Interview Tips for Nannies and Babysitters

You've landed an interview and are ready to seal the deal. Congratulations! Before you go in for the interview, here are some tips to consider to be sure you will make the best impression possible.

The one thing to keep in mind when going in for an interview is: PROFESSIONALISM

Even though you might think the nanny or babysitter position is more casual in nature, you must understand that the family will put the most precious gift in your hands when you're hired: their children. For a family, hiring a nanny or babysitter is a very important decision and families take it seriously. Of course, families want to know their new nanny or babysitter is fun and clicks with the kids, but first and foremost they are looking for somebody that is qualified, professional, trustworthy, and dependable. If you have experience, licenses, or credentials, even better.

Secondly, watch your manners. Why would someone who is looking for assistance in raising a child hire a person who has poor manners? It is important to be polite and make a good first impression.

Here are some attributes that you need to keep in mind when interviewing:

  • Be prompt and on time.
  • Dress professionally. Jeans are acceptable with a nice blouse or shirt. Don't wear anything too suggestive and make sure your clothes are kid friendly.
  • If the family's children are participating at the interview, interact with them to show that you truly care.
  • Smile and make eye contact with the family and the children, shake hands, and thank the parents for the opportunity to interview with them.
  • After the interview, you could even send a thank you note to the parents.

Should I check the family's references?

Absolutely! The family will check your references and you should most definitely check the family's references as well. You can do so by asking for the name(s) of past nannies or childcare providers. If the family never had a nanny before, you can ask for a contact at their current daycare center of babysitters. Checking references will tell you more about the family and the children to help you decide if the job is right for you.

The phone, in-person, and working interview.

A family may interview you in 3 different ways. First, the family might conduct a phone interview with you. Families do so in order to pre-screen their candidates and narrow down their list of potential candidates. During the phone interview, be prepared to speak about your experience and why you would be a good fit for the nanny or sitter position. Phone interviews usually last no longer than 5-10 minutes.

Secondly, the family will invite you to an in-person interview. Very often the parent will have you come directly to their home but other times a parent will want to meet you at a neutral spot, such as a quiet cafe to conduct the interview. At the in-person interview, the family will not only interview you for the position, but also observe your interaction with the child(ren). Make sure you're natural and relaxed. You can plan ahead by thinking about some games or things to do with the children during the interview (i.e. read a book, play a game, etc.). The interview will generally last 30 minutes to 1 hour.

Lastly, the family may conduct a working interview. The working interview will last an entire day or several hours. You will spend time with the family and the parents to learn about the household and become accustomed to family habits and the new work environment. The working interview will also act as the last trial run for the family to make sure they are comfortable with you as their nanny or babysitter.

Prepare for the interview

Before the interview, make sure you are prepared. Make sure the position meets your personal needs including schedule and job responsibilities. If you setup an interview with a family and the job doesn't really suit your needs, you are wasting not only the family's time, but also your own.

You should also come prepared with a list of references including their contact information. Make sure you let your references know that the family might be calling them.

Prepare sample answers to possible interview questions. The more prepared you are the better. This will make it easy to speak confidently at the interview and prevent you from struggling to come up with an answer. Common interview questions are:

1.    Tell me a little bit more about yourself and why you want to work as a nanny / babysitter? (Icebreaker question)

2.    Tell me about your prior experience working as a nanny / babysitter.

3.    Tell me about your previous job and why you are looking for a new job.

4.    What does your perfect job look like?

5.    What kinds of activities and projects would you be doing with my child(ren) on any given day?

6.    How would you describe your character?

7.    How important are organization and neatness to you?

8.    What are your beliefs about child rearing?

9.    What forms of discipline do you use?

10. How would you comfort a child?

11. What do you do in case of an emergency or if a child got sick?

12. What do you like least about being a nanny or babysitter?

Lastly, prepare some questions to ask the family. Asking questions at the interview will show parents that you are really interested in the position. Here are some good questions to ask during the interview:

  • Ask about your job responsibilities and job duties
  • Are you expected to transport the children and will the family provide a vehicle to you?
  • How does the family discipline the children? Asking this question shows that you are interested in being on the same page as the family and following their rules.
  • Ask about your schedule and hours especially when you're interviewing for a live-in position.
  • If a parent asks you to tell about yourself, don't go into every little detail of your life. We recommend you stick to your professional experiences, your education, and some hobbies.  
  • You will also want to ask questions about the children you are going to be caring for, their ages, their interests and any important medical information.

At the end of the interview, don't forget to tell the family that you are interested in the position.

Just finished the interview and it is not what you thought it would be? Don't be upset. There are many families looking for nannies. Click here for some great tips on how to apply for a job and write a great profile description to help you in your continued job search.



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