4 Lists of Questions to take to Nanny Interviews

When you think about a Nanny job, you usually do so in the context of the relationship you would like to develop with a child. That’s important. Understand, however, that the parent’s relationship with their child and their philosophies on childrearing will be the foundation upon which you build the Nanny-child relationship. This is the parent’s house, their children, and you must be able to be philosophically comfortable with their styles because those are what you are committing to follow.

Here is a list of questions which you can take with you to an interview, so you can find out what kind of relationship the parents have with their children.

  1. What kind of things do you and your children do together?
  2. Do you and your children talk about how you feel and how they feel?
  3. Are there certain things you would like the nanny NOT to do so you can have that time with them (reading bedtime stories, bath time. eating dinner, watching the movie you rented for them)?
  4. Are you religious?
  5. How do you and your child express your spirituality?
  6. Would you say your relationship with your child is more authoritative or more democratic? Ask them to explain their answer a bit.

Background Information Interview Questions

A Nanny interview with a family needs some basic background information about the family to construct a framework within which to consider the specific position. I have found the following list of questions to be particularly helpful.

  1. How many children do you have?
  2. What ages are they?
  3. Do you plan on having more children? When?
  4. Do you work in the home or out of the home? Some Nannies report that working with parents who are home all day can present problems with role confusion for children.
  5. Why do you want a Nanny as opposed to daycare or after-school program?
  6. Have you ever had a Nanny before? If they have, try to get a sense as to what they liked and what they disliked about their prior experience(s). If they are hiring their first Nanny, try to get a sense as to what their expectations are – and whether you think they are realistic.
    Obtain permission to talk to the prior caregivers.
  7. What is the children’s typical daily and weekly schedule (including school, naps, extracurricular activities, and sports)?
  8. Are any of the children in school?
  9. What year is each in?
  10. What are the hours?
  11. Does anyone smoke in the household?
  12. Do they have any rules about smoking in the household?
  13. Do you have any pets (beware if you have allergies)?
  14. Do family members drink alcohol?

Questions about Family Lifestyle

Understanding the family’s lifestyle is important when evaluating a nanny job. Families come in all varieties, from the very formal households where you address your employers as Mr. and Mrs., wear a uniform, and work with the cook, housekeeper, butler, and household manager to the very informal household where you may be the only “staff” and address your employers as John and Mary and begin your day in your slippers. The following questions as well as your own observations can help you make these assessments and determine whether this job might be a good match for you.

  1. Do your careers require you to travel?
  2. Do you eat on the run or eat as a family?
  3. Is the nanny welcome to eat with the family?
  4. Do you have relatives that live nearby who visit regularly?
  5. Do you often host business gatherings or have guests over for dinner?
  6. Are there any issues with divorce, stepparents, parental visitations, etc.?
  7. Do you generally keep your children on a schedule?
  8. Do you have any other household employees working for you part-time or full-time (e.g. regular cleaning person, landscape artist, chef, housekeeper, estate manager, butler)?
  9. If so, may I speak to that person about your household before accepting an employment offer?
  10. Are you open to me using other methods of treating children’s misbehaviors/tantrums etc?

‘For Instance’ Type Questions

Ask some ‘for instance’ type questions. These have no right or wrong answers but give the Nanny candidate a great deal of insight into the parent’s mindset. For example, “If your 3-year-old picked out a checkered shirt, and plaid pants to wear to school, how would you react? Parents may respond that they let the child choose, or they may suggest alternatives, or simply refuse to allow the child to wear the unsightly combination and choose for them.

  1. Do you buy “girl toys” for girls and “boy toys” for boys? Is it OK if they play with ones that aren’t?
  2. .Do you read books at random, at bedtime or do you do both?

Nanny Questions about Job

  1. Hours to be worked per day?
  2. Do you get paid extra for overtime?
  3. Salary per week or month?
  4. Is Tax and National Insurance paid?
  5. Do you get Pay Slip stating what has been paid in Tax and National Insurance?
  6. What notice period has to be given (normally four weeks)
  7. Duties expected?
  8. Holidays per year?
  9. Sick Pay?
  10. Is gas money given when you are out with the children?
  11. Are meals provided while you are at work?
  12. Do they provide a contract stating all of the above? (If they do not Totally Childcare can provide these Contracts).

Featured Image Credit: People illustrations by Storyset

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