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EFFECTIVE NANNY INTERVIEW Q’S May 18, 2009

It’s all about finding the right candidate that suits both your child’s needs and you as parents. I have found that when interviewing a nanny you want to ensure you create an atmosphere that is less intimidating as possible because the less tense it is, the more real or more open your candidate will be. Small talk like weather and traffic tend to help making a conversation much calmer and relaxed. Your goal is to make sure that when interviewing the nanny, you are able to bring out of her as much of her personality in the open as possible to help you decide whether this is a kind of person you want around your children.

In order to make your interview effective, the following are suggested questions I would recommend that would help you get to know your candidate better.

 

Professional questions:

 

Why are you looking for a nanny position?

 

-How long have you been in childcare?

 

-Why are you leaving your previous employer?

 

-How long were you at your last employer?

 

-Why do you want to take care of children?

 

-What do children like best about you?

 

-What do  you value in children?

 

-What range of age were the children you took care of?

 

-What  challenges did you encounter when you took care of  children?

And how do you resolve them?

– Are you willing to partake in children activities,  e.g going to the park, taking children to the museum, zoo,  music classes, gym classes. If you would like her to take your children swimming, find out if she is comfortable with that.

 

 

-Can you help with light housekeeping? (it is imperative you define what you mean by light housekeeping)

 

-Are you willing to prepare light meals? (explain the capacity of how much cooking you are looking for)

 

-Any CPR or first aid certifications? If not, are you willing to undertake some classes?

 

-Do you have any professional childhood training?

 

-If we needed any evening or weekend babysitting, would you be available? (make sure you let her know that you would be giving her enough notice beforehand)

 

-Do you smoke?

 

-If the nanny will be using her car, make sure you arrange gas and mileage compensations. Do you have car insurance? Is it a well-functional vehicle?

 

-Depending on whether you would be interested on a nanny share, you definitely want to find out if it’s something she would be interested in and discuss the salary desired for that scenario.

 

-Is it ok if I did a background check?

 

-Explain the time of commitment you expect.

 

-Are they available to travel with the family, if necessary?

 

-What are you looking for in a family?

 

-When can you start?

 

-Do you have any references?

 

-Discuss salary desired and whether or not you are willing to offer any benefits.

 

Hypothetical questions:

 

There are questions you should ask your candidate just so you can get to know how well able she is in handling instinctive situations, for example:

 

How do you feel about discipline on a child/infant? And how would you go about it?

This is the make it or break it question in all nanny interviews. Make sure you ask the nanny  her definition of discipline, and how would she go about disciplining a child that is acting up. Give her a scenario of how she would react to a child that is acting up and pay attention to the details of her answer. This is a question that must be dealt with a lot of scrutiny when the nanny is giving the answer. Things to look for when this question is being answered are: body language, tone and facial expression.  Psychologically, you want to make sure that this person is well-rounded in handling a child that can sometimes get out of line, in that, the solution would not to instinctively hit the child.

 

How do you handle yourself when having a bad day?

Like I said earlier, you want to make sure you are hiring a well-balanced person, who can learn to balance their emotions and not take it out on your child.

 

What would you do with a baby that cries all day?

You want to know that the nanny is capable of soothing your child in such instances without taking it too personally.

My advice to you, which you can feel free to share with the nanny is,

If the child cries nonstop for no absolute reason, as long as you make sure the child is not in pain, does not have a fever, after checking body for uncommon rashes, diaper is clean, e.t.c instead of forcing the child to calm down, feel free to place baby in safe area, find a quiet place for yourself, get calm then proceed to trying again.

Most nannies feel the pressure to trying to soothe the child so they end up trying too hard until they get emotionally affected. I have heard of nannies who cry, get hot-tempered, end up yelling at the child or sometimes end up man-handling the child. It’s important that your nanny knows that you are not about to expect a superhero out of her. You need a calm caretaker to soothe a not-so-calm baby than have an irritated caretaker soothe an irritated baby.

 

How would you handle an emergency situation?

What you want to hear is that the nanny will first seek professional help like calling 911, then try and get a hold of you after that. In some instances you find nannies trying to call the parents before calling for help and that can be critical. Emergencies are extremely time-sensitive, so every move counts. Encourage her to seek for professional help (like calling 911) first before trying to locate you.

 

 

Personal questions:

 

How old are you?

 

-Do you have any long-standing health problems, that you think would at all affect your work conduct?

 

 

-What do you like to do in your spare time? And what are your hobbies and interests?

 

-Tell me about yourself, your strengths and weaknesses.

 

 

Live-in situations(additional details)

–       Let them know how you feel about overnight guests.

 

–       Do they have any pets they would like to move in with? and how you feel about that.

 

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