How To Interview A Potential Child Care Provider

Your nanny or babysitter should be someone you trust and respect, because you’ll be letting them into your home to watch your children. It’s important to know what to ask potential child care providers during the interview process so you can get essential insight into their personality and child care style. 

Planning the Interview for a Child Care Provider

The interview process for a child care provider is important and should be planned out.

Filter your list. To get to your short list, spend time filtering out candidates by phone so you see only the strongest contenders in-person. When you first talk to them:

  • Introduce yourself and your family.
  • Go over the details of the job description (like location, work hours, start date, and salary) to make sure everyone is on the same page. 
  • Mention any details that may not be obvious to the candidate but that they should know about your family, such as whether you have pets and any special needs your child has. 
  • Gather any other information you need to gain confidence about seeing the applicant in-person.

If your basic expectations don’t align with their needs or qualifications, you can move forward with other candidates.

Meet the best candidates. After narrowing the list down to the child care providers who seem to be the best fit, decide where you want to meet them. Ask to meet somewhere they’re comfortable. You can choose to have them come to your house or get together in a public spot. The goal is to conduct the interview when your potential nanny is at their best, so try to help them relax. 

Interview Structure When Looking for a Child Care Provider

Break the ice. Try to make a connection. Start by asking about your potential nanny’s experiences with children. For instance, you may ask them to tell you about the most memorable moment they had with their most recent family or child. Right away, you get insight into how they viewed their last job and possibly why they left.

Ask open-ended questions. When you want to get to know someone, yes or no answers aren’t enough. Ask questions that prompt a brief explanation. How they answer will tell you about their character and experience. Try to ask questions that start with what, when, why, how, where, or “tell me about.”

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Interview Questions for a Potential Child Care Provider

The best way to conduct an interview is to know what to look for in a child care provider. Some of the most important qualities include:

  • A love for children
  • Patience
  • Clear and polite communication
  • Sound judgment
  • A clean criminal record
  • A genuine enjoyment of child care
  • Level-headedness in an emergency
  • Strong morals and values

Prepare a list of questions that reflect your priorities. The only way to know if a potential child care provider has the right qualities for the job is by asking the right questions. In the end, it’s your child they will be spending time with, so make sure the process is as professional and thorough as possible.

You might ask things like:

  • What was your favorite memory with your last family/child?
  • What is the one skill/lesson you could teach our child?
  • What does being a nanny mean to you?
  • Why did you leave your last job?
  • Do you have any questions about the job description?
  • Have you ever had to handle an emergency with a child? If so, what happened, and how did you react? 
  • Which qualities do you have that children like?

Set your expectations. As you get ready for the interview, it’s important to know all the details about what you’re looking for. Don’t start talking to candidates if you don’t know details like:

  • Who you’re looking for
  • What they’ll be required to do
  • Where they will live (for live-in positions)
  • Why you need a child care provider
  • When you need them to start

Be clear and up-front about what will be expected of them. Details like asking if they're OK with doing a few chores around the house should not be overlooked and should be factored into salary and time expectations. Go over everything you need them to do and whether you’ll be in the home while they’re working. 

When you have a clear picture of what you’re looking for in a child care provider, you can tailor your interview questions to find the best candidate. And when you’re clear about your expectations, your candidates can better decide if your needs and your family are a good fit for them.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on June 28, 2021

Sources

SOURCES:

Best Job Interview: “Top Nanny Interview Questions & Answers.”

Canadian Nanny: “How to Create The Best Nanny Interview Checklist.”

Insider: “I was a nanny for 5 years — here are the only questions parents should ask during the interview.”

Morningside Nannies: “25 Characteristics of a Great Nanny.”

Supernanny: “How to interview a nanny.”

What to Expect: “Interview Questions for Nannies.”

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