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Interview questions and format?(8 Posts)
We are currently looking for a new nanny. I've had 2 already but we got via word of mouth. I was keen to hear view points from parents and nannies about what questions to ask. Aside from the obvious, what do you enjoy about being a nanny, what qualifications and first aid, experience..
Also I want to see how they are around children but when I interview it's hard as the kids keep interrupting etc. Does this seem unprofessional to any future employee? Are there any good questions and how should I format the interview?
I like interviews where I am sat on the floor playing with the children - wooden train set can be great if one or more are toddler/pre-school age - with parents looking through my portfolio and asking questions, often leading to general chit chat about the local area, likes and dislikes, music and film tastes.
Prior to interview you should already know quite a lot about the applicant's formal training and experience, so you are more interested in how they get along with the children and with you and why they feel this job is best for them compared with other jobs.
As a nanny I think the interview is a good test of whether or not I'm compatible with a family so I think go with whatever feels right for you. Don't try to be 'professional' if that's not how you would instinctively do it, don't create an artificial environment, just try to be as natural as you can.
My personal preference is formal, but with a relaxed element. I prefer a longer interview, generally a cup of tea and a chat without the children if they're of interrupting age (maybe they're having a bit of TV time or have been taken out by one of the parents) and then meeting the children and having a chat/interacting with them.
If you've done the pre-interview selection properly then all the people you meet should be 'good' nannies, what you're trying to find is one who is compatible with you and your family.
For example, I always put a mark in the 'con' column of any family who ask me about my music and film tastes, but Nick mentions that as something he likes....we're both good nannies, but suited to different families.
Yes, do be yourself, not put on any sort of mask of what you think a family with a nanny should be like. I tend to work with parents who are fairly laid back, easy going, non-formal, house a bit of a mess not spotless marble floors.
Talk about what you would like the children doing during the day. Some nannies love being at home all day doing arts and crafts and other things, whilst others will go stir crazy if not able to go out for a walk in the woods every day. Also think about what your children need... you may need someone who is very consistent, who sticks to routines, who does not panic when things do not go to plan but instead adapts quickly to the new situation.
Sometimes it simply comes down to whom your children respond to. Some of the children I have worked with have been on the autistic spectrum and I remember one non-verbal 4 year old who would not go near anyone other than close family, would not interact with anyone... but when I arrived for an interview he came charging over and jumped on my lap and sat there showing me his toy car. So sometimes it is the child who chooses!
In business you try to find someone who complements your skills, who fits in the team but brings more things to that team. With nannies, I feel you are looking for someone who is similar to you, who has the same approach to bringing up children. They may had addition skills and they may not agree 100% with the way you do things, but they will be 95% of the way there. Everyone will have their own views on this though, so you need to decide what sort of person you want to work with your family.
Are your children of an age where they can tell you who they like? Are they very shy around new people, so if you see them accepting a new person very quickly will that be clearly seen?
'In business you try to find someone who complements your skills, who fits in the team but brings more things to that team'
That's a great analogy. As Nick says, you need someone who has the same approach to you, but it's also good to get someone who can bring something else to the table. If you're a very arty family, but not big on sport a sporty nanny could be good or vice versa. I see adverts along the lines of 'we're very sporty so need a sporty nanny'...if you've already got sport covered then go for something else. You're having an additional adult in your child's life, go for some additional skills.
Thanks really interesting comments, I guess it's finding the balance of showing them what our family is like warts and all but still being able to cover everything without to many distractions. I haven't asked about personal interests yet as I don't always ask that when I interview at work but then my husband does as he feels it's important.
I do sometimes run out of questions though as a lot of information is on the cv...I find myself desperate to know how they will bond with my children and if they will be safe...hard to tell at an interview
Personal interests is an extra topic of conversation. You want to get to know them, see if it is someone similar to you not vastly different. They may have an interest in something which you don't have but would like your children to experience, or they may have an interest which one or more of your children are interested in.
Likewise phobias can be an interesting topic, if you live in the countryside and they are scared of spiders then might be an issue.
Your aim is to find someone who fits in to your family, who will be happy to work in your home. So there will be questions which are a bit different to those asked in an office environment.
I think employing a nanny is such a personal thing that a lot of parents struggle with and it can become very formal. I've had an interview where the mum had a 5 page list of questions. She just went through the questionsprobably looked up twice to make eye contact. Didn't even mention the baby's name just went straight into the list. Which to be honest made for an uncomfortable interview, probably from both sides.
Interviewing a nanny and seeing all their qualifications is all well and good, but the main points are seeing how they interact with your children. I remember one of my first nanny jobs at 20/21 I was offered the job only with a few years nursery experience behind me, purely because the mum loved how I got on to the floor to interact with the child compared to some of the older nannies with a wealth of experience who didn't.
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