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Nanny Interview Questions

How to interview a nanny for your nanny share

You’ve found a few great nanny candidates for your nanny share. You’ve talked to them on the phone and now you’re ready for face-to-face interviews. Congrats! The research phase is complete. Now it’s time to determine who is going to be the best fit for both families and the little ones in your nanny share. There is a lot you’re going to want to gauge in interviews—if the nanny is nurturing, caring, trustworthy and reliable. It sounds like a lot, but don’t worry—we have you covered. We’ve done the prep work for you!

Nanny Interview: Timing & Participants

When scheduling interviews, it’s best to plan for 90 minutes. The first hour can be devoted to the majority of your questions and the last 30 minutes can be used to see how the nanny interacts with the children. (Making time to include the little ones is really important—both to see how the children react to the nanny and to see first-hand how the nanny interacts with children.) Having all parties plan for 90 minutes should give you enough time to get through your questions and also have a relaxed session with the children. It’s not quite realistic to cover more complex questions when there are little ones running around or needing to be held.

Speaking of all parties, all parents involved in the nanny share should be present for the interview. For the share to work, hiring a nanny has to be a group decision. It’s important that everyone has a chance to meet the nanny so they can properly weigh in. It’s also important that the nanny gets a clear picture of all the people involved in the share.

Keep in mind that this group setting, while necessary, might be a little intimidating for the nanny (If you’ve been interviewed by more than one person at once, you know that it can be a little overwhelming!). That’s why it’s best to coordinate a strategy beforehand with the other parents. Decide who will handle the questions or divide the list ahead of time and stick to it. You can all of course chime in with follow up questions, but do your best to make the interview conversational so it doesn’t feel like a firing squad.

Nanny Interview Questions

The goal of the interview is to understand the nanny's qualifications—are they fit for the job? —but it’s also to understand their views on childcare and how they’d react in certain situations that may come up on the job. Here are the buckets you should cover.

Work History, Experience & Qualifications

You can start the interview by asking basic background questions around their work history and experience. You should have most of this information already from vetting their resume, but it’s good to cover a quick refresher. The majority of this section should center on the specifics of their previous positions in order to gauge their qualifications and reliability. You should also add questions relevant to any specific needs of the little ones in your share, such as secondary languages, medical conditions, and so on to gauge if they have experience with these needs.

Communication

This section of the interview should focus on questions that will help you understand the nanny’s communication style. Communication is incredibly important when it comes to childcare—even more so in a nanny share where there are multiple families involved. It’s important that you leave an interview feeling confident that the nanny will be able to communicate with all parents effectively and feel comfortable having tough conversations when needed.

Caregiving Style

Now on to the most important part of the interview—focusing on the little ones! To get a good sense of the nanny’s caregiving style, you should focus on behavioral questions where they have to give examples or a lot of specifics. At CozyKin, we place a lot of value on behavioral questions as we've found that answers not only show how the nanny would think on their feet, but they also highlight their demeanor. When someone is truly passionate about caring for little ones, there’s a passion that comes through when they’re talking about the children they’ve cared for and the kinds of activities they like to do—their face lights up, their body language relaxes and their voice might go up slightly (hey, whose doesn’t when talking about adorable little babies?).

Unique Needs

You should always be upfront about any unique requirements your family has, whether they’re dietary, cultural, or religious…or if you work from home some days or have pets in the home. Make sure you’re clear on your needs and then ask about their experience with or ability to accommodate these needs.

Want a specific list of questions to ask when hiring a nanny? Download our Nanny Interview Questions Checklist!

Job Details to Cover

If the interview is still going well at this point, it’s time to dive into the details of the job. All families involved in the nanny share should be on the same page with what they’re requiring in terms of hours per day, vacation or days off allowed, any benefits being offered and other important details.

Make sure to cover:

  • When you would need the nanny to start
  • Salary you’re offering (with details about taxes)
  • How payments will be made (monthly/weekly, check/cash)
  • The hours required
  • Duties of the job (example: light meal prep for the children, light laundry and/or cleaning, etc)
  • Vacation days you’re providing and whether they would be willing to take them at certain times (to fit your vacation schedule, for example)

Questions You Cannot Ask

As with any formal employee hiring process, there are legal guidelines about the questions you can ask. You cannot ask a nanny candidate about their:

  • Age
  • Race/ethnic background
  • Religious views
  • Sexual orientation
  • Marital status
  • Plans on becoming pregnant or a parent
  • Any disability

If these things come up naturally in conversation, it’s fine, but you won’t be able to legally claim them as reasons for not hiring them.

Green Lights & Red Flags

Now that you're prepped for a successful interview, how do you know if the candidate is a good fit for you and your little ones? We’ll leave you with a green light / red light checklist.

Red Light:

  • Poor hygiene
  • Vagueness—specifics are better. 
  • Punctuality to the interview. Remember that you’re going to rely on your nanny to arrive on time each morning. 
  • Communication around the interview itself (did they communicate if they were running late? Did they need to reschedule multiple times?) 
  • Lack of awareness on how they’re being perceived. They should be putting the best version of themselves forward. 
  • If they talk extremely negatively about their previous employers and place blame. If they disagreed on things, that’s fine, but the nanny should be able to articulate that. 

Green Light:

  • A clear love for children (both through their answers and how they interact with your little ones).
  • Enthusiasm. Being a nanny is a tough job! If they really love it, it will come through in their answers. 
  • A focus on fun and learning. Look for clear indicators that they will plan fun, well-rounded days for the children. 
  • Common sense. They’re going to have to make a lot of decisions about your little one's health, safety and well-being throughout the day. 

We know this was a lot of information. Breathe and take it in—it’s going to be okay! It’s important that you’re thorough in the interview as this person is going to be taking care of some pretty special cargo. And remember to have fun with it! You want to make sure a nanny is qualified but you also want a good sense of them as a person. And remember to trust your gut. Happy interviewing!

Want a specific list of questions to ask when hiring a nanny? Download our Nanny Interview Questions Checklist!

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