The nanny interview is a hugely important piece of the nanny screening process. A comprehensive interview helps parents gather the information they need to make an informed hiring decision. As you begin the interview process, keep these 10 tips in mind:
- Conduct a phone interview before you move onto a face to face interview. Your time is in short supply, so make sure to talk with a nanny on the phone before you invest in a longer face to face interview. During the phone interview you can cover the basics and see if your personalities mesh well.
- Write down some key topics you want to make sure you cover. There are lots of things you need to cover during a nanny interview. It’s easy to get caught up in the conversation and forget to ask about things that are important to you. An easy way to make sure you hit all your points is to go into the interview with notes. It’s easy to refer to your notes throughout the interview or quickly review them at the end to make sure you’ve covered all you want to cover.
- Ask open ended questions. You want to learn as much about the nanny as possible during the interview. One of the best ways to do that is to ask open-ended, situational questions rather than yes or no questions. Doing so forces the nanny to really put thought into her answers. It also gives you a better view into how she feels, what she thinks, and how she makes decisions. Instead of asking “Do you use time-outs?” ask, “Tell me about a time you had to discipline a two-year-old.”
- Carve out time to talk with the nanny without your kids. It’s important that your attention is focused on the nanny during the interview. This is an important decision, and the information she’s offering during the interview will help you evaluate her and decide if she’s the best choice for your family.
- Keep the interview conversational. It can be nerve-wrenching for nannies to interview for a job they really want. By keeping the conversation casual, you can help put the nanny at ease. Why is that important? When a caregiver is comfortable and doesn’t feel guarded, she’ll be much more likely to share her true self. That will give you the best view into who she really is and will help you make an informed decision.
- Give the nanny the chance to ask questions too. There are lots of things the nanny needs to know about your job. Hopefully, you can cover many of the job description details during the initial screening process. However, as you talk during the interview, encourage the nanny to ask questions about issues that come up. It’s essential that the candidate have all the information she needs to make the best decision.
- Ask the nanny back for an additional interview where she can interact with your child. Although it’s important to meet with the nanny without your child, clearly her ability to connect with your child is the biggest factor in your decision. Regardless of your child’s age, invite the nanny to spend time with your child. Observe her comfort level with your child, how hands-on she is, if she knows about the developmental stage your child is in, and how your child reacts to her. Remember, she knows she’s being evaluated, so chances are she’s nervous and won’t be as relaxed with your child as she normally would be.
- If your children are old enough, involve them in the interview process. The focus of the nanny’s job is your child. If your kids are old enough to understand you’re choosing a new nanny, ask them to participate in the selection process. It can be something as simple as asking the nanny a question or two or having a real voice in the decision making process.
- Don’t skip the working interview. When you find the nanny that fits your needs and meshes well with your family, ask her to come back for a working interview. Seeing how she actually is on the job will give you that last bit of information you need to make your final hiring decision. A working interview also gives the nanny a chance to see if your job is the best choice for her. This two way match is the key to a long-term, successful nanny/family relationship.
- Let the nanny know how you’re feeling after the interview. If you absolutely love a nanny, let her know it. Highly qualified nannies are generally interviewing with more than one family, so let a great candidate know you want to pursue her. Give her a timetable for taking your next step and let her know when you’ll be contacting her.
A well-thought out interview strategy can help parents learn about the nanny and make the best choice for their family.
P.S. This post was proposed to me for publication by Maureen Denard. I'm therefore publishing it by her invitation and under her permission. See also the link below fore more information: