After researching childcare options and making the decision that you want to hire a nanny, next comes the interviewing process! Each and every interview is different, however, it is extremely important to have a set of questions that will help both you and the candidate understand each others’ motivations and the day to day environment. The interview should be thorough and show the nanny’s experience and how he or she would react in different scenarios. While selecting the right candidate can be hard, trust your gut. It will also help to have a consistent evaluation among candidates to reveal their comparison to other candidates after the interview. A Scorecard can help with this.
Please note that great candidates will want to feel like they have an important and inclusive role in the family and mutual respect from the parents and guardians. The interview should be considered a two-way approach that also allows the candidate to interview the family and ask questions to make him/her feel comfortable about the position. For candidates, see Interviewing Families.
Sometimes, the first nanny interviewed is perfect. Other times, the perfect candidate emerges only after the 20th interview. Don’t give up. Your ideal candidate is out there and it is worth the wait for a mutual fit. Although interviewing candidates may be a lengthy and tedious process, it is well worth it when you find the perfect nanny for your children and family! This is why nanny interview questions are key.
All candidates should be interviewed in the home with the children present, unless there are situational reasons why this wouldn’t work. Interviewing candidates in the home allows you to see how the candidates interact with the children and also gives the candidate a perspective on what it would be like to come to your home for work.
The structure of your interview is entirely up to you. However, by starting with a discussion about the position, your family, and your viewpoints, you allow candidates to react and interact with this information, warming up and opening up. As the interview progresses, this can lead the way to more specific nanny questions about your childcare needs and their skillset.
Opening the interview
Introduce your family and reason for hiring a nanny
Describe the position
Duties and responsibilities
Schedules of children (practices/playdates/ etc.)
Medical issues regarding children
Time off and vacation
Describe any key, high-level aspects you would like in a childcare provider, such as long-term relationship development, or supplemental education, etc…
Candidates Background and Role
What is your background? Where did you grow up? Leaving this question open-ended is OK. This allows you to learn more about what is important from the candidate’s perspective and what they want to convey to you. Feel free to dig in on anything you feel you want to ask about as they are describing their background.
Why did you become a nanny? This question is a great way to learn what this candidate wants out the job. Look for answers that involve passion about child development, the desire to teach and grow younger children, or be a guiding factor in the child’s life.
What are you looking for in a job? Describe your ideal employer? This question can be used to learn the likes and dislikes of the nanny when it comes to their employers. Look for answers that show passion for the job and children in general. Also, make sure their ideals align with your own including long-term or short-term, their role in the family, etc… This helps align expectations and strengthen the relationship between the nanny and the employer.
What is your favorite and least favorite part about being a nanny? What types of children or ages does the nanny prefer? What do they expect from an employer?
What kind of flexibility do you have in scheduling? This question will help you learn more about the candidates current situation and any obligations they may have outside of work, including family obligations.
What do you believe to be the best qualities of a nanny who excels? Look for words such as enthusiastic, loving, careful, considerate, forward thinking, creative, and many more.
What do you do in your free time and what are you involved in outside of work? This is a great question to get to know the nanny more on a personal level and find out what they are interested in outside of work.
What would be considered your specialty when it comes to caring for children? What does the nanny think they do well in? Are they good with young children, teaching language, or acting as a tutor in addition to childcare provider? Or, this question could be more specific to your family and be the reason you hire a specific nanny.
Do you consider nannying a long-term career? Is he or she trying to go back to school or obtain a different job?
How long do you plan to stay in the area, or are you looking to move soon? Would you consider staying with a family for over a year? This question aids in understanding how long your children could have with this particular nanny. Through maintaining a constant nanny, the child will become more trusting and have the ability to grow closer with the nanny. So, look for answers that involve a long-term plan.
What is your highest level of education? Did they study children or psychology? You could also ask about why they chose a certain major or degree.
Tell me about your resume: How long have you been a nanny? What jobs have prepared you the most for this position? Although more years of experience is usually better, listen to how they describe their past jobs and what qualities or tasks are relatable to being a nanny.
What ages of children have you been a nanny for and what age range is your favorite to nanny? Through this question you can find out their most impactful job and which age range they prefer. This should, obviously, align with your own situation and child ages.
What was your last job as a nanny? Why did you leave? Look for honest answers and discussion about the kids growing up, or the family not needing a nanny anymore. If they are hesitant to answer, then ask the following question and probe for more specifics.
What was your least favorite part about your last position? This question helps the employer learn what they are expected of if they hire this nanny and what actions led the nanny to becoming upset or irritated.
What would you change about your last position? This will provide more detail around what may not have been preferable to the candidate in their last position. Given the recency of this experience, this may be foremost on their mind to change in their new position and new search.
Have you taken any childcare classes? Would you be willing to take additional classes to further your knowledge surrounding childcare? How invested is the nanny in the position?
Are you fluent in any other languages? This question can lead into if they could teach your children an additional language.
Do you have any relevant certifications? Is the nanny first aid and CPR certified? If yes, ask when and if they get them renewed regularly.
Do you have any references that can be contacted? The best response: yes! The more contacts and references you can obtain the better you are going to be able to understand the nanny and her past experience. Look for gaps in reference from past families. If you see gaps against their resume, ask why they don’t want you to speak with that family.
Do you have a well-functioning car that would be equipped to drive children around if needed? Is the nanny safe when he or she drives herself? Is the nanny comfortable driving children? If so, this would be a significant reason to hire a nanny if your jobs are very hectic and your kids need driven and dropped off at multiple activities.
How do you plan your day-to-day activities for the week? What activities have you previously arranged for the children you nanny? This question shows how organized and innovative the nanny is. It also shows how they go about planning their tasks and what their process of scheduling is. Listen to the examples and decide whether they fit the style and interests of your children or child.
How do you communicate with your employers throughout the day about the children? Is the candidate good at communication? Look for answers that include multiple ways of discussion and enthusiasm for writing down daily tasks and memorable moments or milestones. This can include structured communication methods as well as unstructured and spontaneous communication. And it probably should include both.
How far away would you be from our home? Would you ever be able to work longer hours or weekends? Could the nanny arrive quickly if called without any notice? If there was an emergency how long would it take the nanny to get to the home? A closer nanny is normally more convenient.
Would you be willing to do light household tasks that are related to the children and their activities? What does the nanny believe the job will encompass? Does he or she understand what the tasks would be?
Would you be willing to watch other children if they are over at the house for a playdate? While some candidates may feel comfortable watching kids that are not their own, others may not. This is very situational and should never make the nanny feel like she’s being taken advantage of by often watching children outside of her own responsibility.
The situational questions and the best answers to them are individual to every family. Discuss them before and decide what you would do and what you feel would be the appropriate action to take if you were in that particular situation or how you have reacted in the past.
How do you feel about the children watching television?
Have you helped potty train? What methods have you used?
Have you helped sleep train? What methods have you used?
How likely are you to take the children on field trips?
Tell me about a time when a child you cared for had become ill or had an accident. What did you do, how did you better the situation?
Tell me about a time when you had several tasks to manage. How did you manage your time and what was the outcome?
Tell me about a time when you had to make a quick decision without obtaining the parents input?
How would you comfort a crying child? What actions would you take?
How do you teach children good manners?
What would you do if a child began to throw a tantrum in a public place?
How would you react if a child said a curse word?
What do you believe should be the nanny’s role in the household?
At the conclusion of the interview, ask the candidate “Why do you want this job?” and then offer and urge the nanny time to ask questions regarding the position or your family! Once questions are done being asked, explain to the nanny what the next steps of the hiring process are—how many more interviews you have and when they will hear back from you!
For additional information, check out the following websites!
Parenting – How to Hire a Nanny and What Not to Do