What is your Overall Impression?
There are several qualities that you should rank each nanny for (on a scale of 1 to 5 with 1 being the lowest and 5 being the highest):
- Flexibility (schedule)
- Salary Requirement
- Gut Feeling About Her/Him
This new series of questions are designed to help you interview over the phone to narrow down your selection and waste less time:
- Start with confirming the requirements of the job. You’ll be surprised how many applicants call who do not fit the job specifications you advertised. Make sure she is available for the hours you need. If you need someone who drives, make sure she can. Are you CPR certified? If no, would you be willing to get certified? Make sure she’s looking for the same living arrangement you are and the same salary.
- Make a point of listening to how she speaks. Can you hear her or is she so soft spoken you have to struggle to make out what she’s saying? Does she speak English well enough that you can understand her? How is her grammar, her manners? Remember, this person is going to have a huge impact on your child’s development. If you don’t want your child using poor grammar then you don’t want a Nanny who does.
- What experience do you have in caring for children? If you are looking for someone with childcare experience, make sure she’s got some.
- What was your last childcare experience? Why did it end? What were the ages of the children you cared for? Write down her answer and ask this question again during the face-to-face interview.
- How long do you think you would be willing to stay in this position? When can you start? What do you plan to do when this contract is completed? If a long term commitment is what you’re after, make sure she’s not leaving for college in 6 months.
- Tell her that you plan to do a background check on anyone you are considering hiring. Ask her if she will have a problem with this.
If you are satisfied with the answers you received, set up an appointment for a face-to-face interview. Remind her to bring a list of at least three references that you can call.
Assuming the nanny has done well enough to clear the phone interview this is an additional set of questions you can build on to ask her/him:
- What do you think children like best about you?
- What kinds of activities would you do with a (insert ages of your children) year old?
- Can you give me some examples of problems you have had with kids and how you handled them?
- What would you say is your discipline style? Can you give me some examples of when you would need to use discipline with a (insert age) year old child?
- What do you consider to be your most important responsibility in this job?
- At what point would you call a pediatrician or 911? Have you ever had to handle an emergency? How did you handle it?
- Have you ever had to manage a morning routine during the school year so that all the children got off to school on time? If no, do you think you could?
- Do you have any health-related problems that would prevent you from doing this job?
- Can you cook?
- How do you feel about performing light housekeeping?
- Will you be able to adjust your schedule if we need to go out of town or stay late at work from time to time? [Note: Make sure she knows that this would be overtime and she would be compensated with additional pay].
- What is your relationship with your family like? Do they like the idea of your being a Nanny?
- What do you like to do in your spare time? Hobbies, activities?
- What do you like most about yourself? What would you like to improve about yourself?
- What was your last childcare experience? Why did it end? What were the ages of the children you cared for?
- What do you think a typical day is like with a (insert the age of your child i.e., infant, toddler, 5 year old, 10 year old.)?
- How do you feel about furthering your training by attending child development classes or seminars?
LIVE-IN NANNY QUESTIONS
If you are looking for a live-in nanny, then you should consider asking the following additional questions:
- What are your sleeping habits? (does she stay out till 2am on week nights?) Do you have a problem with our expecting a Nanny to be home by 11pm (or whatever time you determine) on nights she has to work the next day?
- Do you like to watch T.V. or listen to your stereo late at night?
- Do you have any worries or apprehensions about living with a family? What are they? It’s best to get these out in the open now so you can try to alleviate them.
- Do you have any pets you are hoping to bring along?
- Do you have any friends that will be overnight guests from time to time?
- Did you run into any problems with your last live-in arrangement? What were they?
If you have gone through all of these and still feel like the candidate is worth pursuing then you should proceed to running a background check and checking their references. You should not skip either of these regardless of how well they answered the above questions.