Nanny Interview Questions Tips

Interviewing nannies? We've compiled some nanny interview questions for parents and useful tips on interviewing nannies

Whilst it's important to see how the nanny interacts with your children, it may not be advisable to have them present for the whole interview as it could be distracting.

In addition, introducing the children to all the candidates may be both confusing and unsettling for the children. So, if possible, plan to interview potential nannies either without your children being present or with the children being introduced to the nanny briefly at the end of the interview.

If you are interested in hiring the nanny, you can then arrange a more informal second interview so that the children can spend some time with her to ensure that you have made the right choice.

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Interviewing potentially nannies

A nanny interview will generally take 45 minutes to 1 hour. A formal structure of the interview ensures that all the points are covered that you want to discuss.

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:

  1. Tell the nanny about your family and children.
  2. Tell the nanny about the position (see the section below)
  3. Ask the nanny to tell you about herself and what she is looking for in a job
  4. Go through the nanny's CV in detail, asking her to describe each childcare position (see the section below)
  5. Run through a list of questions relating to the nanny's abilities as a childcarer, her views on discipline, activities for the children etc. and questions relating to her own background (see the section below)
  6. 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 holidays when you take some of your holidays.
  • 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.
  • Babysitting requirements
  • Whether she will be required to prepare all the children's meals and whether there are specific dietary requirements
  • The nanny should be aware of any medical issues relating to the children.

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Suggested nanny interview questions

Try to use open-ended questions that will prompt 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:

Being a nanny

  • Why did you choose a nannying career?
  • What do you think are the qualities needed to be a good nanny?
  • What do you enjoy most about being a nanny?
  • What do you enjoy least about being a nanny?

Education and development activities

  • In view of our children's ages, what areas of development would you be concentrating on, and what sort of activities would be suitable?
  • How would you plan a typical day?
  • What are your favourite activities with children?
  • How would you occupy our children during the day?
  • What kind of equipment or materials would you need?
  • Have you had potty training experience, and how do you go about potty training children (if applicable)?

Meals

  • What kind of food would you cook for our children?
  • How would you think to approach planning menus and buying the food?
  • If appropriate: Have you prepared a baby's bottle before? Used a sterilizer?
    Weaned a baby onto solid food?

Discipline

  • What would you do with a child that threw a tantrum in the middle of a shop?
  • How do you introduce good manners to children?
  • (Discipline is an area that needs to be discussed upfront to avoid any differences of opinion on how the children should be disciplined - as the parent, you should be telling the nanny what you find acceptable or unacceptable in terms of disciplining your children)

Reading and television

  • What sort of books do you think would be appropriate for our children?
  • How often would you use the library?
  • How do you feel about children watching television?

Coping with an emergency

  • e.g. What would you do if a young child locked themselves inside the car?
  • What would you do if a child was choking?
  • When did you last update your first aid training?

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More nanny interview questions tips

Going through the nanny's CV

It is 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 there 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 work experience and placements 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 Tinies after the interview and that the agency will contact her to let her know the outcome.

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

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