What HR Taught you is all Wrong

This is the second post in a multi-part blog series under the title, “Nanny Interview Questions – the Key Questions to Ask a Babysitter or Nanny Before you Hire Her.”

The Best Nanny Interview Questions and How to Start the Process…

In this post, “What HR Taught You is all Wrong: How to Interview a Nanny as complied from the best nanny agencies,” I build some of the basic elements I’ve found to be most helpful for interviewing nannies that I outlined in my prior post, “Ask her This: The Best Nanny Interview Questions.”  In my next and last post on the topic, “Why Interviewing a Nanny is More Complicated than you Think,” I’ll review certain tips and tricks for getting the most out of your interview.

Just a key point from my last post in case you didn’t get to read the whole thing (it was kind of long), and this is why I titled this post what I did: a nanny doesn’t have to be great in an interview to be an incredible nanny. She doesn’t have to be able to sit for two hours while people fire very difficult questions at her. She has to love children, and she has to be good at what she does. So your goal with the interview is not to figure out if you and the nanny can get along happily for the next ten years, or to grill her on obscure details of child development.  Instead, you want to ask questions that will help you further understand her, and to assess the basics:  Did she arrive on time?  Is she neatly dressed?  Does she say anything that seems abnormal or “off”?   She may answer your questions eloquently, or she may not—but all you need to decide is whether she seems generally pleasant and competent, and if she meets enough of your “Musts” to have her come to your house and do a trial.

So let’s dig in a bit deeper…

Part 2: Ask the Nanny to Match Your Story

This part of the interview allows the nanny to take the lead and share the experiences she feels would make her right for your particular job.  You can begin by asking the nanny very broadly to explain why she feels that she is good fit, and then shift to specific questions based on your “Musts” and FNA if necessary to prompt her.

Script and Sample Nanny Interview Questions: Part 2

Introduction: “Now that we have told you what we are looking for, can you tell us about any experiences in your professional or personal life that would make you a good fit for this position?”

  1. Ask her to tell you about her duties at each of her previous jobs
  • “What was your typical day with the Jones family? Can you tell me what you did from the time you started in the morning until you finished in the evening?
  1. Pose specific questions based on your Physical and Emotional “Musts”

You should use these questions to cover any topics that the nanny did not address when describing her duties at her previous jobs.

Physical “Musts”

  • “As we mentioned, we are looking for a nanny who can take complete charge of our children and our household while we are at work sixty hours a week. Can you tell me about a time when you did this for a previous family? Were you comfortable in that kind of director’s role?”
  • “As we said, we need a nanny who can travel with us approximately four times a year. Can you tell me about any travel you’ve done in the past with another family?”

Emotional “Musts”

  • “As we said, our child is _____ years old. Can you tell me about any experience you have with:
    • Infants—for example, helping to soothe them, sleep training, or putting them on a schedule?”
    • Toddlers—for example, toilet training and dealing with tantrums? How did you handle keeping them safe?”
    • Preschoolers—for example, how did you teach letters and numbers, and sharing?”
    • School Age—for example, have you helped with homework? Did you ever have to help a child feel better after not doing well at a sports game?”
    • Tweens and Teens—for example, have you ever had to work through a situation where a teen lied to you? Or comfort someone after a breakup?”

Get Started

In the coming posts, I’ll discuss:

  • How to Interview a Nanny
  • Sample Nanny Interview Questions
  • Tips for a Successful Nanny Interview
  • And much, much more….

I hope that you find this content helpful, informative, and educational as you embark on your journey!  As always, please feel free to reach out to us if we can be helpful in your search.  There’s a reason why we’re consistently rated one of the best nanny agencies in NYC and why the bulk of our searches are from repeat clients or referrals!