*Disclaimer: I was compensated for the blog post, however, as always all my opinions are my own*
You found someone that seems to be the perfect candidate to look after your children and scheduled a job interview. Unless you’re an HR specialist, it might be hard to know exactly what to ask in this conversation. This is why I’ve spoken with experts on the subject: the guys from Sitly, a digital platform that uses geolocation to help parents to find nannies and babysitters – founded in 2009, in the Netherlands, the company is now present in 13 countries and launched its services in Canada recently. They suggest you use these questions to guide your search:
Experience and training
Look for a nanny who has taken care of children before – you don’t want your kids to be her guinea pigs. She doesn’t necessarily have to have many years of experience, but she should know what she’s doing. Ask if she has a resume (although don’t be surprised if she doesn’t have one).
Questions worth asking:
- How long have you been a nanny?
- How old were the other children you cared for?
- Do you have any formal early childhood education or childcare training?
- Would you be willing to take classes to further your education in childcare?
- Do you have emergency training? In CPR? In 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 on you?
Philosophy and approach
Make sure a nanny’s philosophy about childrearing is in line with yours. Ask each candidate why she’s a nanny and what she likes about the job – you need to know that she’s in the field for all the right reasons and that she enjoys children.
On being a nanny
- Why are you a nanny?
- Why are you looking for a new position?
- What do you like about the job?
- Describe your ideal family/employer
- What do you like least about being a nanny?
- Do you have any special peeves about parents/children/pets?
On dealing with children
- What are your beliefs about childrearing?
- What do children like best about you?
- How do you comfort children? How do you deal with separation anxiety?
- How do you discipline children? Give me an example of a previous discipline problem and how you handled it.
- What are some of the rules you’ve followed in other households that you think worked well?
- Which rules haven’t worked for you?
- Would you be willing to follow my rules and disciplining/comforting strategies even if they’re different from yours?
- What will my child be doing on any given day?
- What are your favorite activities to do with a child the age of mine?
- If I’m working in the house, will you be able to keep my child happily occupied without involving me?
Logistics and salary
Find out whether the nanny you’re considering will work out when it comes to practical matters.
- Do you have future plans (school, job, marriage, etc.) that would put a limit on how long you expect to be a nanny?
- Do you have a well-functioning car, with appropriate safety belts and room for car seats?
- 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 personal responsibilities or health 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?
What nannies charge varies widely depending on where you live and how many hours she works. The best way to get an idea of the going rate in your area is to ask other moms, then ask each candidate for her salary range.
Ask each candidate for a list of past and present references, and call them. Ask specific questions: instead of asking whether they liked the nanny, ask what exactly they did and didn’t like about her. Ask for a minimum of two references, although the more the better.
Interaction and observation
Give each candidate a chance to spend some time with your child in your home. Does she seem attentive? How does your child interact with her? Your observations matter a great deal when you finally make your choice. It may help to take a moment to ask yourself the following questions.
- Does she seem comfortable holding or speaking to your child?
- Was she pleasant?
- How did your child respond to her? Did your son/daughter seem happy?
- Are the two of you able to communicate easily and effectively with each other?
- While you’re away, will you feel at ease knowing your child is with her?
After asking all these questions, it should be easier to understand whether this person is the right fit for the job. And if you still feel uncertain about the candidate, you can always use Sitly to give it another try and look for more candidates – after all, you don’t want to leave your child with someone you don’t really trust.
I hope it helps! Good luck!