Finding the right nanny for your family is such a personal decision that it may seem like a daunting task at the beginning. Rest assured that with knowing the right questions to ask the process of interviewing nannies can be a joyful experience. Each nanny that you meet will bring her own experience and unique personality to the table as you go through the interview process. Let’s take a look together at how we can break down the interview process making it clear and easy by simply knowing the right questions to ask.
Always begin with a phone interview before scheduling an in-person meeting. The phone interview will allow you to get the answers to basic important questions to see if you are a fit. It is important to know if the hours, pay rate, and location are a fit for both you and the nanny before moving forward so that you are not wasting your time or theirs. During the phone interview get to know each other a little bit, friendly conversation is perfectly appropriate. The questions that you want to be sure to ask are: How long has she been a nanny? When is she available to start? What pay range is she currently in? Discuss whether you are seeking a nanny short term (a year or less) or if you are looking to find a long-term nanny. You can even lightly touch on job benefits that you are offering. If for whatever reason you are not a fit simply thank her for her time and wish her the best. If the position sounds like a fit for both of you now is the time to move forward with scheduling an in-person meeting.
When a potential nanny arrives for her interview be sure to offer her a glass of water and invite her to a comfortable place to sit to begin the interview. Be sure to have questions written down so that you don’t get caught up talking and forget anything important. Feel free to write down the answers as you go! Basic questions to be sure to ask include: Why did she choose to become a nanny? What does she enjoy most about being a nanny? What doesn’t she like about it? What type of relationship would she like to have with you and your family? How does she see her role changing and evolving as the children get older? Ask her if she is CPR and First Aid Certified and if she has ever had to use these skills while on the job? If she has, ask her to share her story and experience. Ask her what she expects and wants from you as a potential employer. How is she with communication? Will she voice her concerns about unexpected issues?
Feel free to ask potential nannies about their past nanny jobs. What did they like most and what did they not like? Feel free to ask her to describe each job on her resume. Ask if she has ever worked for a family that chose a parenting style that she did not agree with and how she handled this? Could they turn tasks or school activities that your child does not enjoy doing into something more fun? How would they do this? Ask about various scenarios that may come up during her day such as one of the children screaming in the grocery store while she is out with them, one child throwing up while the other is in need of something, the baby is sound asleep in the car but she needs to run into the store, how would she handle a baby who is crying and will not stop? These are so important for safety reasons and to be on the same page. For example, it would never be ok for her to leave a child in the car even if it means waking them up! A nonstop crying child is difficult for anyone but needs to be handled properly and with love. Ask her how she plans to spend nap time? Many nannies upon children’s laundry and bottles being done will use this time to take a break and read. Keep in mind that nannies do not get lunch breaks and coffee breaks. When you have a hardworking nanny, who takes care of all of her duties consider that downtime during a nap is good for her as well.
Is she comfortable caring for sick children? What are her limits with this? For example, she may be comfortable working when the child has a cold but not comfortable if it is the flu. Is she comfortable caring for a child who is vomiting or has diarrhea? How should she handle it if a high fever happens and she is not able to reach you right away?
Ask potential nannies if they are comfortable being background checked and having their driving record checked. What are some of her favorite things to do with the children? What does she like to do both indoors and outdoors for play? What are some activities that she will engage your children in on a rainy day? Are there particular materials that she will need to have on hand? (Think arts and crafts and games) How does she plan to introduce proper manners and etiquette to your children and what forms of discipline does she use?
During the interview process while you will have many questions to ask be sure to avoid the following: Her age, race, marital status, if she has a boyfriend, if she plans to get married, if she has children, her religious beliefs, or any type of disability. These are inappropriate questions that will make her uncomfortable and are actually to be avoided in any type of professional job interview.
Take the time to ask all of these important questions as well as adding any that may apply to your specific family and the job. Enjoy the process and consider the personality traits that each nanny has uniquely that may benefit your children.
By: Anne-Marie Ferraro