good to know your schedule and what your daily responsibilities will be.
- What job expectations do you have for me other than caring for the child(ren)? – I can almost guarantee that you will have other responsibilities. For example, at my current job I wash any dishes I use during the day for myself or the children, fold the children’s laundry, and clean up the play room at the end of the day.
- Is it okay for me to bring your children places? – Add on to this question with exact places you’d like to bring them. I love to take children to public libraries, parks and sometimes out to lunch. Make sure to know what is close to their house, so do a little research ahead of the interview!
- What are some of your child(ren)’s likes and dislikes? – This can be pertaining to food, toys and activities.
- What do you want me to do if I am feeling sick? -or- What is your idea about sick days? – In most cases if you are too sick to work, a family can make other arrangements because they don’t want you around their kids if you have a fever, etc. Also make sure that you don’t call twenty minutes before you’re supposed to be at work to cancel. I like to let the parents know the night before if I am starting to not feel well, this gives them a heads up that I might need a sick day!
- Will there be any paid holidays or time off? – Having paid holidays is seriously one of the BEST things you can request! Chances are that they have paid holidays and would be willing to do the same for you. I never thought about this until the current family I work with offered them!
A good tip that I have is to be confident! Parents will love if you can tell them what you like to do as a caregiver, and it helps if you refer to things benefiting their children! For example, I would say “I love to do open-ended art activities because it’s really beneficial for children to be creative!”. I like to incorporate my past experiences with being a nanny, working in childcare and things I learned while getting my degree. This helps parents see how you may handle situations with their children, and it lets them get a look into your experience!
I hope some of this is helpful, and would love to answer any questions you may have!