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The Nanny Job Interview
After determining a short list of nanny candidates whom you would like to interview for your nanny job, let your agencies know. A nanny agency is here to make your life easier, so give them a rundown of your availability for the upcoming week and let them schedule the interviews. They will come back to you with a final interview schedule and you will be on your way!
Try to set a friendly and open tone at your interviews - with good nanny candidates it will feel like a conversation.
We highly recommend that you conduct first round nanny job interviews without your children present. Initially, it is important for you to learn all you can about the nanny before introducing him/her to your children. If you still like a nanny after the first interview, then you can schedule a second meeting in which (s)he can meet your children.
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Sample Nanny Job Interview Questions & Topics:
1) Ask about the nanny’s family background – get a sense of who this nanny is. Does the nanny have a good relationship with his/her parents?
2) Why did you choose to become a nanny and take your first nanny job?
3) Tell me a bit about the childcare qualification you hold – how long was the course? What subject areas did it cover? Did you find it valuable? Why or why not?
4) How did you find your first nanny job? What did you enjoy most about it? Look to see whether the nanny has a negative attitude about the position or if she can speak positively about it. Regardless of whether (s)he had a negative professional experience, a good nanny would share his/her lessons learned instead of complaining or slandering his/her previous employer.
5) Why do you enjoy your job as a nanny?
6) What qualities do you have that make you unique/stand out from other nannies?
7) What do you feel is the most challenging aspect of a nanny job?
8) What activities would you do with a child who is ____ years old (fill in your child’s age)?
9) How would you describe your approach to a nanny job and children?
10) What are your disciplinary philosophies? How would you respond if (give a specific incident in which a child is not compliant)?
11) What kind of supper/tea would you prepare for a ___ year old? This question is crucial, especially if you are interviewing a nanny to look after a baby. You will know whether the nanny truly has experience with this age group based on his/her answer.
12) Do you believe in routine? If so, what would you say is an ideal routine for children that are the same age as my son/daughter?
13) Do you know our area well? If so, what do you find to be its best resources for children/families?
14) How long have you been driving? Do you feel comfortable driving children around? Have your previous positions required you to drive children? Have you ever had any tickets or accidents?
15) How do you think your referees would describe you as a person and as a nanny?
16) What are you looking for in your next nanny job?
17) Have you just started looking for a new nanny job? If not, how long have you been looking?
18) Aside from childcare, which nanny tasks are you happy to perform in a nanny job? Nursery duties? Light housework? Babysitting?
19) What do you enjoy doing outside your nanny job, in your spare time?
20) Tell me/us one of the most challenging nanny job situations you have ever faced (in or outside of childcare) and how you handled it. What did you learn from it?
21) If offered this nanny job, how soon are you able to commence work?
A good nanny will spend time asking you about your family, your children’s interests, current daily schedules, and your child-rearing philosophies. This is what separates the nannies who are looking for the right job from the nannies who are seeking just any nanny job. If a nanny does not show interest in learning about your family from the beginning, (s)he most likely will not in the future. Lastly, if a nanny mentions his/her salary expectations (without you asking) and inquires about the accommodation (if it be a live-in position) in the first interview, take notice. This may not be a nanny you want to hire.
You deserve a nanny who will take the time to get to know your family. You deserve a nanny who shows genuine interest in finding out what you expect and need. You want the nanny to be as sure of the position as you are of the nanny - this will make for a much more promising match.
For a second interview, give the nanny time to meet and connect with your children. You should set aside at least two hours for this second meeting. If you have a baby who is crawling or a toddler, does the nanny get down on the floor to play with him/her? How “hands on” is the nanny? Does the nanny appear confident in his/her childcare abilities? How do your children respond to the nanny? Is this a person with whom you can communicate openly and respectfully?
Some parents believe that if a nanny makes it to a second round interview, it is the children who truly end up doing the ‘hiring.’ More often than not, nanny agencies discover this to be the case! Children can be wise and intuitive, so consider their responses to each candidate. The candidates whom you choose for second round interviews may be fantastic all around. If this is true, then your decision boils down to chemistry between the nanny and your children. Sometimes, a smile on your child’s face and some laughter can be the final determining factor in your decision-making process.
Again, we have not exhausted all potential nanny job interview questions, but we hope that this helps get you started. Trust your instincts when interviewing nannies. If something a nanny did or said bothered you, make a mental note. Most of the time, your instincts are right on, so do not discredit or ignore them. After your interview, be sure to call the agency to give them feedback on the candidate. Whether you liked or disliked the nanny, tell the agency why. This will only help them in scouting the most suitable candidates for the nanny job and keep them from wasting your time by sending you unsuitable nanny candidates!
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