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Nanny Interviewing Tips

So, you’ve landed an interview with a family for a nanny job that sounds perfect for you. What can you do to prepare? Here are ten essential nanny interviewing tips:

1. Stay safe.

Because nanny interviews are usually conducted in a private home, rather than in a public place such as an office, it’s important to take safety precautions. Consider asking for an initial meeting in a public place such as a quiet coffee shop. Ask for references from the family before you meet them and follow up with a phone call to each reference. For a small fee, you can also run a background check on one or both parents.

Make sure you let a family member or friend know when and where the nanny interview is taking place, and that you’ll check in with them when it’s over.

Finally, if anything makes you uncomfortable during the preliminary phone calls to arrange the interview, cancel the appointment. It’s not worth risking your safety to continue the application process.

2. Do your homework.

Prepare for the nanny interview – and make sure the job is what you’re looking for – by getting answers to a few basic questions:
What is the start date for the job? What are the hours? Will they be the same every week, or will there be nights when you’ll be expected to stay late? Is the salary within your general ballpark? (Don’t worry if it’s just a little on the low side, as you may be able to negotiate a higher salary during your second interview.) How many children does the family have, and what are their ages? Will you be expected to do any cooking or cleaning in addition to childcare? If you don’t own a car, is public transportation available to take you to the family’s home, and is the schedule compatible with the job?

Finally, collect a list of references to provide the family, and call your references ahead of time to let them know they may be hearing from your prospective employer.

3. Be on time.

Parents will count on you to arrive for your job promptly every day. You can show them that you can keep to a schedule, and that you’ll be respectful of their time, by arriving on time for your nanny interview.

4. Dress the part.

As a nanny, you’ll be a role model for the children you care for, and you’ll need a kid-friendly wardrobe. For your nanny interview, choose an outfit that looks neat and professional, but that’s comfortable enough to wear while playing with children.

5. Bring the right documents.

You’ll impress the family with your preparedness and professionalism if you come to the nanny interview prepared with your driver’s license, any certifications you may have (for example, Red Cross CPR), a copy of your current resume, letters of recommendation, and a copy of the job description.

6. Be prepared to answer questions.

It’s impossible to predict every question that will come your way during a nanny interview, but be prepared for some of the most common questions families ask:

Where were you employed previously, and why did that job end? What is the most challenging child care situation you’ve found yourself in, and how did you cope with it? Have you ever had to deal with a medical emergency, and if so, what did you do? What do you enjoy most about working with children? What would you do if my child hit another child, or if another child hit my child? How do you discipline children? What are your views on childhood nutrition? Setting limits on television? Have you ever felt unmotivated to do a job? How do you spend your free time?

A nanny job is like no other, and the questions families ask prospective nannies in interviews are, quite reasonably, often much more personal than those that would be appropriate in an interview for an office or retain job. Be positive and truthful in your answers. If you’re asked a question that you don’t feel comfortable answering, just say so politely.

Remember, too, that many parents are uncomfortable conducting interviews. The situation may be as unfamiliar to them as it is to you. Help the conversation along by elaborating on your answers if needed.

7. Be prepared to ask questions.

Make sure you understand the job requirements, including whether you’ll be expected to help with cooking and cleaning. Find out about the children you’ll be caring for. What are their interests? Do they have any special medical or behavioral challenges? How do the parents discipline the children?

8. And know what not to ask.

Questions about salary, taxes, and insurance, as well as accommodations for live-in nannies are usually left for the second interview.

9. Show an interest in the children.

If the children are present during the interview, make an effort to play or talk with them. You’ll show the parents that you’re genuinely interested in the children and well-suited to the job.

10. Follow up right away.

Send a note as soon as possible after the interview to thank the family for their interest and to explain why you think you’re the right person for the job. If you promised additional information, such as a school transcript, during the interview, include it with your note.

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