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Questions to ask a nanny at first interview - all suggestions welcome!

18 replies

Cakehead · 18/09/2007 12:06

DH and I are about to start interviewing nannies for the first time. We're complete novices and I'd really welcome suggestions as to what questions we should be asking. We've got a little boy aged two and a two-month-old daughter. Thank you!

OP posts:

romeosgirl · 18/09/2007 12:14

Activities they would plan, discipline tactics, past experiences with similar ages, do they smoke? How would they deal with both children at the same time if both were requiring attention.

Good luck!


pol26 · 18/09/2007 12:18

Def ask her experience with a newborn and a toddler. I'm sure she is going to have to be super organised and have lots of distraction techniques up her sleeve while she is feeding/changing/sterilising etc.

Will she be live in? If so what does she like doing in her free time... You don't want someone really noisy when you have a babe (you have your two yr old for that ) Does she have a boyfriend and if so will she be expecting him to be able to come over. I think it's important to set these ground rules and what you deed acceptable and not.

Hours of work/pay.

Activities she anticipates doing with your children.

Food. Is she a good cook? What does she suggest for meal plans? Will you be expecting her to do the food shop or you?

Are you expecting her to drive? If so are you providing a nanny car or is she providing her own. I'd check all her MOT and tax and make sure she has the right insurance to carry your children too.

I'd ask if she has a CRB check and would she be willing to get one if not. Does she have any quals or just experience? Does she have first aid cert/ food hygiene cert? What are her refernces like?

There are heaps of stuff you could ask but imo, you either get the feel of someone and like them or you don't. Maybe you could ask succesful nannies to return back for an hour or so with your children while you hide out upstairs and see how things get along?


MatNanPlus · 18/09/2007 12:18

first aid knowledge

cooking ability

routines/daily plan


ScottishMummy · 18/09/2007 12:24

previous experiences, give them a a scenario question that is applicable to you..."what would you do if..."

discipline - your preferences

structured play


food you allow/don't allow

explicitly state your expectations to her

time keeping/hours of work

police check

chase up other references

Her Annual leave etc

is it live in/or live out

what to do in emergency- contacting you

any medical information re kids that she need to know

back up plan if she sick/compassionate leave etc

terms and conditions

also remember its your home your children use your instincts- good luck
anyhow good luck


eleusis · 18/09/2007 12:35

  1. Describe a typical day?s activities for you and the children?

2. Describe a typical weekly meal plan for the children (include breakfast, lunch, dinner and any snacks you may offer them)?
3. How would you describe your approach to discipline?
4. Do you have any degrees or diplomas in childhood education? Any degrees or diplomas in other subjects? If so, what subjects?
5. Do you speak any languages besides English? Would you teach it to the children?
6. How many hours of television do you think the children should watch each day?
7. What kinds of television programs / videos do you believe are acceptable for children?
8. Why do you want to work in England?
9. If we travel as a family within the UK, would you want to join us? What about Europe? The United States?
10. Do you smoke? If so, how much?
11. Do you have any requests in terms of the accommodation we offer you?
12. Are you an au pair / nanny now? If not, why have you decided to become one?
13. What kinds of foods do you like to eat? (Please be specific and use as much space as you need.)
14. Do you drink alcohol? If so, how much?
15. How many hours do you want to work each week?
16. Describe your experience with babies/toddlers/children.
17. Would you be willing to provide overnight care of the children (in the rare event that both parents are required to travel for work during the week)?
18. Do you have a driver?s license? From what country? How long have you had it?
19. Do you own a car in the UK?
20. What do you like to do in your spare time?
21. Describe your personality?
22. What qualities make you well suited to be a nanny?
23. What is your worst habit?
24. Do you have a boyfriend/girlfriend? fiancé/fiancée? spouse? If so, where does he live?
25. Do you know anyone in England? Friends? Family?
26. Would you take care of the children if he/she was sick? (They do not get sick a lot, I only ask as a precaution)
27. Do you have a credit card? A UK bank account?
28. Do you play any sports? Which ones? How often?
29. Can you provide a reference from a previous au pair/nanny/nursery job? If so, please attach to this questionnaire and/or provide contact information of previous employer(s).
30. How many times have you been sick in the last year? What was the illness?
31. Do you have any children? If so, what ages? Where do they live?
32. What sorts of things would you include in each entry of a nanny diary? (If it is easier to attach a sample rather than descries it here, feel free to do so)
33. Summarise your views on discipline, schedules, and routines for young children?
34. Do you wish to obtain any additional employment besides being our nanny?
35. For how long to you plan to pursue a career as a live-in nanny? What do you see yourself doing in 5 years time? In ten years time?
36. Are you available for a face-to-face interview in the United Kingdom? If so, when?
37. What is your salary expectation?
38. Are you in possession of a work visa for the United Kingdom? If so, what are the restrictions?
39. Are you able to travel to the London area by your own means?

fridayschild · 18/09/2007 13:21

If you want her to do jobs in addition to normal nursery duties - my nanny receives the grocery shopping I order on line - you should discuss that with her too. This is really handy because the evening slots get booked up in advance.

How about asking if she has experience of potty training and weaning a child onto food, given the ages of your children?


Cakehead · 18/09/2007 13:31

Gosh, this is great. Just so much I hadn't considered. Thank you all v. much. Exremely helpful.

OP posts:

LadyG · 18/09/2007 15:33

Just had to do this!!! Will add message later with my list (at work now)


Cakehead · 18/09/2007 18:39

One more question: what's a nanny diary?

OP posts:

eleusis · 18/09/2007 22:27


nannynick · 18/09/2007 23:38

I care for a 4 month old and have a rather more informal diary than the MyDayDiary. I use a spiral bound notebook and use a page for each day, on which I note feed times (and quantities), nap times, nappy changes (just dirty / wet - so that baby doesn't get constipated). Sometimes add general notes to do with household management. So all a bit more simplistic but handy none the less.
My boss thought it was a bit extreme at first, but now refers to it when she arrives home from work, so she gets a general overview of how LO has been getting on.

To add to your questions list:
If you are wanting to use Childcare Vouchers / Tax Credits, then ask your nanny to-be about their current registration status, plus make sure they meet the requirements of the scheme.

Out of interest, what questions would you expect a nanny to ask of you? I always find asking questions at interviews hard, so wonder what the best questions are to ask.


Cakehead · 19/09/2007 20:07

That's really hard, I guess I'm not sure what I'd expect a prospective nanny to ask . We are very much novices, but I suppose I'd expect to someone to ask about the activities my LOs particularly like, how we discipline, whether they eat well, if they have any allergies, how we'd describe them as individuals - how they are character-wise. Hmm. You've got me thinking now.

OP posts:

nannynick · 19/09/2007 20:13

Thanks for that... I find that parents often talk alot about their own children (naturally) and thus a lot of questions a nanny could ask, are already covered by the tail end of the interview. I certainly like asking questions along the lines of what each child likes, dislikes, particular routines that may exist, what they like/dislike to eat, known allergies.


housemartin · 19/09/2007 20:23

"If a child was choking, what would you do?" This has provided interesting answers in the past


LadyG · 19/09/2007 21:54

Sorry long. Didnt ask them all of course just enough to get a 'feel'
Also found this checklist useful

Nanny questions:


Would you explain how you manage to work routine with two children of different ages?

Describe a time when having a routine has been helpful to you when looking after current or previous charges

Describe a time when sticking to routine has been too restrictive in your opinion?

How do you communicate your views to (current employer parents) when you feel an adjustment to routine is necessary?

Do you have any ?top tips? about organising the day with two small children?


What have you done this week with (x and y) current charges.

What are your favourite rainy day activities for toddlers

How have you spent the day with (current charges) when one or both of them has been ill?

How do you keep x and y amused when stuck in traffic?


What meals have you cooked this week for x and y

What are your favourite ways of getting fussy eaters to eat their fruit and veg?

How have you been teaching table manners to x and y


What books do you enjoy reading to (x and y)

Do they watch television? If so what are your favourite programmes to watch with them? Do you have rules regarding if/when they are allowed to watch TV?

How do you teach numbers/colours/letters to little ones using play and everyday activities?

What toys do you find most rewarding/played with at (your child?s age?)

What everyday activities do you like to involve (x and y) in?

Do you take ( x/y) to any classes/groups/ What do you feel they/you gain from attending them?

Personality/ Discipline style

Do you still keep in touch with (previous charges?)

How have you/will you talk to (current charges) about your leaving the job?

Do you tend to have informal chats with (current employers) re children/work issues or more formal meetings/reviews?

Describe to me a potentially difficult situation you feel you handled well

How do you handle tantrums?

How do you handle hitting/biting?

How do you encourage sharing?

What do you do with tired toddlers who refuse to nap?

Health and Safety

What are the most important messages you have taken away from your first aid course?

Do you feel competent to alert a parent to potential dangers in the home? Is there anything you can see around us now that might worry you?

How would you deal with a suddenly unwell sleepy child with a cough and a high temperature?

What steps have you taken on days where you felt overwhelmed by (for example) an inconsolable teething baby and a very active potty training

How do you ensure road safety when taking an active toddler out and about?


LadyG · 19/09/2007 22:01

Oooh love those diaries am going to order.


Cakehead · 20/09/2007 20:10

OOh those are good questions, LadyG. I am well and truly armed now. Thank you!

OP posts:

ScaryHairy · 20/09/2007 21:41

Make sure you ask if s/he has any holidays planned!

It sounds unimportant, but I say this as someone whose nanny started and then announced she'd need a fortnight of unpaid leave when she was only 10 days into the job. Grumble grumble grumble!
Actually, I'm pretty sure I did ask the question, but will ask with more seriousness going forwards...
(sorry for slight hi-jack... I needed a moan)

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