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Finding a Nanny or Babysitter: Tips for Interviewing Caregivers

Finding a Nanny or Babysitter: Tips for Interviewing Caregivers

You’ve gone through all the applications, you may even have conducted some phone interviews and you’ve narrowed it down to a few potential candidates. Now it’s time to interview your potential nanny or babysitter in person (or over video these days) and that can feel daunting.
You know that the person you hire needs to be someone you can trust, depend on and who will competently and kindly look after your children. Here are some helpful tips and questions to ask to make the most of the interviewing process and give you the best chance at finding the right caregiver for your little ones!

Overall Impressions
Here are some general things to take note of. They might seem minor but, if you think about it, they can reveal a lot about a person.

  • Did the candidate arrive on time?
  • Is their body language relaxed and direct? Are they making eye contact and sitting with a respectful, open posture? Do they smile when talking about children?
  • If your child is not present, do they ask questions about him or her? If your child is present, are they friendly and make an effort to engage? If your child is shy, are they understanding and back-off?

      At this point you are familiar with the candidate’s qualifications, having received their application. Here are a few sample questions to help you dig deeper to truly get a feel for the person you are considering and if they are appropriate.

      • Why did you choose childcare as a profession?
      • Are you prepared to further your qualifications with other childcare courses?
      • Could you describe a situation where your first aid course came in useful?
      • What would you do if my child fell and experienced a wound? What if they hit their head?
      • Do you know your way around the area?

        Understanding the person’s previous experience as a caregiver will help you to discern their passion for their work and their reason for job-searching. The idea is to ask thoughtful questions that haven’t been “prepared” for. To draw out natural and genuine answers, consider these possibilities.

        • Tell me about a family you worked with in the past. How old were the children? What did a typical day look like when you cared for them?
        • Why did you leave that job?
        • What was your favorite part of that job? What didn’t you like?
        • Can you describe the most difficult experience you’ve had with a child and how you handled it?

          Childcare Philosophy
          How the candidate views and relates to children and their development will be of utmost importance to you. This will have a direct bearing on the development and well-being of your child, physically, emotionally and mentally. Ideally you would like to find a Nanny or Babysitter with a similar philosophy to yours.
          Most of these questions don’t have a right or wrong answer but they should help you to develop a view of the candidate’s childcare philosophy.

          • How would you handle a tantrum in the middle of the mall?
          • Can you describe a routine suitable for a two-year old?
          • How much screen time is healthy?
          • What does a balanced diet look like for a fussy eater?
          • What do you believe about discipline?

            You’ve finished the interview and you’re feeling excited about a particular candidate. Now what?

            Check References
            If you haven’t done it yet, follow up on as many references as you can.
            Pay particular attention to parents who had hired the person in a Nanny or Babysitter role. If the interview raised any queries in your mind about previous experience, this is a great opportunity to clarify or confirm what the candidate shared with you.
            The peace of mind that comes from hearing another parent affirming the candidate and raising their positive attributes holds a lot of weight.

            It’s Playtime
            Before committing to a long-term contract, plan a relaxed afternoon or day together with the candidate and your children. Some families try a couple of weeks (a paid trial) to see if the family and the Nanny or Babysitter are a good fit.
            Here are some things to pay attention to:

            • After some time to warm up, is your child comfortable and “themselves” around the candidate?
            • Is the candidate calm and confident in her approach to your child? How does the Nanny or Babysitter respond when your child is being difficult?
            • Does the candidate show a clear understanding of your child’s personality and routine?
            • Do you get on well with the candidate? Does the Nanny or Babysitter listen to you and follow your instructions respectfully?
            • Is your kid excited to see the candidate and sad to see them go? You know your kid better than anyone so don’t dismiss their attitude towards this newcomer. Of course, YOU will always be their favorite person, there’s no denying that!
            • Trust your gut! If something doesn’t feel right, now is the time to take action. Your intuition when it comes to the caregiver of your kids should never be ignored.
            It isn’t easy finding the right person to step into your home and be there for your kids. Hopefully following this approach will increase your chances at finding a wonderful Nanny or Babysitter to meet that need.