Tips for Interviewing Your Next Nanny

The thought of leaving your children alone with a stranger is particularly difficult one to come to terms with, yet many of us need to do it.

The best way to become comfortable with a new nanny is to interview her extensively, ask for testimonials, call her references,  check out her Facebook page or Linkedin profile and Google her name. A short, but focused interview will tell you a lot, but you need to ask some targeted questions. I have compiled a list of what could be described as behavioural questions  below.

As she gives her answer, try to gauge how good the candidate is at communication, how does she manage her time, her job duties and the various demands of looking after a child?  Then determine if it fits into what you are looking for in an employee working with your children.

  • Can you describe an the most stressful situation you encountered as a nanny (or babysitter, or maid) and how you coped with it.
  • Explain to me how you and the parents set a goal and you managed to achieve it.
  • Have you ever had to conform to an unreasonable rule or request by your employers, and how did you feel about that?
  • Explain how on one occasion you had to go above and beyond what was called for in your job description
  • Have you ever had too many things to do in too little time, and how did you prioritise your tasks.
  • Have you ever had to deal with an emergency in the home and if so, how did you react?
  • What strategies do you use to manage conflict?
  • Have you ever been in a difficult situation which you managed to resolve by showing iniative and taking the lead?
  • Have you ever been in a situation where you felt that a parent’s point of view was not correct and you managed to convince them to see things your way?
  • Tell me about a time when a child you were babysitting or being a nanny for, didn’t like the situation, was afraid, or crying, or threw a tantrum, and you were able to successfully deal with the situation
  • Explain an incident where you used good judgment and clear thinking to solve a problem at work.
  • What was the toughest decision you made last year?
  • Describe a time where you saw a potential behavioral problem developing with the child you were minding, but managed to avoid it.
  • What strategies do you use to: Get a baby to sleep, prevent a toddler from hurting himself, to calm a child down who is crying because she has just seen her mother leave for work, defuse children fighting together.
  • Explain how once you managed to motivate a child to do something he initially refused to do.
  • Describe how once you were forced to make an unpopular decision.
  • Was there ever a time you when felt you had to tell parents you could no longer be a nanny (or babysitter, or maid) for them?
  • Have you ever had to deal with a very upset parent, and if so, how did you manage the situation?
  • Describe a time when you had set your sights on a particular goal, but for some unplanned for reasons, could not achieve them.
Just select a handful of the questions above and they should give you a good picture of the behavioral attributes of your candidate. There will of course be many other questions you will ask which are specific to your situation.
Nannies, babysitters and maids, you can get a good insight into your own behaviour by thinking about those questions and of course they will help you in an interview with a parent.

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