The interview process in any profession can cause anxiety and stress. Interviewing as a nanny in some ways can be even more so, as it is much more personal walking into someone’s home, than it is walking into a typical office setting.
Let’s take a look at some ways to be prepared for your interviews with potential families and how to make the process as smooth and stress free as possible, so that you can present yourself as the friendly professional that you are.
One of the first impressions we give to anyone is with our appearance. For a nanny interview it is important to be well groomed and dressed professionally. While you may wear yoga pants and tee shirts to work since you will be playing with the kids, this is attire to avoid on your interview. Do not dress how you would for an office interview as that is too much. To find the happy medium and look professional, leaving the best impression, think “dressy casual”. A nice pair of jeans and a blouse is a perfect choice. Another option is classic black pants paired with a tank and a cardigan. Be sure that your hair is dry and styled, and go easy on the makeup. You want to come across as clean, neat, and professional.
Being prepared for your interview is one of the best ways to reduce stress and assure that things go smoothly. Take the time to look up questions that a potential family will ask and think about how you will answer these. Be informed on the job description before showing up. This will show that you are serious and care. Know the details that were given about the children and any other knowledge that has been made available to you. In addition to the questions of the parents, make a list of your own. The interview process between Family and nanny is one in which each party will have plenty of questions and things to discuss. Feel free to write these down in a nice notebook and bring it along. Listen carefully and take notes during your interview. Be sure to ask about the job details, the schedule, pet peeves of both the parents and the children. Are there any allergies that you need to be aware of? Ask as much as you can without overwhelming them.
Plan to arrive early for your interview! This is helpful in that it shows you care about being on time and will also save you added pressure should you take a wrong turn and need a few extra minutes to get there. Five to fifteen minutes early is the perfect window, just be sure to wait until five minutes prior before knocking. This gives the family time to prepare for your visit as well.
Upon being invited in, smile, introduce yourself while shaking hands. During the entire interview, be confident and be yourself! It is perfectly appropriate to share some laughs and jokes. A nanny job is unique from others in that it is so much more personal. They want to see your personality so let it shine through! This has an impact on their decision making as you will be spending so much time with their children.
Hand over your portfolio while briefly explaining it. There is no reason of course to go over the whole thing when they will be reading it, but a brief explanation of each section is great. Be sure that your portfolio includes a cover letter. Your cover letter should share a little bit about you both personally and professionally. Be certain that your portfolio includes your resume, letters of recommendation, and your certifications. To make your portfolio stand out you can take it a little bit further. Consider adding some favorite play date locations, arts and crafts that you have done, developmental notes for specific age groups, and sample schedules. Going the extra mile will make you stand out as a true professional.
If the children are present at the interview feel free to interact with them! Ask them questions, engage with them. If they have a baby it is perfectly acceptable to ask if you may hold the baby. Remember to wash your hands first.
As the interview is coming to an end, thank them for their time, shake their hands, call them by their names, and let them know that you enjoyed meeting them. Many nannies wonder if following up after an interview is the proper thing to do. Absolutely! Whether you choose to call, email, or text, let them know that you are interested in the position, loved meeting them, and that you are looking forward to hearing from them. Wait 24 hours after the interview and then feel free to follow up! If for any reason you are not interested in the job, please let them know immediately. You can simply thank them for their time again while letting them know that this is not the right fit for you. It is important to communicate this with them promptly so that they can continue interviewing other candidates and not let one that they like slip by because they were planning to offer you the job.
Remember to be yourself and enjoy the process!
By: Anne-Marie Ferraro