As many variables exist, preparing a one-size-fits-all list of questions to ask a nanny at an interview is challenging. But there are some themes to draw from.
Prepping for the interview stages is essential. This is your chance (and the nanny’s chance) to ensure a good fit.
This post is worth reading first, as it will help you construct an onboarding plan for your new nanny. It’s there to be shaped and adapted to your family’s needs.
It also shares some good pointers on how to approach the interview:
– Ask to take notes
– Keep it warm and friendly
– Pick a time that works for everyone (the end of a long day might not be the best time for anyone!)
– And invite questions
– Aim for around 45 minutes to an hour
The first interview
You likely have a selection of nannies; this is your first chance to explore the fit. This interview can be a face-to-face or even a virtual meeting (increasingly popular post-Covid).
NB: One interview should always be conducted in the home as this will be the nanny’s place of work, and they need to assess their future working environment.
This is your chance to assess their qualifications, experience, and compatibility with your family. Here are some of the themes you might consider exploring.
We also added comments from experienced nannies to help you understand their viewpoints. Thank you, UK Nanny members, for your input 😊
Background and Experience:
Nanny Emma: I like being asked initially to “tell us about your past nanny experience”. It allows me to calm my nerves as I can talk freely before they ask the slightly more challenging questions that require thought.
Can you tell me about your experience as a nanny?
What ages of children have you worked with before?
Nanny Sarah: I was asked, ‘Out of your past positions, which has been your favourite to work for, and why?’ It made me stop & think!
Do you have any formal education or training related to childcare?
Do you have a paediatric first aid qualification?
And also, do you have any relevant certifications or training in childcare?
How do you approach your continual professional development, and how can we support you?
(In the contract, recommend having a yearly budget (c. £250) that the nanny can spend on her CPD)
Nanny Sarah: Don’t be afraid of asking difficult questions regarding experience and qualifications. This is especially relevant if you have a child with additional needs. This will ensure your child has the best opportunity to reach their potential and form the trusting relationship they need.
NB: They should leave you with copies of their original documentation so you can check them. Or take pictures of them for follow-ups.
Here’s a checklist we advise all families to follow.
Can you provide references from previous families you’ve worked with?
Have you undergone a recent background check (eDBS or PVG in Scotland). And if it’s not on the update service, are you willing to update it?
Remember, a reference is only a reference when it is checked.
These are critical questions to ask a nanny at an interview as they explore the nanny’s fit to you parenting style.
What is your childcare philosophy or approach?
How do you handle discipline and behaviour management?
Nanny Claire: Ask about the nanny’s approach to behaviour and their expectations of you, especially if you’re WFH. Be honest about your expectations.
Nanny Jenni: Talking clearly and openly about the approach that you want to be implemented regarding behaviour and discipline. Being on the same page is vital for a good nanny/family relationship.
Availability and Schedule:
What is your availability and preferred work schedule?
Are you open to occasional overtime or evening/weekend work if needed?
If you need flexibility, sharing and exploring that as early as possible is best.
Nanny Claire: Carefully consider how much care you need. Be realistic. Is it 8am – 6pm or, realistically, 6.30pm? Will you need overtime (Nannies have their own lives to consider when choosing a new role)?
Can you give examples of age-appropriate activities you would plan for the children?
How do you balance structured activities with free play?
What’s your approach to a rainy day?
Nanny Charlotte: I like to show how I would structure a day, especially if you have two or more children. Also, appropriate age activities for a day. How to encourage milestones and independence with older children. Guidelines and boundaries are critical discussions to have. 🥰
How do you ensure the safety of children in your care?
What would you do in case of an emergency?
Are there any examples of where you’ve had to handle an emergency, and how do you manage it?
Communication & Working Styles:
How do you communicate with parents about the child’s daily activities, progress, and concerns?
Are you open to receiving feedback and making adjustments to your caregiving approach?
Are you happy to collaborate with the parents?
Remember, their working relationship with you is just as important as their relationship with your child(ren)
Nanny Paisley: I do come across a lot of micromanaging & I know it’s not always preventable, but I think a frank conversation about boundaries from the beginning is vital. Some parents don’t realise what an impact it has on them popping in & how exhausting it can be to calm the child back down after not understanding why mum or dad can’t look after them. Perhaps presenting a scenario and then discussing what mum/nanny would do. This may help to see if you’re the right fit.
What are your long-term career goals, and how do you see this position fitting into those plans?
Are you looking for a short-term or long-term commitment?
Meal and Snack Preparation:
Are you comfortable preparing meals and snacks for the children?
Are you familiar with any specific dietary restrictions or preferences?
(If required) Do you have a valid driver’s licence and a reliable vehicle?
Are you comfortable driving the children to activities or appointments?
Remember to see the driver’s license for proof of ID and to ensure it is in place.
Household Duties (if required):
Are you willing to take on light household duties related to the children (e.g., children’s laundry, tidying up their play areas)?
NB: If you’re looking for a can-do attitude and a willingness to ‘muck in’, that’s fine, but it’s not a shorthand for a nanny/housekeeper. If that’s what you need, be explicit about your needs.
Payment and the contract
This is not so much questions to ask a nanny at an interview, but bring this up as it sets expectations and ensures you are aligned.
We advise working with NannyPaye for contracts and PAYE support- they’re great.
Seeing their contract early may also help you find relevant themes for your second interview – it covers a lot, and you can adapt it to your needs. Also, the nanny’s approach to the contract can be constructive in understanding their in-role expectations.
We encourage the family and nanny to get together and work through the contract in the final appointment interview. But also give the nanny time to digest the contract and come back to you with final amendments and suggestions.
Summing up the questions to ask a nanny at an interview
Remember also to observe the nanny’s demeanour, ask situational questions, and discuss any specific needs or expectations you have for the role. These questions should help you comprehensively understand the nanny’s qualifications, experience and whether they would fit your family well.
And don’t forget your mother’s intuition. The nanny will be sure to be using theirs as well!
The second interview and next steps
Having gone through the above and checked all the paperwork, the next step is likely a get-together in your home environment and the chance to interact with your little one.
Nanny Sarah: Don’t be afraid to ask for a second interview and allow the Nanny to interact with your child/children. Just like adults, it’s about ensuring that child/children and Nanny are comfortable in each other’s company.
Head back to Welcoming a New Nanny to help inform your next steps.