When you’re looking for someone as important as a childcare provider, you may be overwhelmed by questions and concerns — especially when you are searching for someone to trust your precious infant with. If it is your first time looking for childcare, you may not know what to ask. There are plenty of steps in the process of getting to know your babysitter or nanny, but asking the right questions upfront can make it easier on everyone by focusing only on the candidates that may be excellent matches for your family. So, what should you ask when interviewing nannies for your infant? These interview questions can help in your search for a nanny for your new baby!
What is your experience with babies?
Yes, this is an obvious question for interviewing a nanny. But discussing it with potential nannies will open the door for you to get more comfortable with their experience. Many parents feel that the nanny with the most baby experience on paper is going to be the best bet, and that’s not always the case. You can get a great feeling about someone with one or two years of experience, and you can also get a not-so-great feeling about someone with 20+ years of experience caring for infants.
When might it be okay to consider a nanny or sitter who has very little experience with babies? The only right answer here is the one you’re comfortable with…but these circumstances might make it easier:
Working from home – If you’re going to be home during the time you’ll have childcare, that could be a great opportunity to take a chance on someone who may have some questions about babycare at first. Someone with plenty of toddler experience, for example, could likely be a wonderful infant nanny with a little extra direction.
One or more older siblings – Caring for multiple children can certainly be more work, but having an older sibling or two around can be incredibly helpful when caring for a baby. They know where things are located and how to do many baby-related tasks. Even better, they tend to be very eager to show off their “helping” skills!
Can you tell me about a time while caring for children when you had no idea what to do?
Interview questions can often start to sound a bit robotic, and sometimes specific questions can limit your insight into the candidate’s potential. This question gives you a chance to hear how they tackle difficult situations and respond to unfamiliar circumstances. Problem-solving ability is especially helpful when caring for infants who are unable to communicate their needs clearly.
Are you first aid and CPR certified? And if not, are you willing to get certified?
CPR and first aid certification are certainly not a requirement for being a great nanny or babysitter, but it is hard to justify not taking the extra step to be better prepared in the event of an emergency. When it comes to interviewing a nanny for your young infant, this question is a must.
Accidents can happen even under the watch of the most experienced and skilled caretakers. Cuts, broken bones, choking, or even unknown allergies can and do happen – knowing what to do is usually the difference between a smooth outcome and the situation potentially being made worse by panic or incorrect action. Many people may find comfort in the ability to call 9-1-1 or other emergency lines for help but being prepared in the event of an emergency has a profound effect on the potential outcomes. The American Heart Association states that “parents and caregivers are among the most important people to be trained in infant CPR and choking relief, which can make a life-or-death difference for infants who suffer cardiac arrest or whose airways become blocked by food or objects.”
If a candidate is not certified but is willing to get certified, it is generally not difficult to find a local certification course to fit anyone’s schedule. Sometimes it may be a cost concern, and many families offer to cover the cost of certification for their nannies and babysitters. However it works out for your family and your potential caregivers, getting first aid and CPR certified is a smart step towards ensuring the safety of your children and the preparedness of your nanny.
Are there any rules we have that you aren’t comfortable with?
This question should follow an overview of your general routine and how you approach certain situations or circumstances. When you’re dealing with infants, you’re bound to have strong feelings about what is best for your baby and how you prefer to approach things like naptimes, bedtime, feeding options, screen time, and schedules.
Parenting styles vary greatly, and what works for one family may not work for another. By asking a potential nanny how they feel about your guidelines, you may be able to identify an obvious “poor-fit” candidate. Rules and boundaries that are important to you as a parent should always be adhered to regardless of caregiver preferences, you’re likely to have a more comfortable relationship with a nanny if you are truly on the same page as far as how best to care for your children.
What might your availability look like a year from now?
Trusting a nanny or babysitter to care for your infant can be a difficult thing to do. It is often hard to let go of some control, especially for new parents who are looking for childcare for possibly the first time. Whether you’re looking for a full-time nanny or occasional weekend babysitter, it’s a good idea to consider whether a candidate will be sticking around.
People looking for short-term work, like college students home for the summer or someone between jobs, can of course be phenomenal infant caretakers. The problem here is that once you and your family are comfortable with your nanny and everyone gets into a routine, you’ll likely have to find a new one. I Besides being hard on parents, this situation can be stressful for babies who get attached to and comfortable with their nanny or sitter. This is a non-issue for many parents and families, as many are looking specifically for summer or temporary childcare – but if you know that your childcare needs are going to be long-term, find out if a long-term relationship is a possibility up front.
Why did you leave your last job?
This is a widely used and well-known interview question, but its asked so often because it matters. Employment behavior can tell you a lot about a person, especially what you might expect if you hire them. Most often, the answer to this question will have no underlying implications. People move, children go to school and no longer need the same care, and parents’ employment situations change making the job no longer suitable for a nanny’s needs or availability.
Some other common reasons nannies quit jobs include:
- Salary – Nannies hopefully love caring for children, but at the end of the day, its their job. If they aren’t making enough money or know they could be making more, they may find different employment.
- “Scope creep” – It’s not unusual for families to expand nanny duties once they become comfortable with each other. Unfortunately, it can be common for families or employers to add responsibilities without consulting the nanny and without increasing pay, prompting the nanny or sitter to feel taken advantage of and leave the job.
- Micromanaging – Nobody likes for their expertise to be ignored, and childcare is no exception. If someone is an experienced and skilled nanny or babysitter, there’s a good chance they’ll get uncomfortable quickly if they’re being constantly watched and told what to do.
Asking this question may give you a good idea of a candidate’s work style or expectations and allow you to dig deeper into what they may find unacceptable or unappealing in a work environment.
While these questions are a great start, they aren’t one-size-fits-all. Interviewing can be stressful and confusing for both nannies and families, but using these questions to open conversations and get to know candidates can help you find your ideal nanny.
Ready to start the process and find great candidates for your needs? Perfectly Nanny can help!
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