I have seen so many wonderful nannies not get the job because of bad interviews. Please follow these tips, and I promise you will have a wonderful shot at getting your dream job! Sometimes nannies are not sure what to say during their interviews, so my sample questions and statements will provide you with some solid guidelines. Follow the tips below the samples for a wonderful interview with a family!
Sample Interview Questions For The Family
- Why are you looking for a nanny now?
Listen to the answer. If their last nanny quit or was fired, ask WHY. If the nanny was fired, ask what she could have done better/differently.
- Can you tell me specifically what you WANT in a nanny?
Listen to the parents’ needs and wants, and make sure they match yours.
- Have you had a nanny before? If so, what worked well with this nanny and what did not work so well?
Ask them for examples of what their former nanny or baby nurse did (or situations that occurred) that they liked or did not like. This will help you understand as best you can about the position and their preferences.
- Do you have any concerns about my fit for your family? If so, can you tell me about that so I may address them?
This is a GREAT question to ask. Families often have nerves that we can’t plan for, so it’s great to get it out in the open. Are they worried about your availability because you’re still in school? Are they concerned about your transportation capabilities? By asking these questions, you can easily explain that, “School will not affect my job, since I do it on weekends.”
- What do you think is the best part of this job and what is the hardest part?
Force parents to think about the details of the job, not just about the person they want to hire; this will put them in your shoes. It can be challenging for parents to play a bit of role reversal, but it’s important. They’ll think long and hard about the true nature of the job; cooking dinner with young twins may be a challenge, but the best part could be developing a strong relationship with an entire family.
Nanny Do’s and Don’ts
DO Learn about the job before the interview
It’s best to prepare yourself with as much information about the job and family as possible before the interview. There is NOTHING worse than wasting both your and the family’s time because you did not read the job description carefully. So many parents have called me angry saying “we wasted an hour only to hear that she could not drive/ could not live in/ could not work past 6 p.m. /that she was allergic to cats and we stated that we had two.”
Read the job posting very carefully and get every single detail about the job requirements to make sure you can match them. If you do not have information, ask the questions in your screening call or via email before the interview.
TIP — Remember that even if you do not like the family, the parents could pass around your names to other families who are looking for a nanny. Parents and agencies do not want to refer nannies who show up unprepared for an interview .
DO Map out your travel route prior to the interview
Use www.googlemaps.com to find train/subway/driving directions. If you are unsure of how to get to the interview, do a test-run on a different day to make sure you can get there. Go earlier in the day, or the day before, to make sure you know where you are going.
DON’T be late to the interview or trial!
Always give yourself enough leeway in your travel to be on time or a little early. (For example: What if you get lost? What if there is traffic? What if there are train delays?) Leave extra time. Being late for a job interview is not a good look. Being late to the trial is also a red flag, as most families will not continue with a candidate who shows up late (even if they love them)Tardiness often indicates lack of preparation.
DO dress professionally.
We advise wearing all black or black pants and a white shirt. A blazer, proper shoes, and hair pulled back or in a neat manner. Make sure your makeup is clean and not overdone. Avoid wearing low-cut or revealing clothes, as well as anything that is too tight. Always keep nails clean and short, especially if you are looking to work with babies and toddlers. Parents will likely wonder, “Can she wear this outfit to pick up my child at school? Can she be a good role model for my children in how she presents herself.” There is no need to dress fancily; just neat and professional.
DO Remember details from previous nanny jobs.
Know your past work history (Example: names and ages of children, what dates you worked, parents’ names, what activities you did with the kids, etc.). Parents will not hire nannies who forget the names of the families for which they worked, or the names of the children they watched for 2 years. Review your work history and remind yourself (e.g., “Mr.and Mrs. Smith UES, NY. Kids are Sara and Shawn. I took them to Red School House School.”)
The more details you remember, the better the parents can will value your work experience.
DON’T badmouth old bosses.
It is unprofessional to speak poorly about a former family and It will make potential parents nervous that you will do the same for them. If things ended badly with a previous family, simply say, “ To respect their privacy, I would rather not speak of this experience. I would never want to badmouth a family; all I will say is that I left the position because I did not feel I was treated in the best professional manner.” If you work for a high profile family OR a family within a close community, perhaps only reveal their actual name if it is essential for a reference check.
DON’T Just focus on money, overtime, or sick pay.
Obviously salary is important and you want to be compensated fairly, but I would make it a short discussion. If it was not asked already on a screening all or email you can say, “So that we do not waste time, can you please confirm the salary range of this job so I may see if it meets my requirements?” You can ask them this before you meet the parents. When you meet in person, just get to know them. After the trial is when you can talk money. Too much money talk makes parents nervous. Focus on kids and family first to see if it’s a good match.
DON’T Talk About Religion or Politics
Families will likely not want to have conversations around either religion or politics. Wonderful nannies have lost jobs because they’ve discussed politics or expressed strong views on a topic. We advise never speaking poorly about any religions or cultures, no matter the circumstance.
DO Give Examples of What You Will Do As A Nanny
Be expressive and tell parents what you will do with their kids. For example: Teach and educate their children (ABCs,123s, colors, expressions), outdoor activities (chalk, park, coloring, stroller, nature walks). Let the parents know what you would do if the children got sick (how would you treat the kids?) Let them know how loving and nurturing you are with children.
DO Highlight Your Creative Side With Kids.
It’s your time to shine and prove you will be a wonderful nanny to their children. Do you like to do fun Arts and Crafts? Tell them. Do you make fun picnics in the front yard? Tell them. Do you have a special way to play soccer that will blow all of the other nannies out of the water? Tell them all about it! Share your stories of how you and a child made a Father’s Day Project together, or how you taught another how to quilt. This will show innovation and creativity.
DON’T Be Afraid to Ask Questions.
It is very helpful for you to know as much as you can about the family. This will allow you to determine if you want the job, as well as if you can perform it successfully. Ask about disciplinary rules, nap-time schedules, bottle schedules, bedtimes, can you schedule play-dates with other moms, etc.) Speak directly to parents and say, “Please tell me what you WANT or do NOT WANT in a nanny. I’d love any examples you can provide so I can best understand your idea of a great nanny.”
DO Smile a LOT!
Smile, be warm, and be welcoming! Even if you are nervous, parents need to see your caring side. Understanding that you will be loving and kind to their child will ease their nerves. The more you smile (genuinely) the more comfortable they will feel. This position requires nurturing, and a good nurturer brings positivity into any situation. The more you smile, the more positive an environment you will curate.