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Interview Tips for Parents - Hiring a Childcare Professional

You’ve posted a job and found a number of potential candidates - but how do you decide who to hire?  Interviews are a crucial part of the process of finding the perfect Childcare Professional for your family.  Wondering what questions to ask?  We’re here to help with our easy step-by-step guide to getting the most out of interviewing candidates.

Step One:  Pre-interview Preparation

Before you start interviewing, make sure you are clear about what their job will involve and what you are looking for.  Have a clear description of the job ready.  Go through the candidate’s CV carefully and look for areas you wish to question him/her on.  It’s a good idea to prepare a list of questions so you have a structure to follow.  This also makes it easier to make notes during the interview to help compare candidates.

Step Two: The Interview

An interview should last between 40 minutes and one hour.  We suggest planning your questions around the following structure:

  • Tell the candidate about your family and children.
  • Explain the position (confirm hours of work, any household duties, your child’s routine and which aspects the carer will be responsible for, i.e. playgroups, swimming lessons, homework).
  • Ask the candidate to introduce themself, and ask what they are looking for in a new job.
  • Go through their CV in detail, asking them to describe previous positions in childcare.
  • Run through a list of questions relating to their abilities as a child carer, their views on discipline, activities for children, and questions relating to their own background.
  • Ask the candidate if they have any questions.

Need some inspiration?  Here are our top ten questions to ask…

  • What was the most challenging/enjoyable aspect of your previous position?
  • What do you feel is the most enjoyable/interesting/challenging aspect of caring for children?
  • How would you plan a typical day?
  • How would you discipline a child my son/daughter’s age? Give them specific examples and ask her to comment e.g. What would you do if Peter refused to take a bath?
  • Ask the candidate if she has experience in specific skills you require of her, i.e. perhaps you have a toddler soon to be going through potty training, ask the candidate if she has experience in this field.
  • What do you think is important in my child’s / children’s diet? How would you plan their meals and what would you cook?
  • How would you react in an emergency, i.e. what would you do if Peter was choking? Have you ever been in an emergency with a child?
  • Do you have any future plans (attending school, moving, having children of your own) that would affect how long you can stay with this job?
  • What was your worst experience in childcare and how did you resolve it?
  • Tell me about your childhood and your current relationship with your family.

Top Interview Tips

  • Only ask questions that start with What, When, Why, How, Where or Tell me about – this avoids Yes and No answers.
  • Plan the interview so your children can be introduced at the end.  Take note of how the nanny interacts with them and how they respond to the nanny.   Does the applicant seem patient, caring, and attentive? Is she comfortable holding and playing with your little one? It’s not necessarily a deal-breaker if your baby is crying or seems disinterested - what’s more telling is how the candidate handles the situation. 
  • Finally, trust your intuition! Rely on your intuition and observations when evaluating the nanny’s responses, mannerisms and appearance.  A parent’s impression of a nanny candidate can be a telling sign if the nanny is a good fit for the family.

Step Three:  Don’t let them be the one that got away!

If you loved the candidate that you just met, tell them!   Don’t lose your opportunity to employ your perfect Mary Poppins!

We’ve got some more great advice on interviews from Nanny Agency Director – Vanessa Cook

We’d love to hear from you about how you’re finding interviewing candidates, and if you’ve found a fantastic candidate through Findababysitter.com.