The interview is an important step in the hiring process as it is a first chance to figure out if the applicant is a good fit for your family. Remember the interview goes both ways, as highly skilled workers are able to choose their employer too. And if at all possible, also try to arrange a trial date so you can both get to know each other better.
As mentioned previously, we advise hiring based on attitude and train for skills, therefore use the interview to ask situational questions to find out how the applicants will react in different scenarios. Avoid asking yes/no questions, to which applicants tend to simply nod. Your goal is to find out how well you communicate to each other, whether she/he has a positive and friendly attitude, perhaps a willingness to learn or openness to guidance.
Here are some examples of questions:
- You accidentally broke a glass. What do you do?
- You seriously cut yourself with a knife. What do you do?
- If a child uses abusive words with you, what do you do?
- Imagine you are home alone and a workman rings the doorbell. I didn’t tell you anyone was coming. What do you do?
- What would you do if a child fell and bumped their head?
- The children are arguing over a toy, what do you do?
- How would you put a baby to sleep? What if they cry for a long time?
- What do you do if a child refuses to eat?
Understand past work experience and skills
In most cases, a reference check with previous employers is not possible but you can try to understand previous work experience, level of responsibility and even management style of the previous employer by asking open questions. This will help you assess how her past experience relates or differs from working with your family.
- How long have you worked as a nanny? And how many employers have you had within that time?
- 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? (from the parents or sometimes grandparents)
- Did you ever look after sick children or take them to the doctor?
- Do you have any first aid training or experience?
- Did you manage your own tasks? Did you follow a set schedule?
- Could you tell me what a regular working day looked like?
- Can you cook? 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?
- What did you like or did not like about your last employment?
- What was the hardest thing about your last employment?
- Why did you leave or why do you want to leave your current employer?
Explain what the work will look like
Go over the anticipated weekly/daily schedule and detail the tasks you expect her to manage. There is a high turnover rate among domestic workers, especially in the first weeks/months, so the more specific you can be (even if this is only the interview stage), the more informed the applicant can be when deciding whether she is a good fit for your family.
Other important discussion items
- Working hours
- Anticipated rest days and how flexible is she to changing it if needed? Any family or other responsibilities?
- Annual leave dates
- Food allowance vs. providing food?
- Will the worker need to travel with you? If so, do they have, or can they get a passport?
- Salary (amount, payment terms, bonus, overtime)
- Any specific important home rules? (especially if they are hired as a live-in employee)
The candidate may also have questions for you. Make sure you allow some time and offer the opportunity to ask questions.
If possible, arrange for a trial
Keep in mind that applicants are generally not used to interviews and are likely to reply in a way they think will please you. Great candidates may do very poorly in interviews, so if possible, try to arrange a trial for the rest of the day, or weekend and use it as an opportunity to check some of her skills and how they interact with your child.
Prior to arranging for a trial, make sure you agree on a daily/hourly rate.
The candidate may ask for a transportation allowance for the interview (50,000 – 100,000 depending on where she comes from).