Congrats! You’ve landed an interview with a family to begin or continue your career as a nanny. Interviews can be nerve wracking, though, especially when you combine general nervousness with apprehension about showing your confidence in your skills and abilities.
With some preparation and tips from the pros, land the job of your dreams by showing off your “wow” factor in the interview.
Do Your Research
Preparation is key when interviewing with a prospective family. Before you even show up on their doorstep, do your research to ensure you are asking the right questions. If you have been referred by an agency or a friend, find out as much as you can about the family and the children beforehand. Are they seeking a part-time nanny, live-in nanny or full-time nanny? How many children will be in your care? It’s important for you to evaluate whether or not the job is a good fit for you as well as the family, so the more research you do prior to the interview, the more confident you can be in selling your abilities.
While researching, prepare questions you can ask that will help both you and the prospective parents make an informed decision about whether or not the position is a good fit for everyone.
Sample questions may include information about:
- Number of Children in Your Care
- Specific Needs of the Children and Family
- Hours/Days Off/Start Date
- Responsibilities in Addition to Childcare, such as Cooking or Cleaning
- Transportation Needs
- Discipline Strategies and/or Childcare Expectations and Guidelines
- Salary/Compensation Package
While preparing questions to ask, it is also helpful to prepare for questions you may be asked by the potential employers, such as:
- Tell me about yourself
- Detail Your Qualifications
- Why did you choose to become a nanny?
- What were your likes/dislikes in previous positions?
- What are your strengths and weaknesses as a nanny?
- Why do you think you are well-suited for our family?
- What are your personal philosophies regarding childcare?
- What are some challenges and rewards you have faced while working as a nanny?
While practicing your responses, keep in mind that it is important to refrain from divulging too much personal information about yourself that could be used for potential discrimination, such as age, marital status and ethnic background. Stay focused on your role as a nanny and give answers that pertain to your potential employment with the family.
As a rule of thumb, it’s crucial to show your enthusiasm for child rearing by providing examples of successful interactions you have had with children in your care. Detail activities you have enjoyed in previous positions and examples of how you formed a bond with children as a nanny. Be yourself and let your love for your career shine through.
Be Honest, Prompt and Professional
When preparing for an interview as a nanny, keep in mind that first impressions are crucial. Make transportation arrangements to ensure you are prompt or early to the interview and come prepared with your resume, letters of recommendation and a nanny binder that contains activities and educational documents you have prepared and used in the past. Be completely honest when preparing these materials so that there will not be any surprises in the case that parents check references and verify certifications and degrees.
According to the Association of Premier Nanny Agencies, a white lie here and there is often discovered and can prevent nannies from obtaining employment with families and representation by agencies. “Some resume claims fall into gray areas, but it’s easy to verify college degrees. We do it routinely when checking resumes,” claims APNA.
Honesty is also important when making a first impression. Show off your true colors, but do so in a modest way by dressing the part for the interview. When you are interviewing, prospective parents will be observing how you carry yourself, whether or not your mannerisms and polite manners match the role model they want for their children and your level of confidence. Make sure that your hair and dress are professional and well kept and avoid wearing bold and bright jewelry or accessories that can be distracting.
Evaluate Your Preferences
Even though you may be eager to find a nanny job, sometimes waiting for a good fit is a better option. It’s important to evaluate what you value in a family and ensure during the interview that the family meets your expectations as well.
Beyond location, salary, duties and hours, the International Nanny Association recommends considering the following before, during and after the interview to evaluate if the family is a good fit:
- Allergies to pets
- Personal, political or religious convictions
- Lifestyle preferences
- Parenting philosophies
When interviewing, it is necessary to sell your skills and talents, but it is also a good idea to make sure the family’s qualities, dynamic and philosophies match yours to avoid potential problems down the road.