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List Of Interview Questions To Ask A Nanny

We are on to our 5th nanny in the past 2 years.

We’ve hired foreign nannies, local nannies, older nannies, younger nannies. They’ve quit, they’ve been fired, things dissolved with mutual agreement. We’ve seen it all and it’s been crazy.

The market is so demanding for childcare that it’s like buying a house at the peak of the market. You know that if you don’t put an offer in right away, you’ll lose the chance. So instead of finding the perfect person, you end up taking the first available. At least that’s been our experience working with caregivers.

We finally have it right with our latest hire, but it has taken much trial and error to get there.

If you’ve ever been online dating, you know what it’s like to try and find a nanny. You sign up for agencies, and referral services, and networking websites. You read profiles, backgrounds, resumes, and references. You trade a couple of emails, maybe do a skype call, and then you have to decide. You go a lot on gut feeling.

You have to hire someone in good faith to come and live in your home, and take care of your kids expecting the same level of unconditional love you will offer. It’s a demanding request. So what should you ask a nanny in that interview and what do you need to consider when choosing a caregiver for your kids?

I chatted recently with Stephanie Breedlove, VP of Care.com HomePay, to get the insight on which interview questions to ask a nanny, and the steps to take after you hire your nanny.

  • Know what you want 1 of 10
    iStock_000020897570XSmall

    "It starts with having a clear idea of what you're looking for," says Breedlove. "Write down your expectations and define the roll and  duties."

    This will help you in placing the ad, and finding the right people for your specific caregiving roll right away. Is there lots of housekeeping? Just looking after the kids? What hours will they keep? Will they be live in or live out?  Spending some time to put it on paper first means you won't waste more time sorting through inappropriate candidates later.

    Image via iStockPhoto

  • More than just experience 2 of 10
    iStock_000021067556XSmall

    "Make sure when you ask questions you're not just asking about their childcare background and experience," says Breedlove. "Talk about values that can connect a family to a childcare provider."

    A resume can show how much experience someone has with kids, but can't tell you how they are with kids. Talk about values on religion, screen time, problem solving, nutrition. Try what-if scenarios to see if they understand how to react to situations. They need to be an extension of you. If you believe in time outs, and they believe in spanking, you need to understand that at the outset.

    Image via iStockPhoto

  • Best interview questions 3 of 10
    iStock_000001075802XSmall

    This article from Helen Moon at the Huffington Post is, simply, the best resource of questions you could ask. It has questions about background, job duties, experience, and values. It's broken down by age specific concerns, and is dozens of questions long. You can find the 15 or 20 or more questions that are specific to your circumstance and make sure you find the caregiver you need. Click through for some more suggestions.

    Image via iStockPhoto

  • What were the best parts of your previous jobs? 4 of 10
    nanny-q

    By finding out the highlights of your nanny's experiences, you can find more about her values, and you'll have a better understanding of how to make sure she has similar highlights with your kids. It will also give insight in to the kinds of thinks she loves and will do with your kids.

    Image via iStockPhoto

  • What activities would you engage in with a child this age? 5 of 10
    nanny-q-21

    You'll get an idea of the experience and comfort level your nanny has with kids in your age range by finding out if their ideas for activities are appropriate.

    Image via iStockPhoto

  • What is your child rearing philosophy? 6 of 10
    philosophy1

    You need to be on the same page. From reading to kids to crafting, to spanking, to tv time, to outdoor time. All of it you need to be in sync on. Your nanny may have a different philosophy with how they raise their own kids, but they need to be on the same page as your philosophy when raising your kids.

    Image via iStockPhoto

  • What do you like to do in your free time? 7 of 10
    free-time1

    This question was important to our family, because we wanted to know if the nanny would be away from the home on weekends and evenings. Knowing if they have friends in the area, or what other interests they have gives insight into the personality and can see if their arrangement will work with your expectations. Do you want someone always on call or someone who will 'disappear' when the family is all together on the weekends, etc.

    Image via iStockPhoto

  • Why are you interested in this job? 8 of 10
    interested1

    One of the nannies we hired discovered 2 weeks into the job that it wasn't something she wanted to do. Her friends were making money in the oil and gas industry, and she quickly let us know this wasn't the job for her. Had we asked this question in the interview, maybe we would have found a different caregiver to hire instead.

    Image via iStockPhoto

  • Put it in writing 9 of 10
    iStock_000025253485XSmall

    Breedlove says you should "end the process of hiring with a written agreement that puts everything in writing so everyone knows where they stand." Starting dates, wages, living arrangements, rules on child discipline, lay it all out.

    We may be a little more light when hiring neighborhood babysitters, but when you hire a nanny you need to come at it with an employer/employee attitude. You're the boss, your kids are the product, and the nanny is an employee in chage of that product.

    You need to make it official and understood.

    Image via iStockPhoto

  • Paperwork 10 of 10
    iStock_000007027736XSmall1

    "When you hire a nanny and pay more than $1800/yr you're a household employer," reminds Breedlove. "[You're] required to withhold payroll taxes and you're in charge of administering  paperwork." Care.com HomePay , runs paperwork for people and looks after withholding taxes, payroll taxes, and can help establish accounts with your state and  IRS.

    "It's a common practice to pay under the table," she admits. "But there's a moving trend to going over the table and getting on the books. people think it's too expensive or difficult, but with tax breaks and benefits that are available, you can go legit quite easily."

    You should expect to pay a live-in nanny anywhere from $12-$20/hour depending on your city and region.

    Image via iStockPhoto


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