Preparing for a nanny interview is a lot like preparing for any other job interview, but there are a few elements that are specifically related to the childcare industry. Despite the fact you will be working with children, it’s important to act and appear professional because you want to make a great impression on the parents who are interviewing you. You should also take some time to think about how you will answer some commonly asked questions.
First Impressions are Important:
- Be on time. Nothing will get your interview off to a bad start faster than arriving late. Ideally, you should try to arrive 10-15 minutes early. Be sure to plan your route in advance and make sure you have the family’s address and a contact number with you in case you encounter any problems on the way. Call or text the family if you are going to be unavoidably delayed.
- Dress appropriately. It’s important to look professional for your interview. You want to look like someone who the parents can trust to take great care of their children. But remember, you are going to be working with children so you need to have a smart/casual appearance and be prepared to interact with children at your interview (so no high heels or business suits!)
Be Prepared. The more prepared you are for your interview, the more professional you will appear. In general, you should bring the following items to your interview:
- Your passport and driving licence (if you have one)
- Your Enhanced DBS certificate if you have one. If you don’t, explain to the family that you are in the process of obtaining one (via After School Nannies)
- A copy of your personal CV (families will have reviewed you’re your After School Nannies online profile as well). Contact information for referees, as well as reference letters, if you have them. (Make sure to let your referees know that they may be contacted by prospective employers.)
- Certificates from any relevant courses, including university degrees, first aid certificates (if you have one)
- A pen and paper to take notes
- A list of questions you want to ask the family
During your Interview:
Engage with the children. If the children are present during the interview, you have a great opportunity to showcase your skills. Take advantage of this opportunity to get to know the children and get them to like you.
- Demonstrate that you know how to interact with children by getting down on their level, making eye contact with them, not interrupting them, asking them questions about what they have to say, and using encouraging language.
- Ask the children questions about their interests and try to suggest activities that would be interesting for them. This is a good opportunity to talk about activities you like that may fit their interests.
- It may be a good idea to bring along some puzzles or games to share with the children during your interview.
- In some cases, the parents may ask you to do a trial shift, which will give you an opportunity to spend some time with the children, and will give them the opportunity to judge your performance. If you are asked to do this, it is especially important that you come prepared with as many engaging activities as possible to entertain the children.
Highlight your experience with children. Whether you’re studying or already working in childcare, you need to communicate to the parents why you are qualified for the position. Make sure to communicate how your experience is relevant to this specific job.
- Even if you’ve never worked as a nanny before, you can probably think of some relevant experience you’ve had with children. Babysitting, working as a tutor and volunteering at a summer camp all count as relevant experience.
- If you have a degree in early childhood development or a related subject, talk about the kinds of classes you took and what you learned. Some parents may have no idea what your degree entails.
Talk about your personal skills. Be sure to highlight any special skills that you have that could benefit the children. Knowledge of childhood development is a huge asset, but there are also many other skills that parents may be looking for. Be sure to mention the following skills, as well as any other unique talents that set you apart.
- Second language
- Cooking abilities
- Musical, sporting or artistic talents
- Teaching or tutoring experience
- Exceptional driving record
Be enthusiastic about the job. The parents want to know that you will be energetic and engaged when you’re with their children, so you need to seem genuinely excited about the opportunity.
- Try showing enthusiasm by talking about some of your favourite activities to do or your favourite meals to prepare.
Ask questions about the children. Asking questions about the children will not only make you seem more interested in the job, but it will also give you clues about what qualities the parents might be looking for in a nanny.
- Find out how many children the family has and how old they are.
- Ask about the children’s interests and activities.
- Find out if the children have special medical needs or behavioural challenges.
- Learn how the parents discipline their children and what guidelines they expect you to follow. (If you don’t agree with the parents’ disciplinary techniques, the job may not be right for you, and that’s okay!)
Ask questions about the family’s expectations. Some nannies are responsible solely for taking care of the children, while others might be required to do some household chores as well. Clarify the scope of the work by asking if you will be responsible for things like children’s laundry, cooking, running errands, homework assistance, and pet care.
- Unless these chores are a real deal breaker for you, always express enthusiasm and a willingness to do whatever is asked of you.
- You may also want to ask about the children’s schedule and the hours you will be expected to work, especially if you have other commitments.
- Ask questions about the household routine and the parenting philosophy. It is important to know, for example, if the parents do not want their children watching television during the day or if the children are accustomed to lots of organised activities.
Be prepared to answer commonly asked questions. There’s no way to predict all of the questions that parents will ask you during a nanny interview, but preparing answers to some of the more common ones is a great way to prepare. You want to sound conversational, so don’t memorise every word you plan on saying, but have a good idea of what you will say if you are asked the following questions:
- Why do you want to be a nanny?
- (If applicable) What was your last childcare job and why did you leave?
- What do you enjoy about working with children?
- How would you handle a medical emergency?
- How do you believe in disciplining children?
- What are your views on childhood nutrition? Give an example of what you would cook for children as an evening meal? What healthy snacks would you offer in between meals?
- How do you spend your free time?
Quick check “do’s”:
Turn off your phone. Always be sure to silence your phone before an interview. A ringing phone can make you look unprofessional and might interrupt the conversation at the worst possible time.
Try to relax. All job interviews are stressful and nanny interviews can be especially unpredictable because the parents are probably not used to interviewing and may not know what to ask you. Despite all of the pressure, however, it’s important to be yourself. After all, the parents are going to want to hire someone who is likeable and genuine.
Be honest. Your answers should show that you are experienced, professional, and friendly, but they should also be true. Don’t lie during an interview, even if you think it will help you.
Keep it positive. You should never say anything negative about a former employer during an interview, even if it is true. Keep in mind that you are interviewing the parents as much as they are interviewing you.
Quick check “don’ts”:
Social Media. Remove anything that might be considered inappropriate from your social media accounts before you begin applying for jobs. There’s a good chance that the parents will look you up online at some point.
Don’t be the first to bring up “Money”. It’s usually best not to ask any questions about salary during the first interview. These kinds of discussions are often saved for a second interview or for when you are offered the job. If the interviewer brings the topic up first, then it’s fine to talk about it.