Preparing for interview – nannies and families!
Whether you’re used to interviewing or not, it is definitely a different kind of process when you’re looking for a nanny. It’s a more emotive experience as you’re looking for the perfect person to come into your family and for you to trust them with your children.
I have put together some interview guidelines for both nannies and families to help both sides achieve the most from these conversations (and remember, that’s really all it is – a conversation).
- Remember first impressions count so dress appropriately for the role – high heels are probably a no-no!
- Prepare a portfolio about your career to date – qualifications, testimonials, pieces of art work you have done with children. This is something to accompany your CV.
- Check the route to the interview and make sure you’re familiar with it. Leave enough time to be punctual. If you’re lost or delayed, pull over and call the family or the agency to let them know.
- Make sure you tell someone where the interview is and the time.
- Prepare some questions that you would like to ask – as I said, interviews are conversations, not a one-way interrogation! Use this opportunity to ensure this is the right family for you.
- Do some research into the area around the family home or nearby e.g. swimming pools, play parks, classes that are held locally. This demonstrates that you are interested in the role and that you’re a self-starter – you’re not going to rely on the family for activity inspiration.
- Relax and be yourself!
- Answer the questions honestly and directly, providing clear answers.
- Ask your questions respectfully and clearly and don’t be afraid to ask for clarification.
- Talk to the children if they’re around. Don’t worry if there isn’t immediate engagement from the children; this isn’t a negative reflection on you.
- Do not accept a position ‘on the spot’! You must go home and think about it objectively.
- Be prepared for a second interview: very few families make a decision after one meeting and the second interview is usually when you will meet and spend time with the children, see the rooms you’ll be using most of the time, etc.
- Have a good think about whether this is the right family for you – are you happy with the duties, their expectations, the hours etc? What might you ask at second interview?
- Don’t agree to requests just to please the interviewer! The job has to be right for both parties.
- The agency will be in touch after the interview to gather feedback. This is a good time to raise salary queries and any terms of employment you’re not sure about; leave final negotiations on salary and terms etc to the agency – this is what I’m here for.
- Arrange the interview for a time of day when you’re less likely to be disturbed by phone calls from work or children wanting tea/a snack etc
- Think about the questions you’re going to ask the interviewee – it’s a conversation but prepared questions allow you to use the time wisely. Here are some suggestions/recommended questions:
- Go through their CV and ask why they left certain positions. Ask the nanny about previous jobs, what they liked etc in those roles; why child care?
- What sort of activities would they do, how would they structure a day? How do you want the days structured? This is important: if you don’t tell them how you want it to work, there could be disagreements in the future.
- What are their views on discipline?
- Do they like to cook? Can they drive?
- Any particular things you really don’t like / want the nanny to do – think about that ahead of time. If you’ve had a nanny before, think about what worked & what didn’t work.
- Ask about their experience with your age range.
- It’s fine to ask about them: what do they like to do in their spare time?
- If they are bringing their own child, how do they envisage this working day-to-day? What will happen to your childcare if their child is ill?
- Enquire as to the duties around the house that they’re willing to undertake e.g. washing children’s clothes, bed linen etc.
- Do they know first aid?
- Are they willing to be Ofsted registered?
- Be yourself & try to keep it relaxed. Offer them a hot drink or a glass of water.
- Let them know that you might take notes – I would strongly advise this. Don’t write the answers verbatim but you want something you can refer to later.
- Describe the role honestly. Don’t dress it up – you don’t want to be going through this process again in a few months!
- Answer their questions honestly too.
- Remember some nannies find interviews difficult and they can be quite nervous; you may not see the true nanny until the second interview when the children are around.
- Don’t offer a nanny the role after the first interview. If you’re keen, arrange a second interview by all means, but you need to think about whether they really are the perfect person for your family. (But I would also trust your gut too!)
- Think long and hard about whether this is the right person. Go over your notes and think about what you might ask at second interview.
- The agency will be in touch after the interview to gather feedback – this is a great opportunity to ask any questions – I’m happy to chat through anything if you need.
These are just some sample questions and ideas from both perspectives about how the interview process could work. I’m always here to help so do give me a call 01732 838417 or drop me an email firstname.lastname@example.org if you need any help.