The interview is a two way process where you and the prospective Nanny can exchange information and most importantly, find out if you get along and whether you could work together. Your first impressions are very important so don’t ignore your instincts or your children’s reactions towards the prospective Nanny. Throughout the interview remind yourself that you may have to work closely with them, leave your children in their care and maybe live with them in your house, so you must like, trust and feel comfortable with them.
Before the Interview
There are a number of things you will have to think about before you start interviewing. These will include:
- Deciding on questions to ask and the qualities you are looking for.
- The hours the nanny will be required to work and the baby-sitting requirements you have?
- The duties the nanny will be expected to do.
- The salary and holiday entitlements you are offering.
- Additional benefits, such as use of car.
- House rules such as use of telephone, visiting friends and boyfriends, meals and eating arrangements.
Structuring the Interview
A structured interview allows all points to be covered with each applicant, so you should have at least a rough agenda in mind, before starting the interview. This should include the following:
- Explaining the job on offer, including hours, duties, rules and expectations.
- Explaining your routine, what times you are out of the house etc. and also the children’s routine, their school times and/or classes they attend.
- Find out about the carer’s views on child care.
- Allow an opportunity for the carer to ask questions.
- Show the nanny around the accommodation on offer (if applicable).
Sample Interview questions
Listed below are some questions that could be included in an interview. These are provided as a guideline only. The questions should be open ended to allow the nanny to discuss and provide an explanation. Try to avoid questions, which result in a yes or no answer, also avoid starting a question with “Don’t you think that…” as this normally means “I think….” and loads the question. If you are interviewing a lot of applicants it is best to make notes as you go along so you don’t forget who said what.
- Family background, do you have any brothers or sisters.
- Why are you interested in childcare as a career?
- Previous work experience (try to ascertain the ages of children previously cared for, whether the nanny had a sole or shared charge position, how long were they employed, etc.?).
- In your opinion what qualities make a good nanny?
- If there is a gap in the CV, ask what the carer was doing for that period of time.
- Why did the carer leave their last job?
- What specific training have you undertaken (e.g. first aid, child care)?
- What activities do you like doing with children? (Is she/he creative and/or resourceful?)
- An example of the routine on a wet day?
- Do you enjoy cooking? What are your views on nutrition?
- How would you discipline bad behaviour?
- Give an example of an emergency situation and ask how the child carer would respond.
- Are you willing to work additional hours, baby-sitting evenings and weekends?
- What are their interest in their spare time? Will you be out of the house at the weekends and in the evenings? (Do you mind having them around the house at these times?)
- Do they have a partner or friends that would possibly visit? (Would you mind having them in the house, if so which areas would they be allowed in and the times of day they would be allowed to visit).
Introducing the Children
It is important to introduce the most suitable prospective nanny to the children before making the final decision. Decide whether to bring them in for part of the interview or arrange a more informal second interview to observe the interaction between the children and the nanny as you will learn a lot about them from the children’s reaction and the way they approach them. It is not advisable to have the children present for the whole interview since this may be distracting.
It is strongly advisable for you to speak to the referees directly. Points to consider include:
- Checking dates of employment.
- The duties undertaken.
- Reasons for leaving.
- Sickness record.
- Strong and weak points.
- Whether the referee would actually recommend them.
Interview Summary & Evaluation Check List
There is clearly a lot to remember when you interview prospective applicants for the position. Many people will wish to take notes during the interview or make brief notes immediately after, other people will just go with their natural instincts and recruit the person they felt most comfortable with. Whatever method you choose has to suit you, the main importance is to be consistent in you assessment of each applicant. You may want to create a brief assessment check list which you can tick off during or after the interview. The following check list may help you ensure each candidate is being assessed consistently.
In each category you should rate the candidate as follows:-
- Significant improvement required
- Some room for improvement
- Fully satisfied
- Very good, exceeded expectations
In cases where there is a lack of sufficient information, leave the section blank.
- How well did you like the candidate?
- How closely do their ideas about childcare match your own?
- How well did your children like them?
- How well did they react towards your children?
- How easy would it be for you to share you home with them?
- How well did they meet your expectations?
- How good are their qualifications?
- How good is their knowledge of childcare?
- How good is their first aid knowledge?
- How committed to being a Nanny were they?
- How well did they answer the interview questions?
- How closely did their answers match you expectations?
- How relevant is their previous experience?
- How good were there references?
- Are they experienced enough?
- How well do they match your criteria?
- How keen did they seem to get the job?
- How good is their availability?
- How did they feel about the package on offer?
- How well did you feel you met their expectations?
- Insure you have copies of the following: references, Qualifications, Driving license, passport
- Discuss responsibilities
- Discuss house rules
- Discuss the salary and benefits
- Discuss Start Date
- Assess their key strengths and areas requiring improvement.
- Write a few summary comments about the interview
Before Making the offer
Think carefully as to whether the person is right for your family.
Would you feel entirely happy leaving the children in their care? Would the children feel happy to be left with them?
- Do you and the child carer share similar views on child care?
- Do you agree on all the issues that are important?
- Once you have found a suitable carer, you should offer them the position as soon as possible since they may be attending other interviews.
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