How to Interview Nanny Candidates
When hiring a new nanny, clearly, you don’t want to take any chances. Before hiring a nanny, it is vital to ask several questions, some uncomfortable ones. Good interview questions may provide insights to the nanny’s abilities and demeanor. To make the task simple here are a few nanny interview questions which you may consider before you hire.
Experience and Training
• How long have you been a nanny?
• How old were the children you cared for?
• Do you have any formal early childhood development or childcare training?
• Would you be willing to take classes to further your education in childcare?
• Do you have emergency training such as CPR or First Aid? If not, would you be willing to take CPR classes and first-aid training?
• What would you do if my child was sick or had an accident?
• Would you mind if I ran a background check?
• Why did you choose to become a nanny?
• What do you think the difference is between a babysitter and a nanny?
• Why are you looking for a new position?
• What do you like most and least about being a nanny?
• What do children like best about you?
• How do you discipline children when they misbehave? Can you give me an example?
• Would you be willing to follow my rules on discipline?
• What child development books/authors do you like?
• What is your view on nutrition for children? Do you cook for them?
• What things would you need from me to be most successful?
• If our roles were reversed, what would you look for in hiring a nanny?
• What questions have I not asked that you think are important to know about you?
Specific Baby Questions
• How do you handle a crying baby?
• What would you do if the baby won’t stop crying?
• How long do you think a baby should be left to cry?
• How often do you change a baby or feed a baby?
• What methods do you like to use to help a baby learn to sleep in their crib, for a nap or through the night?
Toddler Specific Questions
• What activities are most popular for you with a child this age?
• How much television do you think is appropriate for this age?
• How would you handle throwing things, tearing books, biting, etc.
• If our child wanted to play or do something different while you were cleaning up something, what would you do?
• How would you handle a temper tantrum in public? In our home?
• Have you potty trained children in the past?
Responsibilities and Salary
• Do you have any future plans that would put a limit on how long you would be able to be a nanny?
• Would you be able to drive your car with the children? Is your car in good condition?
• Have you had any accidents, and is your car insurance current?
• Do you want a live-in arrangement?
• If it’s not a live-in arrangement, where do you live and how would you get to work?
• If it’s not a live-in arrangement, would you bring your own food or expect meals to be provided?
• Do you smoke?
• Are you willing to do light chores while our baby is sleeping? Which ones?
• Do you have any issues that could interfere with a regular work schedule?
• When would you be able to start working?
• Would you ever be available to work evenings or weekends?
• Would you be available to travel with our family for weekends/vacations?
• When do you expect to take a vacation of your own?
• For salary there are new rules on what you can and cannot ask a potential employee in some states. Do some checking with other parents or communities to see what the going rates are for your area then assess a potential range you would be most comfortable with. Generally you can ask what salary they are looking for the responsibilities and hours you have discussed.
• Know that many nannies have been paid “under the table” if not through an agency. An easy way to address this is to ask if the payment terms (weekly payroll check or every other week) would be acceptable to them.
References and Background Checks
Ask for a few references of recent (preferably current employer) nanny position employers. There is a limit to legal questions you may ask a reference however most parents are fairly open when conducting reference checks. Most questions about verifying hire dates, were they good with the children are standard. You may want to ask if they have any recommendations for you on working best with this nanny.
Remember that potential hires are in control of the information they share with you and the references they have you call. They usually will give you the best people who will give the best information about them. You may want to consider using a background check company to run a complete search before completing a hire. Companies like backgroundcheck.com specialize in nannies.
Trial runs are a great way to see how the potential nanny would interact with your children but also allow the nanny a chance to meet the children and see if it is a fit for them as well. You may want to consider an hour or two for the children to spend time with the nanny while you are home.