When looking to employ a nanny, it’s a great idea to interview a few different candidates in order to find the right person for your family. Experience and qualifications are very important, of course, although finding someone that you get along with is also incredibly important. You want to find someone who will fit into your family’s dynamic, especially if they will be working for you full-time!
A nanny interview will normally take 45 minutes to an hour. We recommend a formal structure for the interview, as it ensures that you’re able to cover all the points you want to discuss. Following this structure makes the interview fair and productive for both you and the nanny, and you should try to put the nanny at ease from the beginning so that they will be more responsive to your questions.
Here’s an overview of the interview structure:
- Tell the nanny about your family, describe the role on offer and what it entails
- Ask the nanny to tell you about herself and what she is looking for in a job. Run through a list of questions relating to the nanny’s background and her abilities as a childcarer
- Go through the nanny’s CV in detail, asking her to describe each childcare position
- Ask the nanny if she has any specific questions
- Conclude the interview
1. Describing the available nanny position
It’s important to start off by describing the position that you are offering in detail. Here are some of the topics that we recommend you cover:
- Start date
- Hours of work
- Duties and responsibilities, relating to both the children and around the house. In particular, if you require something more than nursery duties (e.g. family shopping, laundry etc) you should mention these to the nanny
- Routines that you would like kept, e.g. swimming lessons, playgroups etc.
- Holidays, in particular whether the nanny will be required to take some of her holiday leave at specific times of year
- House rules such as partners/friends visiting, use of phone etc.
- If it’s a live-in position, describe and show the nanny the accommodation. Explain when she can use the kitchen and other communal areas of the house, and which meals will be provided (if any)
- Use of car (if applicable)
- Additional babysitting requirements
- Whether she will be required to prepare all the children’s meals and whether there are specific dietary requirements
- Any medical issues relating to the children, which the nanny should be aware of.
2. Suggested interview questions
When speaking with the nanny, try to use open-ended questions that will prompt more informative answers. Starting questions with “What?/When?/Why?/How?/Where?/Tell me about…” will help you avoid just getting Yes and No answers.
Below, we’ve broken down some of the questions which you may want to consider asking. It’s by no means a definitive list, and is not in any particular order of priority. Feel free to add other questions that are tailored to your family’s specific needs!
Being a nanny
- Why did you choose a nannying career?
- What do you think are the qualities needed to be a good nanny?
- What do you enjoy most about being a nanny?
- What do you enjoy least about being a nanny?
Education and development activities
- In view of our children’s ages, what areas of development would you be concentrating on and what sort of activities would be suitable?
- How would you plan a typical day?
- What are your favourite activities with children?
- How would you occupy our children during the day?
- What kind of equipment or materials would you need?
- If appropriate: Have you had any experience of potty training and how do you go about potty training children?
- What kind of food would you cook for our children?
- How would you approach planning family meals and buying food?
- If appropriate: Have you prepared a baby’s bottle before/used a sterilizer/weaned a baby onto solid food?
Discipline is an area that needs to be discussed upfront to avoid any differences of opinion on how the children should be disciplined. As the parent, you should be telling the nanny what you find acceptable or unacceptable in terms of disciplining your children – you need to find someone who will work within the boundaries you set.
- What would you do with a child that threw a tantrum in the middle of a shop?
- How do you introduce and encourage good manners in children?
Reading and television
- What sort of books do you think would be appropriate for our children?
- How often would you use the library?
- How do you feel about children watching television?
Coping with an emergency
- What would you do if a young child locked themselves inside the car?
- What would you do if a child was choking?
- When did you last update your first aid training?
3. Going through the nanny’s CV
As part of the interview it’s a good idea to ask the interview about her previous childcare positions. Looking through her previous work experience, you may consider asking the following questions in relation to each position:
- How did you spend your days with the children?
- Was it a sole charge position or were their elements of sole charge?
- Why did you leave?
- What did you enjoy most about the job?
- What did you least enjoy about the job?
Have a look through the nanny’s written references and feel free to raise any questions you may have about them. If the nanny has childcare qualifications, ask her to describe the course – how long it was for, did she study full time or part time, what did the course cover etc. In particular, ask whether it involved her doing work experience and placements either with families or in nurseries.
4. Questions from the nanny
Just as you have your own questions about the nanny, most nannies will also have questions about your family and the available position. That’s a good sign, so please do try to encourage the nanny to ask questions about the family set-up, routines, hours, details about the job etc. Don’t be surprised if nannies come along with their own list of questions to ask – this just means they’re prepared!
5. Bringing the nanny interview to a close
Once you’re both happy that everything has been covered, you can bring the interview to a close. As the parent, you’ll need to let the nanny know exactly what the next steps are.
If you want to offer her the job, it is worth making this clear now as she will likely be attending other interviews and you don’t want to miss the opportunity of employing her! If she does want to take up the position, you can arrange a separate time for her to come back – she can have an informal second interview with the children and you discuss the nature of the employment contract together.
If you’re unsure and want to see other nannies, that’s absolutely fine – just tell her that you’ll be contacting Bubble after the interview and that we’ll be in touch to let her know the outcome.
Once the interview is over, please contact Bubble to discuss how you’d like to proceed. If you wish to employ the nanny, then it’s best to make an offer as soon as possible. Alternatively, you may want to see other nannies in which case we can arrange that for you. Whatever the outcome, we always appreciate getting your views and feedback on the nanny after an interview.
Best of luck!