How To Conduct a Nanny Interview: A Detailed Guide

August 19, 2016

Your nanny becomes a part of your extended family, so finding the right person is no short order. At, we know just how stressful and sometimes arduous the process can be—but it gets easier with the right preparations. Creating a list of questions about your candidates’ background, cooking abilities, and childcare knowledge is a good place to start. However, conducting a successful interview is about more than asking savvy questions. founder and child care expert, Martha Scully is here to help! She has put together a guide for how to lead a meaningful interview with a potential nanny.

This is your comprehensive guide to leading a successful nanny interview

conducting nanny interviews

Part of Martha’s how to hire a nanny series this article covers everything from creating an atmosphere that fosters comfort to carefully introducing your children.

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Create a Relaxed Atmosphere for the Interview

The venue for your interview can make or break its success. If you’re conducting the interview process in your home, tidy up and have a refreshment ready, such as a chilled bottle of water. Turn off background noise and invite the candidate to be seated in a comfortable chair. These might seem like obvious details, but they are crucial. Your potential nanny may not open up if she is not at ease or consistently finds herself distracted by a television in the other room.

Adopt a conversational tone with your nanny, and begin by letting her know about your family. Discuss your children’s personalities and special qualities and address their developmental stages. Keep an agenda; while you want to be open with a friendly discussion, you don’t want to overwhelm a candidate with a long monolog.

Minimize the Potential for Interruptions

You’ve created a comfortable venue for your discussion and opened with a direct and friendly summary of your family. You’re off to a great start, and you don’t want it to be ruined by a sudden whimper from the back room. It’s important to avoid interruptions, including:

  • Hungry and tired children
  • Barking pets
  • Phone calls
  • Visitors

Not only can distractions make it more difficult for you to fully listen to your candidate’s answers, but she may lose her train of thought in the middle of a meaningful answer. It’s just uncomfortable for both parties to be interrupted.

Discuss Your Approach to Childcare

Let your candidates know about your parenting style and exactly the type of relationship you hope they will have with your kids. Nannies balance the role of employee and family member, so an honest discussion of their role is certainly warranted. Remember to ask open-ended questions about their experience as it relates to your preferred methods of childcare. It can be tempting to go on at length about your family, but remember to let the candidate do most of the talking.

This is your time to listen intently and let the nanny tell you her story and explain her skill set.

Lastly, don’t forget that your interview is an opportunity to communicate the benefits of working for your family. The candidate may be going on other interviews, so if she seems like a good fit, talk up your household.

Provide the Candidate with a Detailed Job Description

Prepare a written job description ahead of time to highlight the qualities and skills you are looking for. Do you want someone who can cook, swim or drive? The job description should be honest about your expectations of the caregiver.

This is the time to move past big-picture caregiving styles and into the nitty gritty of their day-to-day responsibilities.

Give the candidate key information about:

  • Childcare-related responsibilities
  • Housekeeping expectations
  • Weekly schedules
  • Potential travel requirements

Allow an Appropriate Amount of Time for the Interview

Give yourself at least one hour to interview each caregiver. It’s also wise to limit the number of interviews you conduct in a single day. Limit yourself to one or two interviews; this way, you don’t forget who said what. Spacing out meetings also gives you plenty of time to process each candidate’s answers and figure out who your top picks are.

Make Sure Your Children Are Prepared

During the first interview, you shouldn’t expect your candidate to provide free childcare in front of you. That being said, if the interview goes well, it makes perfect sense that you would bring them into the room at the end of the interview and introduce them.

To help this interaction go well:

  • Avoid scheduling the interview right before nap time
  • Make sure the kids understand the role the nanny will play in your family
  • Allow your children to meet each candidate right after the interview so they’re not overwhelmed by meeting lots of candidates in one day

Set Up Next Steps

After you’ve chosen a few top candidates, arrange a trial day for each nanny. Your candidates should be paid for this time. Make sure they experience an average day in the life of your family, so you get a fair assessment of whether they are a true fit for your lifestyle.


With the right questions, a comfortable environment and a brief introduction to your kids, your interview process is off to the right start. Use your initial interactions to see if personalities mesh and your kids respond well to each candidate. Once you have a few top caregivers identified, you’re ready to begin trials and make a final selection.

We Are Here to Help!

Choosing a nanny is an important and difficult decision we have many resources to help guide you through the process of finding, interviewing, hiring, keeping and paying great nannies. We even have advice for when and how to dismiss a nanny if necessary. For more information check out the Nanny Hiring and Nanny FAQ section of our blog as well as our Nanny Hiring Guide.

Although we may be a self-serve nanny service, we are still very much devoted to helping families and caregivers succeed in their search for a match through our site. Our customer support team is always here and happy to offer any advice to our potential and existing customers.

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