How to Create The Best Nanny Interview Checklist

How to Create The Best Nanny Interview Checklist

by Kyla Dewar

When it comes to hiring a nanny, there’s nothing more important than getting to know the person you’re interviewing. After all, they may be the one who will care for your child soon. Interviews allow you to meet face-to-face with a potential nanny and provide the perfect opportunity for you both to get to know each other on a personal and professional level.


But what if you’ve never had to conduct an interview before? That’s where things can get tricky. Interviews, though simple in structure, often have multiple steps that can make planning and conducting one hard to handle — especially if you’re trying to take care of your kids throughout the whole process. But never fear! CanadianNanny.ca is here!


In this article, we’ve compiled a complete list of tips and tricks into a comprehensive “how-to” guide and your own master checklist for nanny interviews. If you want to learn more about conducting a nanny interview, finding the perfect fit for your family’s needs, and all the do’s and don’t of nanny interviews, read on!


Before the Interview


Before you even begin the interview process, you need to have a clear idea of what it is you need. Being prepared with all the right information in advance of an interview is critical if you want to have the best interview possible.


So what do you need to know? Start by mapping out the “5 W’s:”


  1. Who are you looking for? Understand the type of nanny and the personality you feel would be the best fit for your family.

  2. What will they be required to do? Create a clear outline of their duties and responsibilities.

  3. Where will they be living? If you are hiring for a live-in position, you need to be able to provide full details on their accommodations.

  4. Why do you need a nanny? Outline all the reasons that your family will benefit from having a nanny to better prepare both yourself and the nanny for a successful interview.

  5. When do you need a nanny to start? Pick a date and stick to it. Also be sure to know how long you’ll need a nanny for (i.e. only a summer, or permanently).


Another step is to do some reading up on proper interview techniques to get a better feel for how things should go. For some helpful resources, check out these articles:



During the Interview


An important thing to remember about interviews is that they are about getting to know each other. A sign of a great interview is when both parties leave feeling like they have a full understanding of how you might be able to work together. 


Ultimately, an interview is both about ensuring the candidate understands the responsibilities of the role they are applying for and for you to get to know them and their abilities. That is why you should always be prepared to create the right environment for a successful interview. 


Eliminating distractions, creating a welcoming environment, being open and honest about the role’s requirements, and understanding that they’re likely a little nervous goes a long way in setting the stage for a positive interview experience for you both.


If you’re struggling to come up with the right questions to ask, check out these helpful guides to all the nanny interview questions you may need to know:



After the Interview


During an interview, it’s always good to observe a nanny’s behaviours and make note of how they answer specific types of questions. By the end of an interview, you should be able to answer the following questions about them:


  • What are their interests?

  • How does their previous experience help your family?

  • What special skills do they possess?

  • How do they show respect and professionalism throughout the interview?


If you can answer all of these questions with confidence, you may have found the right nanny. However, it’s always good to back up that gut feeling with some examples from previous employers. Be sure to get a list of references you can contact to ensure that the nanny you saw in your interview is the nanny that others have seen as well.


You may also want to invest some time in having the nanny come in for a trial day. This will help you observe in advance how they interact with your children and give your kids the chance to say yay or nay to the potential hire as well.


Whether or not you choose to do a nanny trial, ultimately, your gut feeling is what you need to follow. As long as you feel they will be a good fit, you’re all set to offer them the job.


The Ultimate Nanny Interview Checklist


Before the Interview:


Make notes on:

Who you are looking for
What they will be required to do 
Where they will be living/working
Why you need them
When you need them to start


Arrange:

An interview time
An interview location


Obtain:

A method of contacting them (i.e. phone/email) in case you need to contact them or reschedule in advance of the interview


Will your child(ren) be in attendance?

Yes
No


If no:

Arrange alternative care for your child(ren) to avoid distractions in the interview


If yes:

Inform the interviewee that a portion of the interview will be with your (child)ren in attendance


During the Interview:

Create a welcoming environment by offering them water, coffee, or tea
Put your phone away
Discuss the role and the responsibilities expected 


General Questions:

Ask about family background – parents, brothers, and sisters.
Where did you spend your early years?
What are your hobbies and interests?
What do you consider to be your greatest strengths?
What do you consider to be your greatest weaknesses?
What are your greatest accomplishments?
What is your current position and why do you want to leave?
What are you looking for in your next position?
What are your long-range goals?


Childcare Knowledge:

Why did you choose to become a nanny?
What qualities do you have that make you a good caregiver?
What do you enjoy about looking after children?
How many years of experience do you have with infants/toddlers?
Do you have experience with potty training?
What kinds of activities would you do with (age of your child) year old?
How would you handle crying or a temper tantrum of a child this age?
Are you interested in taking the children to programs in the area?
When do you think it’s okay for the children not to be supervised?
Are you comfortable working with the children with homework?
Are you interested in occasional caring for other children during play dates?
What do you find the most challenging or interesting part of working with children?


Open-Ended Questions:

Olivia (2) is a happy child, has a good demeanour and is feeling well when her parents leave for work in the morning. Everything is going well, but by noon, you are alarmed to note that she has a high temperature and begins vomiting in the playroom. What do you do?


Jackson (2) has been playing in the garden. When you bring him inside, you notice that a small tick has bitten his neck, and a portion of the bug is still inside Jake’s skin layer. What do you do?


Describe a past situation where a young child’s behaviour has become out of control. How did you handle the situation? What would you have done differently?


If Sophia (4) repeatedly disobeys you during a meal, throwing her food on the floor for no reason, how will you get her back to behaving at the table? What will you say or do to her?


Michael and Ethan (6) are two twins who are constantly fighting about everything, and sometimes they get physical, hitting and tackling each other. It gets out of hand, especially in public. What would you do to prevent this behaviour?


Isabella (5) is usually a behaved child at home, but in playgrounds and when guests are visiting, she begins to act up. She often screams for what she wants and hits other kids at the sandbox if she wants their toys. How do you handle this in public?


The children, who have just begun to attend school, are very upset about the recent separation from their parents. It is often a big drama when their parents must leave for work. If this happens, how would you handle this situation?


Emma’s father must be away for one week. She has had trouble in the past being separated from him. She is 8 years old and has watched a TV show about plane crashes, so is quite paranoid when her father must fly for work—besides being away from him for long. What will you tell her in order to soothe her anxiety?


What would you do if the child refused to eat the food that her mother has put on the menu?


What would you do if both children were crying at the same time?


Being a nanny is usually a rewarding experience. Being a part of the child’s life, helping them grow and being a part of their development has great inner rewards and benefits. However, it is often stressful and you may end up feeling lonely having to deal with only children for long hours in the day. How do you ensure personal happiness on the job?


When you feel that your days as a nanny become lonely and monotonous, what do you do personally to remain a pleasant and happy person for the kids and the family you work for?


Other Questions:

Can you cook?
What would you cook for my children?
Are you trained in First Aid?
What would you do in the case of a blow to the head? Choking? High fever?
Do you have a driver’s license?
Are you able to drive a standard or an automatic car?
What type of car do you have?
Does it have rear seat belts?
What type of insurance do you have? (Fully comprehensive/3rd party?)
What household tasks are you happy to perform? (e.g. nursery duties only, light housework, ironing, cooking)
Are you willing to babysit?


Employment Details:

When would you be available to start a new position?
What salary are you seeking?
Are you willing/able to make a one-year commitment?


At the end of the interview:


Allow time for their questions


Request a list of references

Received
Not Received


Advise them of your expected decision date


After the Interview:


Can you answer the following questions about this nanny after the interview?


  • What are their interests?
  • How does their previous experience help your family?
  • What special skills do they possess?
  • How do they show respect and professionalism throughout the interview?


Yes
No


Would you like to offer them the position?

Yes
No


If no:

Send an email to inform them of your decision


If yes:

Contact their references


Do you want them to take part in a nanny trial?

Yes
No


If yes:

Arrange a time and location for the nanny trial
Provide them with instructions on what will be required of them


If you don’t require a nanny trial:

Call them to officially offer the position
Send them an offer letter via email
About the Author
Kyla Dewar
Kyla holds a bachelor's degree in Journalism from Ryerson University and has been featured in several newspapers and magazines since beginning her career as a writer. She currently works as a Care Communication Specialist at CareGuide and is the lead writer and editor for blog content on Housekeeper.com, ElderCare.com, HouseSitter.com, CanadianNanny.ca, PetSitter.com, and Sitter.com.