Often during an interview, no matter the field, the interviewer will ask the candidate if they have any questions. In a nanny interview, this is your chance to interview the family to decide if they will be a good fit for you. Just because a family likes you and even offers you the job, it doesn’t mean you should accept. I have turned down jobs before for this very reason. I realized we didn’t see eye-to-eye on fundamental things like child-led versus parent-led scheduling and sleep training strategies. Although they may have been fine parents and employers, there was a nanny out there better suited to their approach, and a family out there better suited to mine.
In case you’ve never done this before, don’t forget to cover the basic questions. I usually do this on the phone with one of the parents before meeting them in person. It allows us the time to discuss the bigger details, like hours, location, number of kids, before we pencil in the time to meet. If those factors don’t match up, both parties can continue exploring other families or candidates for better compatibility.
Once you’ve got the basics out of the way, you can focus more on the details of the job and get a feel for the family you could be working with. The following questions should provide you with the necessary knowledge to make the most informed decision:
- What does the kids’ schedule look like? What are their routines?
- What is your parenting style?
- What are your behavior expectations for your kids, and how do you handle discipline?
- Tell me about your family. What do you enjoy doing together?
- What are your expectations for your nanny? (Duties, characteristics, role within the family, etc.)
- Have you had a nanny before? What were some things you liked about her, and what would you like done differently?
- Remember to ask questions that might be specifically important to you, like: Does a parent work from home? Do you expect me to drive the kids? Are the children allowed to use electronics/watch TV? Do you have any pets?
It’s great to get as much information from the family as possible before deciding whether or not you want to work with them, but remember not to overload them with questions. Pick your top three points of discussion before meeting with a family. In the event that you run out of time or the family seems eager to move on, you will at least have your most important questions answered.
Although the interview questions are definitely important, the feel you get from the family is equally (if not more) important. Don’t convince yourself you’re overreacting if you don’t get a good feeling from the family, or they present red flags, like hiring multiple nannies who didn’t stay. Go with your gut when it comes to accepting (or rejecting) a nanny position. It will usually guide you in the right direction.
Best of luck finding your next nanny-family!