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Nanny Interview Questions: What to Ask When You Are Hiring




Written by:

Barbara Mighdoll

Welcome to the exciting (and a bit nerve-wracking) journey of finding the perfect nanny for your family! Whether you’re doing this for the first time or you’ve been here before, picking the right person to be a part of your kiddo’s daily adventures is no small feat. Interviews are your chance to spot someone who’s not only got the right skills but also just clicks with your family vibe.

When it comes to hiring a nanny, asking the right interview questions consistently in the process is key. Just like you’d build a formulaic tight interview process for a future hire on your team at work, you should approach this search just as meticulously and methodically.

Having a nanny is essential for finding work-life balance, so choosing the right that fits your family’s needs is crucial. Since we had our baby during COVID, and our au pair was unable to travel to the US, we supplemented family help with part-time nannies for several months until we found a local in-country au pair to join our family full time. Here are some essential nanny interview questions that can help you make an informed decision to find the right fit for your family.

Nanny Interview Questions

Basic components of a nanny interview

During the nanny interview, it's important to cover all bases to ensure you're selecting the best candidate who fits seamlessly into your family's life. This process involves more than just discussing qualifications and child care experience—it's about understanding the individual and getting a better idea on how well they align with your family's needs and values. Here are the basic components that should be included in every nanny interview:

  1. Background and experience: Start by getting to know the basics about their professional background, previous nanny positions, and the ages of the children they've cared for.
  2. Skills and qualifications: Discuss their formal training, certifications (such as CPR or First Aid), and any special skills that might benefit your children (e.g., language skills, musical talents).
  3. Philosophy on childcare: It's crucial to understand their approach to childcare, discipline, and learning to see if it aligns with your parenting style.
  4. Daily routines: Ask about their ability to create and maintain routines for your children, including meal prep, nap times, and educational activities.
  5. Safety and emergencies: Evaluate their understanding of child safety and how they handle emergency situations.
  6. Interpersonal skills: Assess their communication skills and ability to build a positive rapport with both you and your children.
  7. References: Request references from previous employers to validate their qualifications and experiences.
Nanny Interview Questions

Initial phone interview

To save you time, schedule a 15-minute phone interview with potential nannies. This phone call is a brief 15-minute conversation that serves as a preliminary screen to ensure the candidate could be a good personality fit for your family. During this call, focus on getting a general feel for the candidate's attitude, communication style, and if there are any language barriers. 

This call is also an opportunity to briefly discuss their experience and qualifications, but more importantly, to observe how they articulate their thoughts and respond to questions. This conversation helps in deciding whether to proceed with a more detailed, in-person interview. It's casual yet crucial, as first impressions can be very telling.

Here are some example questions:

  1. Can you tell me a little bit about yourself?
  2. What was your last job?
  3. Why did you choose to become a nanny?
  4. Can you tell me a bit about your previous childcare experiences?
  5. What age groups are you most comfortable working with? Do you have experience with young children?
  6. Have you had any formal training or certifications in childcare or early childhood education?
  7. What’s your preferred method of communication with parents throughout the day?
  8. Do you drive? What kind of car do you drive? What kinds of roads are you used to? Have you driven children in your previous families?
  9. What are your availability and flexibility in terms of hours and days?
  10. What do you consider a typical day as a nanny to look like?
  11. Do you prefer to stay at home, or be out of the house during the day with the child?
  12. Are you comfortable with taking on additional duties if needed?

Detailed core interview

If the initial phone call goes well and you feel comfortable with moving forward, schedule a more detailed interview with your potential caregiver. If possible, this meeting should take place in person, and will be a longer interview roughly 60 minutes. During this time, have a list of questions prepared to ask the nanny candidate about their experience, qualifications, and approach to childcare. Here are some example questions:

  1. How do you handle discipline and behavior management?
  2. Can you give an example of a difficult situation you’ve encountered while caring for children and how you handled it?
  3. What activities do you like to do with children to promote their development and learning?
  4. How do you handle emergencies or medical situations?
  5. What experience do you have with infant care?
  6. How do you approach infant sleep training and scheduling?
  7. If my child was having difficulty napping, what would you do?
  8. Are you trained in infant CPR and first aid?
  9. What are your views on screen time for children?
  10. How do you stay updated with the latest in childcare?
  11. How do you balance the needs of multiple children if required?
  12. What are your salary expectations?
  13. How do you feel about light housekeeping related to the child like laundry and kitchen clean-up after meal time?
  14. How do you feel about light housekeeping unrelated to the child while he or she naps?
  15. What would you cook for our child? What kinds of lunches have you prepared for your previous children?
  16. What’s your availability for overnight care or travel?

The end of the interview can be set aside for the candidate to ask any questions they may have.

Essential Nanny Interview Questions

Alignment phone call

If you have a prospective nanny that feels like a good fit, it's wise to schedule a final chat over the phone. This informal conversation is a great chance for both sides to clear up any remaining doubts and make sure everyone's on the same page regarding duties, pay, work hours, and any special needs. It's also the perfect opportunity to talk about when potential start date, review the contract details, and address any last-minute worries. 

Trial day(s)

After you’ve aligned on everything, the final step of the hiring process should include a trial day or trial week. Just as it's important for you to feel confident in your relationship with the nanny, it's just as important for your child to feel comfortable and develop a bond. It’s also a great opportunity to understand the nanny’s multitasking skills, work style, consistency on arrival time, proactiveness and ability to take feedback.

5 additional considerations

Before making the final decision to hire a nanny, there are several crucial considerations to bear in mind.

  1. References: Make sure to do thorough reference checks by contacting previous employers. This step provides deeper insights into the candidate's reliability, work ethic, and personal character.
  2. Red flags: Be aware of any red flags during the interview process, such as avoiding answering questions or not providing specific examples to support their qualifications. Trust your instincts and do not hesitate to ask for clarification or more details if something seems off.
  3. Background check: Consider running a background check on your chosen candidate for added peace of mind. This step can help uncover any criminal history that may have.
  4. Contract: After the interview process, if you feel confident about a candidate, ensure to draft a detailed contract. The contract should outline expectations clearly, including job descriptions and duties, hours, salary, benefits, and any other conditions crucial to your arrangement. Remember to discuss and mutually agree upon a method for regular communication and updates about your child’s progress and daily activities.
  5. Gut instincts: Your intuition about a person’s compatibility with your family and children often plays a crucial role in making the right decision. Trust your gut reaction if things feel amiss or if you have concerns. A nanny doesn't just take care of your children – they become a part of your family's daily life. It's important that this individual aligns with your parenting style, values, and the nurturing environment you wish to provide for your children.

If you aren’t set on a nanny, and are considering other childcare options, I’ve put together a great roundup of childcare to consider for working parents.

Featured Image by kate_sept2004 from Getty Images Signature


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