Interview Questions to ask your Potential Nanny

October 12, 2010 Tip Sheets, Uncategorized

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  • Tell me a little about yourself

    Tell me about your childhood and your current relationship with your family.
    What do you like to do in your free time?
    What television shows do you enjoy watching?
    How do you think your closest friends would describe you and your personality?

  • Experience & Training

    How long have you been a nanny?
    How old were the other children you cared for?
    Do you have any formal early childhood development or childcare training?
    Would you be willing to take classes to further your education in childcare? yes / no
    Do you have emergency training?
    CPR: yes / no
    First-aid: yes / no
    If not, would you be willing to take CPR classes and first-aid training? yes / no
    At what point would you call a pediatrician or 911?  Have you ever had to handle an emergency?  How did you handle it?
    Please tell me about your safety measures on crib Safety? Diapering? Bottle feeding? Car seats? Helmet use for equipment (bikes, scooters, skates, etc.)?
    Would you mind if I ran a background check on you? yes / no

  • Philosophy/Approach

    On being a nanny:
    Why did you choose to become a nanny?
    Why are you looking for a new position?

    Describe your last childcare experience and why it ended.
    What do you like about the job?

    Describe your ideal family/employer.

    What did you enjoy most about your previous nanny jobs?
    What did you dislike about your previous nanny job? Do you have any special peeves about parents/children/pets?

    What do you consider are the major challenges of a nanny job?
    What appeals to you about taking care of children in their own home (vs. a day care center or your home)?
    Why do you think you are well suited to this nanny job?

    On dealing with children:

    What are your personal child-rearing philosophies?
What do children like best about you?
    What was your worst experience in childcare and how did you resolve it?
    How were you disciplined as a child? What would you do differently with your own children?
    How do you comfort children? How do you deal with separation anxiety?
What would you say is your discipline style?  Can you give me some examples of when you would need to use discipline with a (insert age) year old child?

    Can you give me some examples of problems you have had with kids and how you handled them?
    What if my son/daughter fails to obey you when you ask him to do something? What if he is doing something dangerous?
    How do you handle fighting between brothers and sisters?
    How do you handle tantrums?
    How would you react if a child bit or hit you?
    What do you do when you become angry with a child?
    What if my daughter asked you to keep a secret? What would your response be?
    What if she revealed something to you that you knew I wouldn’t approve of?
What are some of the rules you’ve followed in other households that you think worked well?
Which rules haven’t worked for you?
    Would you be willing to follow my rules and disciplining/comforting strategies even if they’re different from yours?

  • Daily routines:

    What will my child be doing on any given day? 

    What routines did you have in your last position and what routines would you set up for our child?

    What are your favorite activities to do with a child the age of mine?

    If I’m working in the house, will you be able to keep my child happily occupied without involving me?
    Have you ever had to manage a morning routine during the school year so that all the children got off to school on time?  If no, do you think you could? 
    If I’m working in the house, will you be able to keep my child happily occupied without involving me?
    Can you tell me about your nutritional training specific to your child and age. For example, no tree nut products or dairy products in the first year, formula or breast milk through age one, care with raisins, grapes, and cut food to avoid choking hazards.

  • Age Specific Questions

    Children from birth to 2 years:
    Tell me about when you had to handle a crying baby? What did you do? How did you feel?
    What do you see as your primary responsibility to a child this age?
    What activities did you routinely engage in when you last cared for a baby or toddler?

    Children 2 to 3 years old:
    How would you handle a temper tantrum in a grocery store? In our home?
    How have you approached toilet training in the past? Were you and the family in agreement with the approach? How did it work out?
    What role should outdoor play and interaction with other toddlers have in a child’s day?
    What types of educational activities did you routinely engage in when you last cared for a child this age?
    What indoor activities would you engage a child this age in? Describe how you interact in these activities?

    For 3-5 year olds:
    What methods of limit setting or discipline do you find effective for this age?
    Tell me about how this has worked for you in the past.
    What television shows do you feel are appropriate for this age child? If my child was watching TV, what would you be doing?
    Are you willing to supervise play time with other children in our home and/or take our child to gymnastics/activity groups which may or may not require your active participation?
    Describe ways you can turn everyday household activities (unloading the dishwasher, folding laundry, etc.) into learning opportunities for our child.

    Children ages 5 and older:
    What are your feelings about outdoor play without direct supervision (i.e.,the child is outside and the caregiver is in the house with a younger child)?
    Are you comfortable reviewing and assisting with homework? Tell me about how you have handled this before?
    Are you willing to supervise friends of our child who are invited to our home while you are in charge?

  • Logistics


Do you have future plans (school, job, marriage, etc.) that would put a limit on how long you expect to be a nanny?
Do you have a drivers license? – and – how long have you been driving? Do you have any driving convictions?
    Do you have a well-functioning car, with appropriate safety belts and room for car seats? yes / no
    How well do you know our local area?

    Have you been convicted of any misdemeanors or felonies?
    Do you want a live-in arrangement? yes / no
If it’s not a live-in arrangement, where do you live and how would you get to work?
If it’s not a live-in arrangement, would you bring your own food or expect meals to be provided?
Do you smoke? yes / no
    We have (#_______) dogs/cats, (list breed/s______________________) . Even though you are not obligated to interact with or care for our animals, how do you feel about pets?
How do you feel about performing light housekeeping while our baby is sleeping? Which ones?

    Can you cook? What kind of food would you prepare for our child?
    Can you swim? Would you be willing to go in the pool with our child?
    Do you have any personal responsibilities or health issues that could interfere with a regular work schedule?
When would you be able to start working?
    Would you ever be available to work evenings or weekends?

    Will you be able to adjust your schedule if we need to go out of town or stay late at work from time to time?  (Make sure he/she knows that this would be overtime and he/she would be compensated with additional pay).

    Would you be available to travel with our family for weekends/vacations?
When do you expect to take a vacation of your own?

  • Salary


What’s your salary range? 

  • Additional considerations

    Give each candidate a chance to spend some time with your child in your home. Does she seem attentive? How does your child interact with her? Your observations matter a great deal when you finally make your choice. It may help to take a moment to ask yourself the following questions.

    Does she seem comfortable holding or speaking to your child? yes / no
Was she pleasant? yes / no

    Are the two of you able to communicate easily and effectively with each other? yes / no

    While you’re away from your child, will you feel at ease knowing your child is with her? yes / no

  • Background Check

    If your Nanny candidate has passed all of the above with flying colors, it’s time to check his/her references, perform a background check from and if all is well, have him/her come over and watch the kids for a trial run.

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