In an interview situation, everyone is a bit nervous and as a result, quick answers to questions posed are not really a true reflection of how you might feel about/or react to an issue raised once you think about the situation. It is also important to recognize that you are interviewing the family as much as they are interviewing you. Issues related to personality, lifestyle and child rearing philosophy are all important for determining a successful match. You should be prepared for each interview and have a list of questions that will help you determine which family opportunity meets your requirements.
When choosing an agency, you should look for one that will screen families and require families to have a written job description which clearly define expectations, hours, flexibility required, salary and benefits before you begin work. All families that work with In Search of Nanny in their childcare search receive the Agency's "In-Home Childcare Kit, a Family's Guide for Successfully Employing (and Keeping) a Professional Nanny." The Kit includes the Family Information Guide that you are asked to read before your interview with an Agency representative. As a result both caregiver and parents are "on the same wavelength." If you are working independently in your search and not through the Agency, many caregivers have required their potential employers to purchase the Agency Kit and/or they request the family to consult with the Agency to develop a mutually agreeable job description and/or to negotiate compensation.
It is important to remember that a parent will evaluate your appropriateness for their position based on your interaction with their children; first impressions mean a great deal. We encourage parents to schedule a first interview when their toddler, pre school or older children are not present so that you can spend time asking questions about the position and their children. However, if children are present in the first interview, you should remember that your interaction with them will be of primary interest to a parent. If you do not get all your questions answered on a first interview, there will be other opportunities to get them answered and/or the Agency will be able to provide answers (or get them for you) about any position.
- For an infant - are you breastfeeding exclusively? Has anyone been able to feed the baby breast milk from a bottle?
- What is an average day in the life of your child? Do you feel a schedule and routine are important?
- As your children's nanny, will I be able to set guidelines and new routines as I see fit?
- Have you employed a nanny in the past? Was the relationship successful? If no, why not?
- Will we be able to sit down together regularly to discuss the children's progress and any problems that might arise?
- How many hours per day will I be on duty? What flexibility will you require?
- As a live-in nanny, which areas of the home may I use? What are the “house rules” regarding guests? Can you show me the accommodations?
- Do the children have friends and playmates? If they have nannies, could we arrange joint activities?
- Are any special skills required for your children's care? Do they have any special needs or on medication?
- May I take your children on outings and walks to museums, parks, zoo, library, etc?
- Do your children adjust easily to changes? How do you think a change in their caregiver will affect them?
- What are the children's favorite activities? Do they have special toys or blankets to sleep with? Do they have any persistent fears?
- Does the family travel? Do the children and nanny go along? What vacations, holidays, etc. will I receive? Are there other benefits to consider?
- What responsibilities will I have other than childcare?