The interview is an important step in the hiring process, particularly for nanny roles. It is a first chance for both you and the applicant to figure out if you will be a good fit for each other.
Understand past work experience and skills
Try to assess how her past experience relates to working with your family:
- How long have you worked as a nanny? And how many employers have you had within that time?
- Why did you leave or why do you want to leave your current employer?
- What age were the kids you used to take care of?
- Did you work in a household where both parents were working full time?
- Did you work mostly alone or were you under the constant supervision of your employer?
- Do you have any first aid training or experience?
- Could you tell me what a regular working day looked like?
- Did you cook in your last role? If so, did you use recipes or were you shown how to prepare dishes? Could you give me examples?
- Can you swim? Did you watch children swimming in your previous employment?
Your goal is to find out how well you communicate to each other, whether the applicant has a friendly attitude, perhaps a willingness to learn or openness to guidance. Domestic workers are generally not very comfortable in interview settings so it’s best to avoid yes/no questions and use open and situational questions instead.
Here are some examples:
- You accidentally broke a glass. What do you do?
- Imagine you are home alone and a workman rings the doorbell. I didn’t tell you anyone was coming. What would happen next?
- How would you react if a child fell and bumped their head?
- What do you do if a child refuses to eat?
The candidate may also have questions for you. Make sure you allow some time and offer the opportunity to ask questions.
Explain what the work will look like
If you are feeling positive about a candidate, go over the anticipated weekly/daily schedule, detail the tasks that he/she will manage and show him/her your home. For potential “live-in” workers, it is good a idea to show them their private quarters.
Note that high turnover is common, especially in the first weeks/months. The more specific you can be, the more prepared the applicant can be about working with your family.
Talk about the employment terms
Go over all the employment terms and important house rules during the interview. More on salaries and other important employment terms here.
If possible, arrange for a trial and conduct a background check
Keep in mind that great workers may do very poorly in interviews. If possible, try to arrange a trial and make sure you agree on a daily/hourly rate.
A background check should be done whenever possible. Unfortunately, recommendation letters and other supporting documents are overall very rare. Even when past information is available, understanding the complete circumstances of previous employment is nearly impossible. A worker who does not have past references may be great, and a worker with glowing recommendations may not be a perfect fit for your family.