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Choosing somebody to work in your home and care for your child or children, is one of the biggest decisions we as parents often have to make. The horror stories of abusive nannies or the reality of dishonesty and theft are all factors that we must take in account when considering who you will bring into your home. Ideally you are looking for the perfect person who will fit into your family, and the main avenue to finding this person is through the interview process. Having a well-considered and thoughtful interview is critical to ruling out unsuitable candidates and hopefully finding a wonderful nanny to care for your home and family. We have put together some interview tips and questions to help you have some direction when going through the process of hiring a new nanny.

SUGGESTED INTERVIEW STRUCTURE

A nanny interview will normally take 45 minutes to 1 hour. It is advisable to have the first interview away from your home and children, I like to meet candidates at a coffee shop conveniently located for them and me, and as they are usually making use of public transport I do my best to find somewhere easily accessible for them. If after the interview you are interested in hiring the candidate, you can then arrange a more informal second interview (or a “trial day”) at your home so that the children can spend some time with her to ensure that you have made the right choice.

A formal structure of the interview ensures that all the points are covered that you want to discuss. This will make the interview fair and productive for both you and the candidate. However, you should try to put the candidate at ease from the beginning as she will then be more responsive to your questions. Once you are both settled, explain how the interview is going to be structured so that she knows what to expect.

TELL THE CANDIDATE ABOUT YOUR FAMILY AND CHILDREN

Give her some back ground on your family, how many children, ages, what work you and your husband do etc.

 

ASK THE CANDIDATE ABOUT HER OWN BACKGROUND AND FAMILY

  • Where does your family come from?
  • Have you got a partner?
  • Do you have any children of your own, and if so what ages?
  • If it is a live-in position, does the candidate have somebody to take care of her children while she is away?

 

TELL THE CANDIDATE ABOUT THE POSITION

You will need to describe the position that you are offering in detail. Set out below is a suggested list of issues that should be covered:

  • Start date
  • Hours of work
  • Duties and responsibilities, relating to both the child/ren and around the house. If you require something more than childcare duties (e.g. housekeeping, laundry etc.) this should be clearly discussed
  • Try and describe what sort of routine you expect her to follow with your child/ren
  • Wages and when she will be paid (weekly / monthly etc.)
  • House rules such as friends visiting, use of phone etc.
  • If it is a live-in position, describe and show the candidate the accommodation.
  • Whether she will be required to prepare all the children’s meals and whether there are specific dietary requirements
  • Any medical issues relating to the children of which the candidate should be aware.

RUN THROUGH A LIST OF QUESTIONS RELATING TO THE CANDIDATE’S ABILITIES AS A CHILDCARER, HER VIEWS ON DISCIPLINE, ACTIVITIES FOR THE CHILDREN ETC.

Try to use open-ended questions that will prompt for informative answers, such as questions starting with What? When? Why? How? Where? Or tell me about… This will avoid just getting Yes and No answers.

 

ACTIVITIES

  • What are your favourite activities with children?
  • How would you occupy our children during the day?
  • Have you had experience of potty training and how do you go about potty training children (if applicable)?

 

MEALS

  • What kind of food would you prepare for our children?
  • If appropriate: Have you prepared a baby’s bottle before? Used a sterilizer?
    Weaned a baby onto solid food?

 

DISCIPLINE

  • What would you do with a child that throws a tantrum?
  • What would you do with a child that refuses to eat?

 

EMERGENCIES

  • What would you do if a child was choking?
  • Have you done any first aid training?
  • Would you be willing to do a first aid course if required?

 

RELIABILITY

  • How is your time keeping?
  • How many days sick leave have you had in the last year?

 

GO THROUGH THE CV

It is important to ask the candidate to describe her previous childcare positions. Working through her previous work experience you may consider asking the following questions in relation to each position:

  • How did you spend your days with the children?
  • Why did you leave?
  • What did you enjoy most about the job?
  • What did you least enjoy about the job?
  • You should also read through the candidate’s written references, and raise any questions you may have in relation to those references.

If the candidate has any childcare or other qualifications, ask her to describe the course – how long it was for, and what the course covered.

QUESTIONS FROM THE CANDIDATE

Encourage the candidate to ask questions about you and the family set up, specific details about the jobs, routines, hours etc.

BRINGING THE INTERVIEW TO A CLOSE

Once you are both satisfied that the interview is over and that you have covered everything, bring the interview to a close. You will need to let the candidate know exactly what the next steps are.

If you want to offer her the job it is worth making this clear as she may be attending other interviews and you may lose the opportunity of employing her. If she does want to take up the position, then you can arrange a separate time for her to come back and have an informal second interview with the children and discuss the nature of the contract together.

However, if you are unsure and want to see other nannies, then tell her that you will be in touch. Be honest that you are interviewing other ladies, and give her a date by when you will get back to her. Please honor that and send her a message or give her a call letting her know that you will not be offering her the position, if you choose to hire somebody else.

Have you already hired a wonderful nanny and now need to get compliant? Make sure both she and you are protected by having a legally compliant employment contract in place, as well as up to date UIF registration. Email [email protected] today to start the process!