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How to Inverview a Nanny

Asking the right questions to find the right candidate

by Heather Dubuque  |  5121 views  |  5 comments  |        Rate this now! 

Second to making the decision to hire a nanny for your family, choosing the right candidate is extremely important and requires a great amount of thought and consideration. The relationship between a nanny and his/her employer is personal, unique and an extension of each other's close family. Finding the perfect match for your family is the first step in forming a lasting and growing relationship between everyone involved, especially the children. Regardless of whether you're hiring a nanny or a babysitter, it is important to meet with every candidate for an in-depth interview and a chance to see how they interact with your family. This process is a delicate balance of knowing what questions to ask and how to communicate the responsibilities required for your family. Communicating the position's requirements at the initial meeting begins the relationship on a positive note. Never assume that an interviewee knows, or is comfortable with, the job requirements of your position. For example, a nanny's primary responsibility is to take care of your children, not to perform household chores such as cooking or cleaning. Anything beyond such tasks as picking up toys or making your children's lunch should be discussed at the beginning, and proper compensation might be required. It's more than appropriate to ask a nanny to make family meals, do your child's laundry, or other duties; however, communicating and discussing these needs from the beginning allows everyone to start off on the right foot.

Prior to the interview, write down a list of the questions you want to ask the candidate as well as all of the job's responsibilities so nothing gets overlooked. Take notes on his/her responses and how you felt about their answers to your questions. When considering your list of questions, keep in mind that this, like any other job interview, needs to be conducted in a professional manner and your questions should reflect such professionalism. Take this opportunity to understand how he/she will interact with your family on a daily basis as well as how they would handle any possible crisis situations.

Sample Interview Questions:

We're looking for a nanny that is excited to grow with our family, are you able to agree to a yearlong commitment?
  • Don't be afraid to let your candidate know that you are looking for a commitment. Ideally the relationship will flourish into one that lasts for more than a year, but starting with this milestone is less intimidating and allows you to sit down together as the year is coming to an end and evaluate the situation.
Please discuss how you handled difficult situations with a child?
  • Feel free to be specific, especially if it's a subject that pertains to your family such as inconsolable crying, biting, temper tantrums, etc.

About the Author

Heather Dubuque is a CEO and President of the Lillian Nanny Agency, a firm she founded in Nashville, Tenn.

Read more by Heather Dubuque

5 comments so far...

  • I am a caregiver (not a babysitter, nor a nanny), and I was once asked "Is there something about young children that you don't enjoy?"

    I'd never been asked anything like that before - the assumption tends to be that I love every little thing about children or I wouldn't be in the business! I answered honestly: whining. I really loathe whining, and work diligently to eliminate it from a child's behavioural repertoire. The parent was very pleased with my answer. "If you'd said there was nothing you disliked, I wouldn't have believed you. I'm his mother, and I don't love everythig about that job, either!" she said.

    Turns out that mom, before retooling as a lawyer, had worked for several years in a daycare centre! So, please be aware - just because there's some aspect of the job a caregiver doesn't like, doesn't necessarily make it a *weakness*.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by MaryP on 27th August 2007

  • Finding the right person to be with my kids is the most important choice in the world - not just for me but for them, too! Thank you for sharing these tips!! I'll be looking for more tips from you :)

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by on 24th August 2007

  • Excellent article -- real, clear and accessible tips! Would love to read more from this author.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Marie on 17th April 2007

  • Thank you for this! I have already shared this article with a few friends.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Jumpin on 15th April 2007

  • Very helpful article. Great tips on questions to ask!

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Victoria on 11th April 2007