There is no greater responsibility than the task of
hiring a caretaker for your child. This is a decision that can have enormous
ramifications if proper care and attention is not taken. There is no need for
melodramatic paranoia, but a certain level of care is warranted. The interview
process can be a lengthy and thoughtful period, often stressful, but very
rewarding when the perfect fit is found.
The Child's Approval
Unfortunately, chemistry is a strong part of the nanny business. Not all nannies
are liked by every child. Some children have trouble relating to people they are
not visually attracted to and will fuss or shy away from such a person. Even if
the nanny is highly recommended and presents an impeccable resume, it may be
wise to seek a different candidate. Your children must trust the person who will
care for them or they may not react well to the caretaker.
It is a good practice to introduce your child to the nanny before she is hired.
During the initial interaction you should be able to gauge whether or not the
relationship between your child and the nanny will be successful. This will be
your opportunity to see how the nanny will relate with your children and how
they get along. Without any prompting, observe this initial meeting and take
note of the kinds of questions the nanny asks, how she introduces herself, and
how she attempts to bond. It is difficult to describe what a positive first
meeting looks like but you should be able to make a decision based on the
qualities you desire in a nanny.
Values and Interests
In most interviews the candidate is asked about her hobbies and her values are
usually ascertained through a series of questions which has a goal in mind. This
kind of interview questioning is vitally important during the nanny hiring
process. The job of a nanny is not only to take care of the physiological needs
of children, but to tend to every aspect of their development in the absence of
the parent. In almost all cases, the ideals, interests, and values are absorbed
by the child, either through action or speech. During the interview you may ask
the candidate if she volunteers, plays music, has a family, watches television,
reads books, or what have you. These questions might seem invasive, but they
will provide you with a picture into the personality that will influence your
Possible Interview Questions
In order to guide the interview process so it goes more smoothly, there are a
few uncommon interview questions that can help you gain an understanding as to
what the candidate thinks and feels regarding the position. The ideal interview
question gains information about the candidate that you may not have been able
to find through conventional means. For example, you can ask what age of child
she prefers to care for. This kind of question gives you an idea of the maturity
level the nanny prefers and whether she likes to deal with the problems of
babies, toddlers, children, or adolescents. Does she prefer to teach more
complex lessons about peer pressure or does she simply want to deal with
developing simple language skills. Additionally you can ask what she would do if
she were offered a job at twice the pay for a wealthier family. Not only would
this question test to see if the candidate cares more about money than the tie
to the family, but it also has a slightly ulterior motive of holding her to her
word if the scenario does occur. You want to know if this nanny will be with the
family for as long as she is needed.
Once in a while an interviewee will have all the required credentials and a
personality that meets all of your criteria, but there are hidden factors that
must be accounted for. For example, some nannies will put on the persona of the
perfect candidate but fail to hide their greater interest in compensation. When
asking the nanny about her previous position it?s possible that she may have
negative to say about her previous employer. This is considered unprofessional
and petty. Questions of discipline should provide insight into how the nanny
deals with problems. Finally, when writing the contract, you should clearly
state your stance on discipline, but the interview is an opportunity to see what
her views are on the subject.
There are many other important topics when it comes to choosing the right nanny,
but they are more straightforward. Performing a background check and following
up on references are obvious tasks you must undertake once you?ve found a nanny
candidate you think is a good fit for your family. The ideas mentioned in this
article go beyond the superficial interview questions. By formulating more
thoughtful interview strategies, you can avoid future problems.
by Nathanial Hammons
About the author:
Nathanial Hammons is a
licensed attorney specializing in writing nanny contracts at
My Nanny Contracts.
As a parent himself, his goal is to protect parents and their nanny's from a
business relationship that could go sour if proper precautions are not taken.
With proper foresight, any problems that arise can be dealt with easily without
the need for messy lawsuits that could also cause anguish to the children