Interview Guide

Interview Guide

In order to put the nanny you are interviewing at ease, it is a good idea to take her on a little tour of the house and garden. While you are walking around you can have a relaxed chat. You can even let her hold the baby if she wants to. Don’t forget to ask to look at her references.

At some point during the interview, you can suggest that she stays and plays with your child for a few minutes while you either make some tea, go to the loo or “do something” in another room. In this way you can see how she interacts with your child without you peering over her shoulder.

Here are some questions you could ask. Make sure your questions are practical, rather than too philosophical.

Previous Experience:

  • How old were the children you worked with at your last job?

  • Did you enjoy that job?

  • Where was it?

  • What were the hours?

  • Were you expected to do the housework as well as take care of the children?

  • Did you make food for the child? What did you make?

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Personal Information:

  • How many children do you have?

  • What sort of support system do you have at home?

  • What sort of house do you live in? Is your family nearby?

  • What do you like doing in your free time?

  • How is your health? Do you go to the clinic regularly for anything?

  • Do you have any allergies? Do you like cats and dogs?

  • How will you get to work? What will it cost?

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Handling Children (at work):

  • What would you do if a child you were looking after suddenly develops a fever or becomes ill, and mom is not at home? (The answer you want is that she would call you immediately)

  • What would you do if you are changing a baby’s nappy on the change table, and you have to fetch something from another room?

  • How would you handle a child who is having a tantrum?

  • When you arrive at work, what is the first thing you do? (Wash hands)

  • How would you go about potty training a child?

  • How would you make sure a home is safe when the child starts crawling and walking?

  • How would you put a small baby to sleep? And a toddler?

  • What activities would you do to keep a toddler busy and stimulated?

  • What kind of activities would you do indoors? And outdoors? (give some examples to start off with e.g. playdough, puzzles, reading etc)

  • What songs would you sing to a small child?

  • If a child doesn’t want to eat, what would you do?

  • If a toddler doesn’t want to get in the bath, what would you do?

  • What can you cook?

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You should also inform the nanny of your views and ideas on the following subjects:

  • Watching TV, both for your child and the nanny.

  • Putting baby on her back – are you happy with this?

  • The baby’s routine.

  • The nanny’s routine. What you expect to be done during the day.

  • What she can have for breakfast and lunch. Ask what she likes.

There are also some things you should look out for when interviewing:

  • Does she wash her hands before holding your child?

  • Was she punctual, and did she phone if late?

  • Is she well–presented, neat and clean?

  • Does she show an interest in your children?

  • How does she interact with them?

  • Do you feel relaxed and comfortable talking to her?

  • Does she have good body language? Does she keep eye contact?

  • Is she friendly and communicative?

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Most importantly, follow your instincts – a pleasant personality is more important than lots of qualifications. You can always send them on a course if you feel their skills need a brush up, but you cannot change unpleasant character traits. Nobody is perfect, but they must fit in with your family’s requirements.

Please don’t forget to give each candidate R50 to cover their transport costs.

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