Interviewing Potential Nannies

May 2, 2018

A nanny interview will normally take 45 minutes to 1 hour. A formal structure of the interview ensures that all the you want to discuss points are covered. This will make the interview fair and productive for both you and the nanny. However, you should try to put the nanny at ease from the beginning as she will then be more responsive to your questions. Once you are both settled, explain how the interview is going to be structured so that the nanny knows what to expect.

Suggested interview structure:

  • Tell the nanny about your family and children.
  • Tell the nanny about the position (see section below).
  • Ask the nanny to tell you about herself and what she is looking for in a job.
  • Go through the nanny's CV in detail, asking her to describe each childcare position (see section below).
  • Run through a list of questions relating to the nanny's abilities to care for children, her views on discipline, activities for the children etc, and questions relating to her own background (see section below).
  • Ask the nanny if she has any specific questions.
  • Describing the available nanny position. You will need to describe the position that you are offering in detail. Set out below is a suggested list of issues that should be covered:
    • Start date
    • Hours of work
    • Duties and responsibilities, relating to both the children and around the house. In particular if you require something more than nursery duties (e.g. family shopping, laundry etc) this should be mentioned
    • Routines that you would like kept - e.g. swimming lessons, playgroups etc
    • Nanny salary
    • Holidays - in particular discuss whether you require her to take some of her holiday when you take some of your holiday
    • House rules such as nannies visiting, boyfriends visiting, use of phone etc
    • If it is a live in position, describe and show the nanny the accommodation. Also talk about when she can use the kitchen and the other communal areas of the house, and what meals will be provided, if any
    • Use of car (if applicable)
    • Babysitting requirements
    • Whether she will be required to prepare all the children's meals and whether there are specific dietary requirements
    • Any medical issues relating to the children of which the nanny should be aware.

Suggested nanny interview questions:

Try to use open-ended questions that will prompt for informative answers, such as questions starting with What? When? Why? How? Where? Or tell me about... This will avoid just getting Yes and No answers.

The following are some questions you may wish to consider asking. This is by no means a definitive list and is not set out in any particular order of priority:

  • Going through the nanny's CV
    It is obviously important to ask the nanny to describe her previous childcare positions. Working through her previous work experience you may consider asking the following questions in relation to each position:
    • How did you spend your days with the children?
    • Was it a sole charge position or were their elements of sole charge?
    • Why did you leave?
    • What did you enjoy most about the job?
    • What did you least enjoy about the job?
    • You should also read through the nanny's written references, and raise any questions you may have in relation to those references.
    • If the nanny has childcare qualifications, ask her to describe the course - how long it was for, whether she studied full time or part time, and what the course covered. In particular ask whether it involved her doing work experience and placements either with families or in nurseries.
  • Questions from the nanny
    Encourage the nanny to ask questions about you and the family set up, specific details about the jobs, routines, hours etc. Do not be surprised if nannies come armed with a list of questions to ask.
  • Bringing the nanny interview to a close
    Once you are both satisfied that the interview is over and that you have covered everything, bring the interview to a close. You will need to let the nanny know exactly what the next steps are.
    • If you want to offer her the job it is worth making this clear now as she will undoubtedly be attending other interviews and you may lose the opportunity of employing her. If she does want to take up the position then you can arrange a separate time for her to come back and have an informal second interview with the children and discuss the nature of the contract together.
    • However if you are unsure and want to see other nannies, then tell her that you will be contacting the agency after the interview and that the agency will contact her to let her know the outcome.

Once the interview is over please contact the agency to discuss how you would like to proceed. If you wish to employ the nanny, then it is best to make an offer as soon as possible. Alternatively you may want to see other nannies in which case the agency can arrange that for you. In particular we would welcome your views and feedback on the nanny whatever the outcome.

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