The interview process & questions:
Nanny recruitment is very different to corporate recruitment, Nannies are coming into your home and caring for your most precious possession, its personal, so you will need to feel 100% confident that not only can the Nanny do her job well and keep the children safe, secure and happy, but you too can feel fully at ease in your home when the Nanny is there.
Prior to the interview, think about how you would like your children to spend their day/what makes them happy and what you are looking for in a nanny. The purpose of interviews is to ascertain if you are a match, so open communication is key, be yourself and explain what is important to you.
Ask open questions. Nannies often say that they love to be ‘out and about or are ‘firm but fair’ but rarely elaborate. By the end of the interview you need to have a good idea of how your children would spend their day – where they will go, what they will play etc. So please ask the Nanny to offer examples if not clear. Ensure the atmosphere is friendly and relaxed and please bear in mind that interviews are nerve wracking for most and Nannies are generally more at ease with children than adults – so remember to smile, don’t fire off question after question, and give the Nanny the opportunity to ask questions too.
Interviews generally last under around 45 minutes to an hour. Although they can last longer if you have hit it off. If time is tight, make it clear from the start how long the interview will last as it makes it easier to bring the interview to a close.
Time slots – Nannies are generally available evenings and weekends for interviews.
I would recommend doing the first interview without the children present. The first interview is to find out if you get a good vibe and are a potential match. The time should be spent discussing the role, the children and your expectations. Don’t waste time talking about contracts/holiday/pay etc, as this only needs to be discussed with the nanny you wish to employ at a later stage.
You do not have to decide after one interview, most people wouldn’t buy a house after one viewing. However, in my experience, you will get a strong sense of who you would like to meet again and who isn’t suitable. Your gut plays an important part in this process. If you don’t get a ‘yes’ feeling you keep interviewing until you do. It will happen.
This is the opportunity to ask any questions you forgot to ask at first interview and for the nanny and children to meet and spend some time together. When meeting the children allow around 2 hours.
If you require 3 hours or more for a trial period we recommend paying the Nanny for her time.
This is also the opportunity to cover any questions the Nanny may have regarding the contract, such as hours, holiday, babysitting, car use, parking, salary and start date.
The Agency is very happy to negotiate salary and terms on your behalf if you prefer.
Please let the agency know your feedback on each of the interviews. The agency will also provide feedback from the Nanny. It’s a two way process after all.
If all goes well, you can feedback to the agency and make an offer, pending contract and references. The offer will include salary, hours, days and start date.
If you prefer, you can ask for a trial period before offering, but this can be difficult logistically if the Nanny is still employed. Please bear in mind that there will be an 8 week probation to ensure the match is right, so this in essence is a trial period too.
At offer stage the Agency will start to assist with the contract of employment so that its ready when final references are complete.
Some nannies will bring a portfolio of written references provided by their previous employers, the agency is happy to send through any written references prior to interview. Some nannies don’t have a portfolio and rely on verbal references from previous employers.
As you can imagine, previous employers can get many calls if the Nanny Is registered with various agencies, so we advise not to call unless you are serious about offering the role. Any offer made to a nanny is pending contract and references. Please always check with the agency first before calling references.
Communication: Please do not exchange telephone numbers with the nanny at interview, all communication is strictly through the agency unless permission has been given.
Example Interview questions:
- What ages of children have you particularly enjoyed caring for? Why?
- What do you think the children you have cared for would say about you?
- How would you describe your personality?
- What attracted you to this role in particular?
- Are there any elements of this role that you are unsure of?
- What would you say are your main strengths and weaknesses?
- What would you do if… (give an example of an emergency or similar situation where an individual’s initiative would need to be used) …?
- What would be your ideal day with my child/children?
- What would you do on a rainy day?
- How do you manage phone/social media use during your working day?
- How might you spend the day with my child? (Ask them to give examples of the sorts of activities that they might fill the day). Nannies will often respond with an answer that assures you that they will adhere to your routines/suggestions, which is great, but it doesn’t show you their level of initiative or imagination. Try to drill down into what their idea of a day in the park looks like, or an example of an arts and craft activity they would do. You need to be able to picture how your children will spend the day with the Nanny.
- Are you a confident cook for children’s meals? Again, if they respond with ‘yes, I cook for the children in my current role’ you still need to understand what they are actually cooking each day – favourite dishes, favourite recipe books they refer to, what are their 5 top dishes they currently cook?
- How do they feel about fussy eaters, how do they encourage new dishes each week, do they get the children involved? How do they plan for meals?
- Why are you looking to leave your current position?
- Punctuality is important to us; how do you feel about the hours of this role and the journey to and from work?
- My child will be commencing Nursery/pre-school/reception – how can you support/prepare her for this?
- What advice would you give to help the children with the transition period of having a nanny?
- How will you juggle the demands of two children with different developmental needs? If there is something that you find difficult to manage, you can ask for advice on this and how they would manage the situation.
- How well do you know the area? Are there any groups, parks etc that you enjoy?
- Communication, what have you found to be the best way to keep us informed throughout the day?
- How would you encourage positive behaviour? What method has worked best for you in your previous roles? Any tips?
- Health and safety – if you have any particular concerns or something you feel strongly about, for example, helmets to be worn on scooters/bikes – raise it and ask how they would mange this if the child wasn’t very accommodating.
- Is there anything you wish you could change in your current role?
- Nursery duties – are you happy to complete these? Are you happy to clean up after the children throughout the day etc? Anything you are not happy to do?
- What would you say are the top 3 things we should do as employers to keep our nanny happy?
- Screen time – how do you manage this and encourage other activities?
- Nanny friends – do you have friends in the area with similar aged children?
- Do you offer a good balance of activities?
- How confident are you with homework?
- Area – do you know the area well? Where do you currently take your charges?
- Are you still in touch with previous families? Who was your favourite and why?
- Are you seeking long term? Where do you see yourself in 5 years
We hope the above is helpful. Please remember we are here to support you fully in this process, so please feel free to call if you have any questions regarding the interview process and beyond!
Tel: 0208 1500017/07973435588