Nanny Interview Tips from Nanny Expert Tiffanie Kinder
How to Ace a Nanny Interview
Preparing for a nanny interview is a lot like preparing for any other job interview, but there a few elements that are specifically related to the childcare industry. Despite the fact you will be spending most of your days with children, it is 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.
Making a Great First Impression
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. This should give you enough time so that you don't have to stress if you hit a few red lights.
- If you don't know where you're going, consider traveling to the interview location a few days before the interview, just to get yourself familiar with the route. This is especially important if you're not sure about where you will be able to park.
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.
- Don't wear anything too revealing.
- Make sure you wear something that would be appropriate for a day on the job. If you show up wearing shoes that you can barely walk in, the parents might think that you don't understand the physical requirements of being a nanny.
Come prepared.The more prepared you are for your interview, the more professional you will appear. If you think you might need it, then go ahead and bring it. In general, you should bring the following items to your interview:
- Several copies of your resume.
- Contact information for references, as well as letters of recommendation, if you have them
- Certificates from any relevant programs, including college degrees, first aid certificates, and CPR training certificates
- Photo identification
- A pen and paper to take notes
- A copy of your schedule (if you have other commitments)
- A list of questions you want to ask the family
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.
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 likable and genuine.
- Be conscious of your body language. Lots of people fidget when they are feeling nervous. Try your best to sit still, have good posture, and keep smiling. This will make you appear much more confident. Maintaining eye contact with your interviewer and having a strong handshake are also very important.
Mastering Good Interview Etiquette
Prepare your references.You should always go into an interview with a list of personal and professional references. Make sure to let your references know that they may be contacted by your interviewer.
Have a professional online presence.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. You might even consider downloading an app to clean your accounts up for you.
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.
Take notes.Always bring a pen and paper with you to an interview to take notes. It will make you look prepared, and it will allow you to easily jot down contact information and anything else you may need to remember after the interview.
Keep it positive.You should never say anything negative about a former employer during an interview, even if it is true. These kinds of comments will only make you come across as negative and immature, so try to think of a positive way of talking about your past jobs.
Don't ramble.It's important for the interviewer to get a good sense of who you are, but it's also important that you demonstrate that you are capable of staying on-task. Offer details or examples when they are relevant, but try not to get too off-topic when answering questions.
Send a thank you note.After your interview, be sure to send a note, either by mail or by email, to the family. You should thank them for their time and reiterate your interest in the position.
Acing a Phone Interview
Turn off distractions.For a phone interview, it is very important to be in a quiet place where you won't be disturbed. Turn off your phone, television, radio, and anything else that may make noise.
Look presentable.Even though your interviewer can't see you, you should still dress nicely and try to maintain good body language during your phone interview. This will help you fel more confident, which can come across in your voice.
- Smiling is very important too because it can help your voice sound more positive.
Have your documents in front of you.Have your resume in front of you during your interview so it will be easy to answer questions about specifics, like dates.
- It's also a good idea to prepare some written answers to questions ahead of time. You don't want to sound like you're reading from a script, but a list of attributes and experiences can help you answer questions more confidently.
Take notes.You are able to take more detailed notes during a phone interview than you are during an in-person interview, so take advantage of this! Jot down notes to remind you of questions that you would like to ask your interviewer later on so you're sure not to forget.
Saying the Right Thing
Highlight your experience with children.Whether you're a recent graduate or you've been working as a nanny for many years, 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 specialty 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
- Culinary abilities
- Musical or artistic talents
- Teaching or tutoring experience
- Exceptional driving record
Show enthusiasm 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 favorite activities to do or your favorite 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 behavioral challenges.
- Learn how the parents discipline their children and what guidelines they expect you to follow.
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 in mind that you are interviewing the parents as much as they are interviewing you. 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 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 laundry, cooking, running errands, tutoring, 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 organized activities.
Don't be the first to bring up compensation.It's usually best not to ask any questions about compensation during the first interview. These kinds of discussions are often saved for a second interview or for after you are offered the job. If the interviewer brings the topic up first, then it's fine to talk about it.
- It's a good idea to do some research on the going rate for nannies in your area before the interview, just in case you are asked about your salary requirements. Pay for this kind of work varies greatly by geographic area.
- If you think of any qualifications that you forgot to mention during the interview, feel free to let them know.
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 memorize 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?
- What was your last 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?
- What was your daily routine like at your last nanny job?
- How do you spend your free time?
QuestionIs it okay to ask why a previous nanny is being let go during my interview?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerNo, this would be inappropriate to ask as it doesn't have anything to do with you.Thanks!
QuestionHow should I handle a medical emergency?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYou should quickly determine what the emergency is (i.e. if the child is choking, perform the Heimlich maneuver). If it's something you can't deal with, call 911 and ask for an ambulance. You may be asked by the operator to perform CPR depending on the situation, so make sure you know how to do this. If the ambulance is on its way, I would recommend phoning the parents and explaining what happened and how so that they are aware that their child could be taken to hospital.Thanks!
What should I wear for the agency interview?
- You should be prepared to answer more personal questions during a nanny interview than you would during a typical job interview.
- The parents will be looking for a nanny who shares their values, so be alert for clues about their beliefs and parenting style. Whenever the opportunity arises, let them know that you are on the same page.
- Don't be discouraged if you aren't offered the job right away. The parents may want to interview candidates multiple times before making a selection.
- Most nanny interviews take place inside a person's residence, so be smart about your personal safety.Always let friends or family know where you are going to be at the time of the interview. You should also ask for references or perform a background check on parents or other members of the family you are interviewing for. If you are not comfortable meeting at the residence, suggest a quiet public location, such as a library or coffee shop.
Video: Nanny Interview Questions - From a Bel Air Nanny
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