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Nannies/nanny employers - come and laugh, you may pick up some interviewing tips!

(28 Posts)
frakkinaround Thu 05-Nov-09 16:33:19

I just wanted to share the hilarious interviewing experience I had this morning.

The job was a few weeks with a 6 year old, usually in FT school but owing to a sudden house move will need someone to provide 'eductional activities' at home from mid-Nov for a month a few days a week, which works perfectly with my schedule.

Prospective MB had obviously received my CV, profile etc from the agency and I, as usual, took my portfolio with all my certificates, references, sample activities/photos of things I've done with children along with me for her to see. Child was at school, understandably, but I was slightly shocked to be greeted with the news that if I 'passed' this round of interviews I would be invited back to meet my prospective charge. So I joking enquired what the pass mark was, to be told, completely seriously, that she was only inviting candidates who scored more than 95% back for another round of interviews. I was slightly hmm but wondered whether she had some kind of ticklist on her clipboard (yes, she had a clipboard). She then cross-examined me about every heading on my CV, every job I've ever had, all my qualifications, which is fair enough, I don't mind people being thorough but normally it's more of a friendly chat. So after we'd concluded her questions I gave her my file and suggested she look through it for a while and ask me about anything she found in there. To which she replied "oh good, that'll give me something to do while you complete these" and handed me a stack of papers...

a maths test
an english test (of the correct the spelling/punctuation/grammar variety with some choose the correct definition of the word questions)
and two reasoning papers (lifted straight from the Bond Assessment papers)

I don't know how well I've done, but needless to say I won't be going back biscuit (although I will be gutted if I only get 94%).

ha ha thats made me laugh

least she was through!!

nbee84 Thu 05-Nov-09 16:58:08

shock grin and hmm!!!

PixiNanny Thu 05-Nov-09 17:55:12


At least that's a Mum who really cares for her child's education... <<snickers>>

atworknotworking Thu 05-Nov-09 18:01:05

PMSL @ that one. Not fancy it then?

Can you imagine the end of day assignment you would have to do, and then re-do the next day if you had any spelling / punctuation mistakes shock

nannynick Thu 05-Nov-09 18:40:16

Maybe she was wanting a governess, as per Victorian style. Mind you, if her child was out of school for 6 weeks, then maybe the local LEA would be wanting some form of Home Ed.

Hate to think what exams she set the class teacher of the school the child is in now and the class teacher at the new school.

So even if you get 99% you won't take the job. Probably for the best.

frakkinaround Thu 05-Nov-09 18:45:26

Quite possibly nannynick - I have held the glorious title of nursery governess before and I was one of three candidates (from an agency specialising in this sort of thing) who she deemed suitable from the CV but I did find the tests a leetle OTT! Clearly passing the 11+ doesn't mean anything these days.

I would also love to see what she's asking the school!

Am waiting eagerly to hear back from agency wink

catepilarr Thu 05-Nov-09 21:11:16

maybe you should tell the agency that the family didnt reach your pass mark of 95percent and therefore you are not interested ;D

LouIsAWeetbixKid Fri 06-Nov-09 08:01:52

Oh that has made a fabulous start to my day. If you took the job, I wonder if you would get a report card at the end of each term?

AtheneNoctua Fri 06-Nov-09 08:48:36

Better than finding out after the job that you can't speak English properly and you are not actually able to assist with the homework to an acceptable standard.

I have often thought of having some kind of test to see what the potential nanny actually knows. And as my (6 year old as it happens) gets older I am realising more and more that a well educated nanny is of great importance. I have never actually done this though.

Seriously, I think a test of your ability is fair game at any job interview.

Or maybe I have just revealed myself to be the same scale of weirdo as the mum who interviewed you.

GreenBlack Fri 06-Nov-09 10:04:02

Agree with Athene, I'm an employer, I don't think she is being all that weird. "Passing" 1st round interviews at a score is something that happens regularly in corporate environments, though perhaps slightly unusual for a nanny interview, but why not? Nannies talk about how they are "professionals", so why not be treated as one at an interview? Especially since MB had clearly defined this role as having an educational element. How else are you to find out exactly how academic the prospective nanny is, other than to do tests? It's unusual yes, but I don't think it's outrageous.

Blondeshavemorefun Fri 06-Nov-09 13:26:13

ha ha

also have to agree with athene and say as the mum needs the nanny to home tutor for a few weeks i can understand why she wanted to check out your maths etc

i had my ex dc last week (yes the ones who had chocolate spread on white bread) wink and i was asked to help/supervise the 10yrs maths homework - i am VERY gtood at maths - passed gcse with an a

<polishs halo>

but was 20years ago and i was fine with all the questions but sure many nannys wouldnt be

though german i didnt have a clue

Penthesileia Fri 06-Nov-09 13:32:43

Thing is, if the MB wants a tutor, she should pay the going-rate for a tutor. A nanny can be well-educated, sure, but it's not really the kind of responsibility that I would expect a nanny to shoulder. Sounds like she's trying to get childcare and tutoring on the cheap.

AtheneNoctua Fri 06-Nov-09 13:37:49

So you think the child's education is not in the scope of a nanny?

nannynick Fri 06-Nov-09 13:39:07

if you were to give a nanny an English, Maths, Science test etc would you inform them prior to the interview?
When I went for an interview for a Government job I expected it to take an hour or so. It ended up being almost 4 hours, had to ask permission to go to the carpark to pay more money. If I had been warned what to expect, would have fed the meter more money initially. Got that job but found that Gov work didn't suit me.

Penthesileia Fri 06-Nov-09 13:45:54

It would depend, Athene.

The kind of general education you receive by being around an interesting, articulate and enthusiastic person is probably a natural consequence of hiring a good nanny.

However, the MB, in this case, seems to want someone to educate their child at school level.

If I wanted that, I would look for someone with education qualifications. Or do it myself.

I wouldn't expect a nanny to do it.

I'm not implying anything is beyond the scope of a nanny (well, maybe rocket-science grin), but I am saying that I don't think it is appropriate to ask a nanny to educate (in the formal sense) a DC (unless she is a qualified teacher, etc). But perhaps I misunderstood the OP.

Agree with nick that this should have been flagged-up beforehand.

GreenBlack Fri 06-Nov-09 13:49:02

I think some nannies must be capable of tutoring children (or do you dispute that?) and that she was just trying to find those ones.

How do you possibly know what pay she was planning to offer for this position?

Yes I would tell them beforehand, not that I've ever done paper tests. Also when I go to interviews, I always ask how long they think it will take.

Penthesileia Fri 06-Nov-09 13:52:07

No, I don't dispute that, GreenBlack. But I would expect and want the nanny to have qualifications which demonstrate her ability to teach to the appropriate level. I would also expect to pay for nanny qualified in such a way.

I don't know what the MB was planning to pay; but it is unlikely to be the £25 an hour which a tutor can expect.

fridayschild Fri 06-Nov-09 13:54:54

When I interview at work I want to see the candidate at his or her best - no ambushes. I think tests like these are sufficently unusual for a nanny interview that candidates should have been warned in advance.

When I interview both at home and work I do have standard questions for all candidates, because I find it really useful to compare answers and it reassures me I have asked all the important questions.

Last time I looked for a nanny there were plenty of primary school teachers looking for a job. I think your interviewer should have gone for those, myself.

Tavvy Fri 06-Nov-09 14:08:32

In my job there is an educational element although do not hold the grand title of nursery governess. How marvellous that would be wink
I worked in a primary school for five years and it was a requirement of the job that I could do maths, English, science, could teach the piano, and had excellent general knowledge especially of history, geography and related social studies; was proactive enough to plan educational activities, understood active learning and was creative.
As well as that I had to be well presented, well spoken and have high standards of cooking and cleanliness.
My mb is hard work but she did not do these tests. Not sure what I would have done if she did as I'm useless at non verbal reasoning.
It must have made for a funny start to the day and have never heard of it happening before. The question I would be curious to know is whether she could get 95% and I know for a fact my mb can't meet most of what she requires from me. Cest la vie grin

AtheneNoctua Fri 06-Nov-09 14:09:06

Perhaps it depends on how difficult the tests were. I'm assuming it was addition/subtraction/multiplication/division/word problems/etc. since the child is 6. I agree if she got calculus final exam then that might be a bit odd.

But, for example, my DD (age 6) does Kumon every morning. And the nanny needs to be able to help her add double digits in her head. I usually jump in and do this in the morning. But, if I wasn't there in the morning, I would need nanny to do it.

frakkinaround Fri 06-Nov-09 19:07:00

TBH I was just completely shocked to be expected to sit these tests at an interview, especially given the person spec MB had sent round, wich is completely fair game I hasten to add! She specified a degree in a primary curriculum core subject, which certainly implies A-levels or equivalent, GCSEs to include maths, english and science (which is standard for a primary teacher) and previous experience in a similar role so I don't quite see the need to set tests, unless the education system is completely devalued!

When I interviewed for my PGCE we were warned we would be sitting literacy and numeracy tests, which is fair enough. But that job you get at the end of that is actually as a teacher and you have to pass the QTS tests at the end so there's no point starting the course if you won't pass the QTS tests! The maths test was definitely above primary level, I would hazard a guess at GCSE, possibly KS3 but I'm not up to speed on the current secondary maths curriculum. Definitely more complicated that the end of KS2/PYP. Algebra, but not calculus! There was some trig but seeing as I had to leave the expression as a function of cos! Sadly I haven't memorised my log tables and I'm not in the habit of carrying a scientific calculator around with me....

She wasn't advertising for a teacher, or even a tutor, she was asking for a nanny. The skills set of a professional nanny, I feel, goes way beyond basic maths and english skills although I would probably expect any future nanny of mine, if I ever happen to employ one, to be capable of supervising the pimary curriculum. Good nannying is about developing the child as a whole: instilling good manners, respect for others, self-respect etc as well as developing cognitive and creative skills. Thinking back the strangest thing was that it was all about my academics and job history, nothing about me as a person or how I could do the job. I suspect she couldn't do it, but none of my previous employers have had my skills set - that tends to be why they hire me even when they do have the time to do it themselves. They concentrate on skills I don't have, like predicting the stock market (I kid you ex-charge was freakishly good at this).

I would hope that my 10 GCSEs, including in maths (A), english (2As) and science (2A*, 1 A), 3As at A-level (plus ASes in maths and general studies), a degree, and being qualified to teach English were enough...but clearly not. If she was serious about my ability to educate then I would have expected her to ask me to bring lesson plans, or prepare one on the spot. And the payscale was nothing like what I get for tutoring. I don't mean to brag about my qualifications there but it might explain why I was slightly shock to be handed tests, and those lifted from Bond papers at that!

It just made me laugh! But please, employers, if you're going to set your nanny tests do warn them. It's not the fact she set them, although I found that a tad odd and it's not something I've ever come across before, but the way she handed them to me. athene if you do decide to test your nanny then don't set nanny a written test, make your 6 year old cross examine them on complex additions!

Still haven't heard - will keep you posted. Expect she's busy marking...

Tavvy Fri 06-Nov-09 21:47:28

Athene you would have failed on two counts.
A sentence cannot begin with and or but!!!

AtheneNoctua Sat 07-Nov-09 15:39:58

I wasn't taking a test at a job interview in my last post. But, since you mention it -- and I disagree that a sentence can not start with "but" -- shall I point out your flaws? You forgot the comma after Athene and a triple exclamation mark is very poor punctuation indeed.

I was thinking about this this mornign and I think the test I would choose it to wad up a variety of clothes in a pile and then ask him/her how he/she would do the laundry. What things can be washed together? Which need to be hung up, and so on.

Blondeshavemorefun Sat 07-Nov-09 15:43:07

pmsl athene

db would fail this - he added a blue top to no 1's school white pe kit day BEFORE sports day

hence this fab nanny dashing to shop to buy colour restorer and spending hours bleaching kit

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