My husband and I just had to hire our third nanny in two years as our current nanny is moving out of state. While we have had unfortunate luck with two nannies that moved out of state in the past year, we have developed a great list of interview questions to hire the best care for our children. Here are some of the tips we picked up:
Ask the right questions.
When interviewing a nanny, it’s important that you ask questions that gauge not only what the nanny’s experience is, but also how they react in a certain situation. Here are some action-oriented questions to consider:
- Have you ever been in a situation where a child under your care got sick? If so, how did you handle it?
- What activities do you plan to do with my child? Do you like to schedule educational-based activities and outdoor playtime to keep them away from electronics? Give us some examples.
- Are you comfortable preparing our family’s preferred style of food?
- What is your position on discipline?
When your candidate answers the questions, look for signs that she is being sincere and not just telling you what she thinks you want to hear. Ask for additional details and examples if you’re unsure.
Gauge the interaction.
Allow your child time to play with the candidate. When my husband and I interviewed our latest nanny, my husband was holding our daughter for a majority of the time. However, after we got through the questions, he put her down so she could play near the nanny. We watched as the nanny went to the floor to play with her and were relieved to see that our daughter actually approached the nanny to play. Believe it or not, kids are a great judge of character.
Request a background check.
We do a Google search, social media search and criminal background check on every candidate we interview. In fact, one candidate that we thought we liked ended up having a two-page criminal background with stalking charges and a DUI. Had we not done this check, we may have welcomed an unfit caregiver into our home. Sometimes instinct and references checks just aren’t enough. Helpful tip: many counties offer free criminal checks online. Check with your county’s circuit court website to see if this service is offered.
In the end, searching for a nanny can be a stressful task. However, it’s important to do your research and trust your instinct.
More childcare articles from Katie Shaykin:
When It’s Okay to Judge a Book by Its Cover: Selecting a Nanny
Eeny, Meeny, Miny, Moe; How to Leave the Games Behind when Selecting a Nanny