Interviewing for a Nanny Job

Two women sitting at a desk, one looking at her laptop screen and the other jotting down notes

Preparing for a nanny interview can be very stressful and is a special kind of interview because when it comes to a person leaving their child with you, parents can be just as on-edge. This article suggests a few ways to help prepare yourself for a nanny interview and just tips to remember.

Being polite and making a good impression

When the time comes for an interview, you should be polite. It makes a very bad impression to not use manners at a job interview. Why would someone who is looking for assistance in raising a child hire a person who has poor manners? It is important to be polite and make a good first impression!

One way to be polite is to be prompt. It isn't respectful to show up to an interview late, so be on time or even early!

You should be dressed professionally and neatly. Make sure your clothes are ironed and that they are appropriate for an interview as a nanny. You don't want to wear anything too suggestive and you want to make sure your clothes are kid-friendly.

If there are children present at your interview, interact with them- don't hesitate to do so. A parent will appreciate that you took the time to interact with their child.

You should also remember to have a smile on your face and to make eye contact, shake hands and thank the person for the opportunity to interview. Try not to use words like, "uh, umm, like, " and speak clearly and succinctly.

Making a good first impression is key!

Checking those references

If you are interviewing for a nanny job it isn't unreasonable to ask the family you are interviewing with for references. You should readily supply your references for a family to check out and a family should do the same for you.

If you are offered a nanny position with a family before you accept you should check the family's references. If the family has had previous nannies, ask for their names and numbers so you can check to see what works for the family was like, how the kids were and why that person left the nanny position.

If the family has never had a nanny before, you can ask for numbers for past child care providers, such as daycare centers or babysitters. If none of those exist, don't be shy to ask for personal references for the family. It is important to know the family's history if you are going to be living and working closely with them on a day-to-day basis.

You can ask for this list of references at your nanny interview or wait until the job is offered to you. The important part to remember is that you should check references before accepting any position offered.

Different types of nanny interviews

There are several ways in which one may be interviewed for a nanny position. You should not only be prepared for many nanny interview questions but also be prepared for the different types of interviews you may encounter when interviewing.

Phone interviews

You may be asked to do a phone interview with a potential family. When this occurs you will be contacted by Internet email that a parent or family wishes to interview you. You will then select a designated date and time to do so. Most often, the person conducting the interview will call you at the selected time to interview you. You should make sure that you are available during the time the interview is scheduled and also make sure you can conduct your interview in a quiet place without interruptions. You should follow the etiquette rules for interviewing even over the phone.

Face-to-Face interviews

Another type of interview a nanny should be prepared for is a face-to-face interview with the parent of the child or children you may be hired to nanny for. Very often the parent will have you come directly to their home but other times a parent will want to meet you at a neutral spot, such as a quiet coffee house to conduct the interview. You will want to make sure that your appearance is neat and you are prompt and polite throughout the face-to-face interview process.

Nanny Trials or Working Interviews

You may also be asked to conduct an interview at the home of the child for a specific amount of days, such as spending one night in the home. During this time the parents will not only interview you for the position but will also observe you interacting with their children. This is a trial run and will give the parents a very good idea about what they can expect from you as a nanny. It is extremely important to maintain professionalism and to plan some fun things for the children to do while you are visiting their home.

The type of interviewing process each nanny goes through is different and really depends on the person doing the interview.

Do your research

Before you commit to a nanny interview, you will first want to research a few things. If you set up an interview only to find out none of what the family has to offer suits you, then the interview may be a waste of your time, not to mention the family's time.

  • Compensation: Before you interview, do some research and find out what the salary of the position will be.A salary can be negotiable; so don't let the thought of a lower salary lead you to cancel your interview.
  • Location and Accommodations: You will also want to find out where the family lives, will it cause you to have to relocate, will you live with the family or can you live at your residence? Will you need your own transportation or will the family provide it? These are some basic questions you can ask your contact person or the family if they call you directly for an interview. This information is a pretty big deal when getting ready to interview for a position, therefore, if you find out the family will want the nanny they hire to relocate and you don't wish to do so, then perhaps that specific position isn't for you.
  • References: You will also want to set up a list of references to leaving for the family that interviews you. If you have your list of references but haven't contacted the names on it, you may want to call them to let them know you have an interview and should you be hired, your references may be getting a call.

Being prepared and doing some research before an interview is a good idea, not only does it show you have a genuine interest in the position, it also shows you are responsible enough to seek out information and be prepared.

Prepare Your Answers

An interview can be nerve-wracking for anyone in any field. If you are interviewing for a nanny position, you should be prepared for the many questions that may be asked of you. Many parents who are interviewing a potential nanny may even have a nanny question checklist that they will write your answers down on.

You can prepare in advance for questions that may come up, especially questions from checklists. Be prepared to answer the following, the more prepared you are the better!

  • What do you think children like best about you?
  • What kind of activities will you do with children this age?
  • How do you handle problems that arise behaviorally and emotionally with kids this age?
  • What is the most important aspect of a nanny position?
  • Can you tell me how you would handle getting kids ready for school, such as feeding, dressing, etc and getting them to school on time?
  • When would you call 911? When would you simply call the doctor?
  • Do you cook? Will you do some house cleaning?
  • Would you be willing to attend more child development classes?

By being prepared for any potential questions an interview goes much smoother!

Questions to Ask

Not only should you be polite and make a good first impression during an interview, but you should also be ready with your own nanny interview questions. Here are some nanny interview tips for good questions to ask during a nanny interview:

  • You should ask the parents exactly what they expect of you as a nanny. Do they expect you to do housework, if so, how much and how often?
  • Are you expected to provide your own transportation or will the parents give you a vehicle?
  • When disciplining a child, what method does the parent use? This is an important question because it shows that you wish to be on the same page as the parent. If a parent has a completely different discipline style than you are comfortable with, share your style with them and get their feedback.
  • If you are interviewing for a live-in position, ask where you would be staying and what the hours are that you are expected to nanny. If it is a live-out position, find out the hours and the days of the week.
  • If a parent asks you to tell about yourself, don't go into every little detail of your life. Share pertinent information about your schooling, your experience and any other funny or light childcare stories you have.
  • You will also want to ask questions about the children you are going to be caring for, their ages, their interests and any important medical information that may affect your decision to nanny should you be hired.
  • A sample list of interview questions are available to registered members.

When the Interview is Over

When you have completed the interview with a potential family, you will want to remember some important things.

  • Follow-Through: If you have told the parent who interviewed you that you would send them copies of important documents, like your school history or degree information, then you should be sure to do so. Following through with what you promised is important and shows you are responsible.
  • Gratitude:You should also think about writing an email, if you know the email address, or a note via snail mail, to thank the family for taking the time to interview you. In this letter you can reiterate your interest in the position and how much you enjoyed talking to them and again, feel free to state why you think you would be a good fit for the family. Send a letter such as this as soon as possible after finishing the interview.
  • Patience: Be patient when waiting to hear from a family about the possibility of being hired for the nanny position. It may take a while to hear back and it isn't unreasonable that after waiting over a week, to either call the family or to send an email just thanking them again and letting them know that you hope to hear from them soon.

Your actions after the interview are over and done with are important; don't forget to use proper etiquette to show parents just how interested you are in the position.

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