Steps of Nanny Interview Process
Before interviewing a Nanny, you should know the requirements and skills needed for the job and have a thorough job description available. A standard interview process has multiple steps:
- Review the nanny’s resume, the profile on a job board, or get background information about the nanny from the nanny agency to determine if they meet the minimum requirements and are within the desired compensation range for the job.
- Conduct a screening interview via phone or video conferencing to determine the nanny’s level of interest in the position and ask your most important interview questions. This 30-minute call can determine if the candidate is a potential fit for the nanny job.
- Meet the nanny in person to get to know them without the children present. Often, families and nannies meet for coffee or tea.
- Introduce the nanny to the child or children in a neutral, stress-free environment like a neighborhood park and see how they interact.
“It’s time-consuming to screen and interview potential nannies,” shares Lisa M., a working mother in Los Angeles. “I look for an investment in child care training and I always call their references after conducting a background check.”
Screening Questions to Consider
When interviewing nannies, it is important to remember you are vetting their qualifications to care for your children. You are hiring a nanny, not trying to make a friend or help someone who needs a job. Ask each question in a neutral tone of voice and be careful you do not give them the answer you want. For example, you want to say, “tell me about a time you handled an emergency” instead of, “you have handled an emergency when you had to comfort a child who fell and scraped their knee, right?”
You want to hire a nanny who makes you feel confident that they are qualified to provide great care for your children. Asking about and hearing stories on how nannies interact with children and what ages they have cared for is a great way to learn about their skills. The responses to various questions provide insights and help you learn more about the nanny’s skill set.
Here are a few questions to ask in a screening call:
- What training and certifications have you completed? An investment in professional development and continuing education can identify nannies who are committed to providing the highest level of child care. Current CPR and First Aid certifications are often required, and a Child Care certification or Nanny Certification may be desired. Lifeguard and car seat installation training is generally a bonus.
- Tell me about a time you had to handle an emergency. With this question, you can learn about a Nanny’s ability to manage the unexpected. If they have never been in an emergency, then it’s likely they are early in their career and you or someone you trust should be accessible while they care for your kids. If the nanny can share an emergency experience and communicate that they handled it as well as can be expected, the nanny may be ready to care for your children when you are out of town.
- Tell me about a time a child would not listen to you. What was the situation and how did you respond? With this question, you can get a better idea of how a nanny manages stress and their approach to discipline. Did the nanny send the child to their room for a time out; did they take a different approach and offer a reward; or did the nanny delay and leave the matter for the parents? There is no right answer to this question, just make sure the response is appropriate and that it would be consistent with how the child is managed by you, other daycare workers, or teachers at school.
- Are you willing to get a flu/covid shot? Vaccinations benefit the young and elderly as these populations are the most at risk of having serious consequences when they get ill. A flu shot may not benefit a healthy adult as much, but a nanny’s willingness to get vaccinated to reduce exposure to the children in their care is an important insight. Vaccinations are a personal decision, but it can be an important topic to cover during the interview.
- Would you consent to work in a home with cameras? Families are not required to get a nanny’s consent as families are legally allowed to install a nanny camera in their home, except in private areas such as the bathroom or a live-in nanny’s bedroom. Many nannies are uncomfortable with cameras feeling that families should trust them; however, checking in on a nanny can provide a sense of extra security for the family.
- Do you have any pictures of the children you have cared for on your social media? Ideally, the answer is ‘no’ to protect the privacy of the children. Only the family should post photos of their children. However, if the nanny pulls out their phone and shows you photos, ask them if they have received the parents’ or guardians’ permission prior to posting. Some families may be comfortable with the nanny sharing photos.
- Do you stay in touch with children that have been in your care? This question is useful when you are looking to hire a long-term nanny. Good nannies develop close bonds with the children and the children care for the nanny. A nanny’s response shares if the nanny has a history of leaving families on good terms and if the nanny appreciates their connections and attachments with the children in their care.
- Would you consent to work in a home with the parents working from home? Many nannies enjoy working with the children while the parents are working from home and some nannies will refuse to work if the parents are in the home. If you will be in the home while the nanny is caring for the children, make sure the expectations and roles are clear.