8 Questions To Ask Prospective Nannies

When hiring the right person for any job, there is a lot to consider. Finding the best person is not an easy task. Now, imagine trying to hire someone for a position dissimilar to any other position – someone to take care of your precious children. Nannying is unlike any other “normal” 9 to 5 job. You are having someone come into your home, your personal space, and most importantly, into your family’s life. Therefore, when you are looking for the best fit nanny, what you have to consider is going to look a lot different than any other job.

Each family is going to be looking for a unique set of qualities in a nanny. While one family might be looking for vast experience with infant care, another is searching mostly based off of personality. There isn’t one “right” way. The most vital thing is that each family finds what they are looking for.  Hence, you want to be prepared when you are going to be interviewing nannies. Having a well-thought out list of questions you will be asking is imperative. The goal is to have a genuine and honest conversation with your potential nanny. Knowing the best questions to ask is going to be a very advantageous tool in finding the best fit nanny! So, go on and ask away!

1. Background in childcare/nannying

Like any job interview, you are going to want to know about the person’s previous job experiences. How long has he or she been in childcare? There is a big difference between a couple months of experience and a couple of years. Longevity in each position is something to notice as well.  You will want to understand why it is their last position ended. Was it a mutual ending? Is this relationship concluding on a positive note? If not, how come? Having an idea of your potential nanny’s background will give you a better prediction of what is to come.

2. Specific details of experience

Now that you have a general understanding of your potential nanny’s job experiences, you will want to go further into detail. Knowing what age ranges he or she has experience with is important. Obviously, we know that a 3-month-old can be quite different than a 3-year-old. Make sure you know what ages he or she feels most confident taking care of. Furthermore, ask about the types of activities he or she would perform within those age ranges. This is the time when the job seeker can demonstrate his or her skills and knowledge!

3. Childcare philosophy

Not every person has the same viewpoint when it comes to childrearing. Thus, this is going to be a critical question to ask each prospective nanny. What are their ideas around discipline? How would they handle a chaotic situation? What do they feel the role of the nanny should be? If your baby is uncontrollably crying, how would the nanny react? Or, if your toddler was throwing a tantrum, would the nanny be able to remain calm?

4. Personal interests

What does your nanny like to do in his or her spare time? This is where you ask about hobbies and interests to find out more about his or her personality. If personality is high on your list of what you’re looking for, this is a big area to focus on. Get to know your interviewee by asking them what they enjoy doing outside of work.

5. Family background

This is another area to focus on when finding out more about his or her character traits. A person’s upbringing plays a huge role in who they are today. What is her or her family like? Does he or she have any siblings, and if so, are they close? Knowing more about where they came from will give you a greater understanding of their values, morals and beliefs.

6. Likes and dislikes

Here’s another topic to get to know your potential nanny. Having an awareness of what he or she likes about nannying will give you a better idea if your family would be a good fit. If you’re looking for more of a household manager position (doing laundry, running errands, etc.), then you will be looking for someone who likes doing these tasks. Hopefully your nanny’s likes will match up with the role you have in mind for the position.

7. Communication style

Communication is key – especially when it comes to a nanny and parent relationship. If any issues or concerns arise, how will the nanny be able to communicate to you? It’s paramount that you both have an open and honest rapport. Asking questions about this topic will help you hire an appropriate nanny that can handle anything that comes his or her way.

8. Why, why, why

Ask your potential nanny their favorite thing about being in childcare. Why do they want to be a nanny? How did they get into this field? Finding out the why behind what they do gives you insight into his or her passions and aspirations. If your interviewee appears wishy washy with this question, you may want to opt for the nanny who knows exactly why this job is his or her calling.

Image: Darren Johnson/Flickr