The interview process for a Nanny job is uniquely different from that of many other jobs. The personal nature of the parent/nanny relationship where you will be working in their home sets it apart from any other type of job interview. As a nanny, you will have many questions for potential families and should be fully prepared with what you need to ask and discuss during the interview process. Let’s dive in and take a look at what specifically you should be prepared with.
Always begin with a phone interview before scheduling an in-person meeting! This will let you know right away if you are a potential fit. There is no reason to waste your time or their time with an in-person meeting if the job is not going to work for you as far as hours, pay, and location. During the phone interview have a notebook and pen ready to write down their answers so that you know the job details. Be sure to ask what the hours are and what the schedule is. Will it be a set schedule? Will it change from week to week? If so, when can you plan to get your schedule and within what days and hours will it be scheduled within. Ask the ages of the children, what the planned start date is, and where they are located. Ask details about the job responsibilities and discuss the pay rate. You can even briefly discuss basic job benefits. Use this time to get to know each other a bit while asking the questions that will determine if you will be interviewing face to face.
Once you have moved forward to the in-person interview step be sure to be prepared with all of the questions that you need to ask. Write them down and bring them with you along with a pen and take notes during your interview. This will make sure that you are clear on the full details of the job. Important questions to ask include: How do you discipline? How should you, as the nanny, discipline? What role would you like for a nanny to play in your family? How will we communicate on a regular basis? Ask them if they have had a nanny before and if so, why she is no longer with them. Would it be ok for you to speak with their former nanny? What are some things they loved about their nanny and some things, if any, that they would change? How can you expect a typical work day to go? Be sure to ask them what their parenting style is. This question is huge as you will need to be on the same page and agree on this topic in order for your working relationship to continue smoothly.
Do not be afraid to ask difficult and deep questions. Remember that the Nanny and Family interview process works both ways and you need to be sure you have covered all topics that are important to you. What types of educational things would they like for you to engage the children in? If the parents are home, how do the children behave and how would they prefer for you as the nanny to handle this? What is the plan in the event of an emergency? Ask about a backup contact list if you are not able to reach them. How should you handle it if you have a family emergency arise while working? Ask them if they tend to run late getting home on a regular basis. For some flexible nannies this is not a major concern, but for nannies who have classes, family, or other planned activities after work it is very important to discuss so that you can plan accordingly and decide what you are comfortable with. Be sure to ask of any upcoming changes that you should be aware of. Is there a move coming up? Are the children changing schools? Discuss open communication and how you will both handle unexpected issues as they arise.
Ask about the children’s likes and dislikes. Do they follow a regular schedule and routine? What are the regular rules? Do the children have any allergies, medical conditions, or dietary restrictions that you need to be aware of?
Do not wait to ask about outings with the children! The in-person interview is the time to bring this up. When can you start taking the children out? (Do not wait to discuss the timing of this so that you don’t find yourself frustrated and in a house for the whole day when you’re used to being an active nanny) How far can you go on outings with the children? At this time, discuss if you will be using the family car or your own and proper mileage reimbursement for the use of your car for outings.
Lastly but very important on your list of questions is that of benefits. Discuss vacation, personal time off and sick days, inclement weather days, holidays, even bereavement time in the event of a family death, and the very important topic of guaranteed hours. Be sure that they know what exactly this means and that banking hours is not a part of how guaranteed hours works. Be sure to ask the parents how they feel about contracts and if you can make one together. It may sound like a lot but do not be afraid to cover all of these topics as they are so important to be clear on before accepting a nanny position! Write everything down so that you are clear on all topics before moving forward and are able to make a clear decision on what family is the right family for you to nanny for.
All the Best!
By: Anne-Marie Ferraro