A guide to interviews
Interviewing for your first nanny can be a daunting prospect! Rosebud Nanny Agency will send you a full interview guide when we arrange interviews, but here is a shorter version to give you an idea of structure.
First interviews usually take around an hour, depending on how well you get on with the nanny. If it is over much sooner, it’s clear you didn’t really ‘click’ with the candidate, but if you realise you’ve been chatting for hours, you could be on to a winner!
The first interview should ideally take place without the children present, as it can be confusing for the children if you meet a number of candidates – and hard for you to focus on the interview with the children running around!
This interview is to check whether you and the nanny would have a similar approach in the raising of your children. This involves making sure you have similar ideas about behaviour, discipline, nutrition, how time is spent etc. Be sure to discuss how you expect these issues to be dealt with.
It is also important that you like the nanny as a person, as over time you will see a lot of her, especially if she is a live in nanny. Trust your gut instinct.
If you are interviewing a lot of candidates, it may be a good idea to take notes so you don’t get confused between different nannies.
Begin the interview by talking through the nanny’s CV with her, asking her questions about jobs similar to yours, and discussing what aspects of the job she liked the most, reasons for leaving etc. Discuss any gaps in job history, ensuring you are satisfied with the reasons behind any gaps (e.g. illness, travelling).
If she is qualified, ask her about her course – where did she study, how long was the course, what did it involve?
Describe in detail the position you are offering – days and hours, how flexible you need the nanny to be, your children’s ages, likes and hobbies, their normal routine (school, nursery, clubs).
It is important to be clear about the nanny’s duties and responsibilities, in terms of both the children and jobs around the house. Discuss what exactly you expect from the nanny, for example if she is willing to do family laundry or just the children’s (or anything else that would not fall under the norm – typically the nanny is only responsible for duties relating to the children)
Below are some examples of questions to ask during the interview. Where possible, try to use open ended questions and encourage the nanny to elaborate!
- Why did you choose to become a nanny?
- What would you say is the best thing about working with children?
- What is your strongest quality?
- What would you say is your weakest point as a nanny?
- Have you ever found yourself in an emergency situation with a child? What happened and how did you handle it?
- How would you go about disciplining my children?
- Do you enjoy arts and crafts? Baking? Tell me about creative projects you have undertaken with previous children.
- How confident a cook are you? Please tell me a few meals you would be confident cooking for my children.
- Do you have experience with baby weaning? (if appropriate to your family)
- Do you have experience with potty training? (if appropriate to your family)
- Are you confident in helping my children learn – letters, numbers, colours? How would you go about this in a fun way?
- What kind of activities would you do with my children on a typical day, taking their ages into account?
- What would you do if my child bumped his head?
- What would you do if my child was sick?
- What would you do if my child became unconscious?
- Are you Ofsted registered/are you willing to register (if you will pay part of her salary using childcare vouchers)?
- Do you drive? Are you happy to use your own car for work? What car do you have? Do you have car seats? Do you have appropriate insurance?
- Are you willing and able to be flexible if I have a late meeting?
- Are you interested in babysitting on additional evenings or weekends?
Also ask some questions about the nanny as a person – does she has siblings? Does she live with her parents, a partner, friends or alone? If she lives with a partner, have they been together long? What does he do for work? Does she have any nieces/nephews, or young cousins, adding a dimension of experience not reflected on her CV?
Make sure you give the nanny an opportunity to ask any questions she has about the job and the children too!
Any nannies you feel you may like to hire should be invited back for a second interview. The second interview is a chance for you to see how the nanny interacts with your children. Try to step back a little – excuse yourself to use the bathroom, make a cup of tea etc. It’s always helpful to see how the children take to the nanny too!
Also use the second interview to discuss finer points, e.g. salary, holiday entitlement, house rules. Will you provide lunch for the nanny? Will she ask for certain food or be expected to make her food from whatever is in the fridge/cupboards?
If you require the nanny to be Ofsted registered (in order to pay her with childcare vouchers), you can use the second interview to discuss registration. Is she already registered, or does she need to apply? Who will cover the cost of registration? As the employer gets the financial benefits of using childcare vouchers, the majority of nannies expect the employer to pay the Ofsted registration fee (£105 per year) whereas it would fall on the nanny to cover the associated costs, e.g. DBS check, first aid, nanny insurance.
Other things to consider
If the nanny wishes to bring her own child to work, discuss with her the contingency plan she has if her child is ill – does it mean she will be unable to work? Does she have parents/a partner who can take care of the child? If you wish for your child to attend a club, will she pay for her child to go too?
If the nanny is to live in, show her the area she will be staying in. If she is new to the area, tell her a little about it – local toddler groups, swimming pools, parks etc. Discuss rules – phone use, friends or boyfriends visiting, what areas of the house she is free to use. What does she intend to do in her free time – perhaps suggest some local attractions.
October 21, 2015
by Abigail Plested
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