Nannies! How to Ace Your Next Interview
Nannies who exude professionalism are the candidates most likely to be chosen for hire. Parents may not even realize that they want a professional nanny. They may not even know there is such a thing as a professional nanny. The interview is your chance to showcase yourself. Parents want to know that they are leaving their child in the hands of someone competent and highly skilled.
It is important that you prepare for the interview. You may be interviewing with parents who have never conducted an interview before. They will be relieved to be guided by your expertise.
Creating a portfolio will provide structure to the process. A portfolio will include all the information you should pass along to the family. It should include a cover letter, resume, and recommendation letters and/or references. Your portfolio is a window into the types of experiences that you can provide for the family you are interviewing with. It will increase your chances of hire exponentially.
If you would like additional guidance, Nanny Know How provides professional career nanny consulting service.
What should be included in your interview portfolio?
1. Cover Letter
A cover letter is your introduction to the family and includes your childcare philosophy. Discuss your work history and background with children. There are several websites that will provide sample cover letters and even sample childcare philosophy statements. But personalizing your cover letter to the family you are interviewing for will be the most meaningful. Include the reasons that you would be the perfect nanny for their family. If their child loves swimming, be sure to mention if you have lifeguarded. If they seek someone who enjoys reading to children, be sure to mention if you volunteered to read with children at the elementary school. Providing examples like these will demonstrate your genuine interest.
In your cover letter, briefly mention anything that sets you apart. Often, families will choose a nanny not based on years of experience or education level, but on something like whether the nanny likes the outdoors or whether s/he can help the children with their Mandarin homework. So list extracurricular activities you enjoy, such as sports, photography, cooking, playing an instrument, etc. Include all languages that you speak fluently or conversationally. Any of those little extras that don’t fit in your resume.
- Name, address, phone number, and email at the top.
- Objective—Example: “Seeking a full-time position where I can utilize my knowledge of early childhood education and my love for children.”
- Experience—Experience should be listed in chronological order beginning with your current or most recent position. Include two to three duties you performed at each position. Start each description with an action verb (provided, performed, assisted, guided, scheduled, etc). You also might include your starting or ending salary. And if you’d like, you can also list your reason for leaving the position.
- Education—List your education (high school or college diploma). Include any classes that you have taken in high school or college that were related to childcare, child development, education, or psychology.
- Certifications or Classes—Include certifications such as CPR and first aid. If you are not currently certified, now’s the time to schedule a class and get that done. I have yet to meet a family that has not required this of their nanny! List any seminars attended or related classes that you may have taken.
3. Letters of Recommendation
Very little trumps a heartfelt recommendation from another parent. At least one letter will dramatically enhance your profile. Two to three letter are ideal. If there is something in particular you would like a previous employer to highlight in the letter, be sure to specify. They will likely welcome suggestions, as some parents have never written a reference letter.
4. List of References
It is not necessary to include this with your resume. But be sure to mention that you have a list of references that you can provide upon request. Out of respect for previous employers’ privacy, be sure to ask permission before sharing their contact information.
The reference page should list the contact information for your last three employers. Include their name, phone number, and email address. Also give a brief description of your role with each employer (example: “I worked for the K Family for 3 years as a Nanny/House Manager. When I started, their children were 2, 5, and 7.”).
It is recommended to list these references in order of which family is likely to provide the best reference. The family you are interviewing with may only contact the first one or two references.
5. List of Services You Offer
There is a wide range of duties that families may expect of you. Responsibilities can range from basic childcare to household management and housekeeping responsibilities. Prior to your interview it will be beneficial to list which services you offer and which you do not. Discuss which responsibilities you consider as general childcare responsibilities and which services you will offer in addition to general childcare services.
This is a very important step. Clear communication from the start will ensure that a proper rate is negotiated depending on job requirements. Once you accept a job offer, you can go more in depth on the topic and include a list of duties in your contract. A detailed understanding will ensure you are not taken advantage of and the family does not feel you are falling short of Great Expectations. Putting all agreements in writing will ensure there is a clear understanding. Via The Village has nanny contract templates available for editing.
6. List of Questions to Ask the Family
Not only is the family interviewing you, you are interviewing them, as well! Finding a family that is a good fit is extremely important. Ask a lot of questions! Bring a list. This list includes questions ranging from “Tell me about your child’s daily schedule” to “What is your discipline philosophy?”.
To go above and beyond, you could include things such as a sample daily log/schedule, list of age-appropriate toys/books for each age group, list of local kid-friendly activities, sample activities or photos of projects you’ve done with kids, sample emergency consent form, sample emergency contact list form, favorite recipes of yours that you cook for your charges (include photos if you have any), etc.
So there you have it, nannies. Follow these steps to ace your next interview! Be sure you have someone look it over to proofread and/or point out any areas where clarification may be needed. If you would like more professional guidance or 1-on-1 consulting, be sure to visit Nanny Know How.