5 Essential Nanny Interview Questions
Ask the right questions to find the best nanny for your family
I’ve found that half of being successful in life comes down to asking the right questions. The right questions are vital—especially when you are deciding who will care for your child! There are so many reasons to hire childcare help, and ALL of them are valid. The person you choose to hire will be an extension of yourself and will be there to love and care for your child just like you would. This means that asking the right questions is key to finding the best nanny possible for your family.
But before you jump into the interview process, you and your partner should first do some prep work. If you’ve had childcare previously, debrief about what worked and what didn’t with the last nanny. Hiring a new nanny is the perfect time to iron out some wrinkles you had with previous help. You should also discuss how you will prepare your child for getting comfortable with their new caregiver so they’re accepting and open-minded to having a new friend in their life.
Once you feel comfortable in what you’re looking for, create a list of all your questions ahead of the interview. If a candidate isn’t sure how to answer, be prepared to explain why you want to know the answer. Understanding your family values and non-negotiables will help you get a better sense of theirs.
A thorough nanny interview involves multiple rounds of meetings with the candidate so that you can get a sense of who they are, how they interact with your child and how they will nanny. Once you cover basics like salary requirements and working hours, ask your potential nanny these five questions to determine whether they’re a good fit for your family.
#1 “What does being a nanny mean to you?”
This question gives them a chance to explain their background and will help set the stage for follow-up questions. There are some common motivations for nannying—love of children, career-building, starting in early childhood education and more. Ask follow-up questions based on their answers. What do they hope to gain from this position? Why are they interested in working for your family? What do they consider to be a nanny’s responsibilities? These answers will give you a better sense of the candidate’s values and childrearing style.
#2 “What is your childcare experience?”
Of course, you should ask about their childcare experience. Find out how long they’ve been caring for children, what age groups they’re most comfortable working with and whether they have any formal training or education in childcare. If they have previous experience as a nanny, now is a good time to ask about their last job and why they no longer nanny for that family.
For some childcare situations, experience babysitting for family members may be sufficient. Other situations, however, may require specialized training. It all depends on your family’s needs! If your family has pets, ask them about their experience and comfort level there, as well. Fluffy is part of the family, after all.
#3 “How do you tend to handle behavioral issues in children?”
Every child acts out now and again—trust me, I know. Ask a candidate about how they would handle behavioral issues. I recommend explaining different disciplinary situations that have already occurred so that the candidate gets an idea of how your child behaves and how you have handled past situations. If you have multiple children, discuss how the siblings interact and whether there are any common issues between them. Feel free to ask the candidate how they would help end sibling arguments.
You also want to get a sense of how they discipline children to be sure that their style aligns with yours. Here is where you should ask for specific examples from their experience. This is an important component of parenting. With so many disciplinary styles, it’s crucial that you have a crystal-clear understanding of whether you and the candidate align.
#4 “What are some things you do to comfort children?”
From throwing “hangry” tantrums to reacting to an injury, children need to be both disciplined and comforted. Ask your potential nanny how they usually handle an upset child and discuss instances where your child needed some extra love. This question will show you how they demonstrate compassion and how they’ll respond in serious situations.
#5 “What makes you the best candidate?”
Every nanny candidate will have something about them that makes them special—a love of learning, a passion for adventure, an eye for organization. Find out what that unique quality is in the candidate to help narrow down the best of the best. This also gives the candidate a chance to brag a little about what makes them extraordinary and add any other points that may be important for you to know in the interview.
If you’re using a job listing site, be as descriptive as possible in the job posting. This will help you simplify the hiring process so you’re only interviewing nannies who are likely to be a good fit for your family. For example, if you’re looking for a nanny with experience caring for children with special needs or one that’s comfortable doing light housework, include those details in the description so only qualified candidates will apply.
Interested in learning more about introducing childcare into your family? Check out Episode 8 of my web series—#WindyCityNanny—over on YouTube!