Ace the Nanny interview

Things to bring, how to prepare, what to say, etc...

Interviewing for a nanny position is like any other in some respects: you want to appear professional, polite, punctual, and prepared. Here are some tips on how to take the nervousness out of your nanny interview and prepare in advance.

The phone interview: This interview is usually the preliminary phase of the interview process. In order to remain as professional as possible until that initial personal first-impression can be made, please make a few of the necessary precautions to prepare for this interview. Make sure your phone interview is in a place where you can talk uninterrupted and communicate (both listening and speaking) clearly. Do your best to limit your verbal pauses (um, like, you know) to a minimum. When in doubt, just take a breath and wait to answer the question; there is no need to fill the silence with an "uh or um". Be concise with your answers. Some people tend to babble when they get nervous. Stick to answering the question. Always end the conversation with a plan to follow up. For example, you would say, "if I don't hear from you by Tuesday, is it okay to contact you at this number?" People do get busy in the interview process, and while you may not land every job, some people are more than happy to take the time out of their day to tell you what you could do better for your next interview.

The in-person nanny interview - What to bring: Make sure you have a copy of your resume and references, as well as your identifying documents, including your driver's license, and social security card or birth certificate. Bring copies of your letters of recommendation as well as any certifications you hold (First Aid, CPR, etc.). Even though you may feel like you have your interview questions memorized, bring a copy of them. You never know when your nerves are going to kick in and cause you to forget to ask about the salary, or another important detail.

How to dress: You will want to appear as professional as possible while remaining comfortable. Depending on how much preliminary interviewing you've done up until this point, the family may use this in-person interview to introduce you to the children. Make sure to sit up straight (this conveys confidence), don't fidget, and make eye contact.

Do your research: Interviewing can be a time-consuming ordeal, but if you land the right job, you may not have to interview again for a very long time. So don't waste the families time or your own by interviewing for a job that has too long of hours, too low of pay, too high of expectations, etc. Do your research on the job description and find out what the family expects, as well as the ages of their children. If the children have special needs, for example, and you have no experience with that, maybe the job is not for you (unless, of course, you are ready for this job and the family is willing to train you to cater to this child's needs).

The final stages of interviewing - questions for you to ask: You might be an excellent nanny with impeccable references and think that you've found your dream family. However, here are some "deal breakers" and therefore topics to discuss prior to taking any nanny job. If you can think of additional issues that aren't listed below, make sure to verbalize this ahead of time.

What type of additional nanny duties will you be expected to do and to what extent will you be asked to do these duties? Examples include housecleaning, cooking, driving the children (gas compensation), pet care, tutoring, etc.

What type of discipline style does the parent expect you to uphold? You may not want to take the job if you disagree with or are unable to execute the parent's discipline plan.

If you will be a live-in nanny, establish clear guidelines of when you will have your own personal time.

Follow-up: Always follow up with the family, but be patient. If you don't hear from the family in a week's time, make sure to send a thank you note for their time. If the family has provided you with an email, send them an email with a polite note. Good luck with your nanny or sitter interview!

For more information, refer to this article on interviewing for a nanny position. 

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