Key to Hiring Your Potential Nanny: Top Questions to Ask

You’ve decided that hiring a nanny is the right choice for you, your children, and your family as a whole. We couldn’t agree more! Sitting down for an in-person interview with a potential candidate can be a daunting process, particularly if you’ve never hired a nanny before. Of course, we at Elite Nannies will do everything we can to prepare you both for this process, but in this article, we offer some key questions that should be included when you are preparing to chat with the nanny candidate for hire.

1. What prompted you to desire to enter the field of child care?

Of course you have their resume at hand, which lists all their job postings, education and related certificates and extra training, like CPR. But you should explore why this individual decided to make child care their profession, as looking after children takes dedication and skill. Learning why your nanny chose this field says a lot about who they are, both within their profession and outside of it.

2. Why are you interested in this position?

There may be several things about your family and household that appeals to the candidate, such as your children’s age groups, or the city in which you live, or any one of a number of other compelling factors.

3. Why did you leave your last job?

You will learn a lot about this person when they explain why they left their old position; was it a difference of opinion on child rearing, for example, or was it something as simple as their old employer relocating to a new city? Ask for as much detail about their former job as they are comfortable giving

4. What do you do in your off hours?

No doubt your new nanny has plenty of interests, hobbies and passions outside her professional life. Ask about them, and the answers may spark an idea – if they are studying a new language, for example, why not ask whether tutoring a child could be included in their duties? Or, for example, if they are heavily involved in a sport, explore whether they would be willing to teach it to your child.

5. Are you willing to take an extra course or certification?

It may happen that a potential hire clicks with you and the children right away, but there’s a snag – the nanny hasn’t cooked for a child with lactose intolerance before. That is a minor hurdle, easily remedied by the nanny taking a few classes on meal preparation for this dietary requirement. Come to an understanding that it’s an important duty, and you will pay for it if the nanny will enroll in a course. Solutions like these are easily discovered if both parties work together!

6. Here’s a “what if,” how would you handle it?

Give the nanny a scenario like this: “our four-year-old has tantrums when he doesn’t get his favorite snack before supper. How would you handle it? Testing their on-the-spot thinking in stressful situations is absolutely within the bounds of a thorough interview, and you are entitled to a glimpse into their way of dealing with situations like these, which arise in all families.

7. Where do you see your professional life in five or ten years?

Asking a candidate how they see their future unfolding will give you a clear insight into their hopes, dreams and plans. That’s important information when you’re thinking of your own family’s future.

8. Do you have any questions for me?

It’s easy to overlook this when you’re the one doing the interviewing, but it’s only fair that your new nanny (or potential one) gets to ask questions about you, your children, and any duties you may ask them to take on that aren’t on the formal list given in the job posting.

9. What is your “favorite” age of children to care for?

 If you’ve got three toddlers and one teenager, ask your candidate what ages they have experience with, which age group they enjoy most, and ask them to give you examples of how they helped those children thrive.

10. Are there any duties you would prefer not to tackle?

For example, perhaps the nanny you’re interviewing isn’t keen on pet care, or isn’t licensed to drive. If this is crucial to the job, obviously they must either take on that task, get their driver’s license or you must look further for the right candidate. Ask them to be candid, which will avoid potential problems down the road.

11. What are your childcare philosophies?

Ask the candidate to sum up their beliefs about tending to children, their attitudes and beliefs about healthy ways to discipline, and why they think they are a good fit for your family. Describe a typical day in your household, and ask the nanny how they see themselves fitting in.

Chances are, you may meet several candidates whom you want to interview in person for this all-important role in your home. These questions will help you navigate the first interview with them easily, and of course you can set up additional interviews, particularly if you think of other matters you would like to discuss once the first interview has concluded.

Remember that there are questions you are not allowed to ask, (race, religion, age, etc.) and if you are unsure whether a question falls within the legal and ethical boundaries, you probably shouldn’t ask it. Interviewing a nanny for this crucial role in your home can be a little nerve-racking – we understand! But remember, the candidate is bound to be a little nervous too, but once you’ve both had a chance to sit down, take a deep breath and get chatting, no doubt the interview will run smoothly for everyone!