How to Interview a Nanny: A Must Read for Parents
Finding quality childcare is one of the most challenging things about working outside of the home when you have small children. Very little compares to angst most parents feel when they begin their search or start the nanny interview process. It is a very important process and decision. For most parents it is unfamiliar territory. They have never been an employer and have no idea how to interview a nanny. Experienced professional nannies can usually help guide the process. But let’s go over some interview topics and questions to help things along.
The questions and topics covered in this article are all important points to consider. But there is no doubt that the number one recommendation in how to interview a nanny is to trust your instincts. Of course, you will be nervous leaving your child(ren) in the hands of another, no matter who that is, but in the end, you should feel good about your candidate choice.
Pre-screen— To spare everyone time, make sure your key criteria match up. This screening should be done even before the interview is set up. If there are deal breakers on either side, why bother setting up an interview? Pre-screen by email and a phone call discussion to be sure you are a good fit on paper. Confirm availability, wages range fit, experience criteria, if this is a W2’d position (taxes withheld), and any other important topics that are important to you.
Meeting and Safety— the nanny may feel more comfortable for the initial meeting to be held in a public place. This is smart. Unfortunately, there have been numerous scams that have targeted caregivers. Although, it may be more of an inconvenience to you, a cognizant employer will offer this option when setting up the interview.
Philosophies— do your discipline styles match up? Are you comfortable with theirs? Or describe your discipline style and be sure the nanny would be comfortable adhering to following suit with your style.
Observe interaction with your child— This can be a tough since most children won’t warm immediately to a stranger. But does the nanny seem genuinely interested in your child or is this just a gig until something better comes along?
Just as chemistry between parents and nanny must match up, you should assess personality and chemistry fit between nanny and child(ren).
References and Background Checks— Inquire if the nanny has a list of references to provide from previous employers. Are there any time gaps in employment history? If so why? Will the nanny be amenable to submitting to a background and motor vehicle record check?
Job Expectations— Review job expectations and duties. Be sure to be detailed and do not assume your ideas of what a nanny’s job entails match. If expectations are not clear, it is inevitable that either you will be disappointed in job performance or the nanny will feel resentful that they were not made aware of what they were signing up for. For more on this check out Great Expectations.
Questions to ask— Only you know what is most important to you. Take a few minutes to figure out those key points and make a list of which points you would like to touch on during the interview. Want more guidance on how to interview a nanny? Click here for an extremely comprehensive list of specific questions.
Communication and Conflict Resolution— Inevitably issues will come up. Is the nanny able to maturely handle differences in opinion? Assertive enough to voice concerns? Mature and respectful?
About Nanny Shares— If you are interested in nanny sharing, be sure to assess the nanny’s receptiveness to the arrangement. Don’t assume the nanny knows what a nanny share is. Describe your ideal set up. Be sure to confirm the nanny is experienced enough for such a position. There is much more for the nanny to manage. Be sure he or she would be able to do so safely. Strong organizational and communication skills are key in nanny shares.
Contracts–So much discussed, so much to remember. I assure you that 6 months down the road, someone will forget which holidays were agreed upon as paid or unpaid or all the little job duties listed. Be sure the nanny would be comfortable signing a contract. Explain this is to protect all parties involved and your relationship. Free templates available Via The Village.
Best wishes with your search. And be sure to check out Via The Village for further guidance.