Interviewing a nanny or au pair

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Check the paperwork

  • Carefully review the resume and references provided by the nanny.
  • Check that proof of identity is provided.
  • Make sure background, police and working with children checks have been included with the application.

Background information

  • Ask what professional qualifications the nanny holds.
  • Ask what experience the nanny has with other children and the ages of those children so you can judge whether the nanny can provide the right type of care for your children.
  • Find out what the nanny's interests are and make an effort to get to know them on a personal level.
Initial Impressions Yes No n/a ?
  Do your children appear to be at ease with the nanny?
  Does the nanny bond naturally with your children and make an effort to talk to them?
  Does the nanny instinctively interact with and play with your children?
  Does the nanny seem genuinely interested in your children?
  Do your children appear relaxed and display a sense of enthusiasm for the nanny?
  Do you feel relaxed and comfortable around the nanny?
Security Yes No n/a ?
  Has the working with children check been completed?
  Have the reference checks been completed?
Safety Yes No n/a ?
  Make sure the nanny holds First Aid and CPR Certification.
  Ask whether the nanny drives and whether he/she has a good driving record.
  Ask whether he/she smokes? If so what precautions do they take concerning passive smoking?
  If you want the nanny to take your children swimming make sure they hold a water safety qualification and can swim.
  Make sure the nanny knows how to manage security in the home and ask how he/she would deal with unexpected visitors.
  Make sure the nanny knows what to do in case of an emergency, who to contact and what action to take.
Eating and nutrition Yes No n/a ?
  Ask whether the nanny is willing to prepare and serve meals for the children.
  Ask his/her views on eating between meals and how mealtimes are managed.
  If your children have allergies or intolerances make sure the nanny is happy to manage these.

General interview questions

  • What appeals to you about taking care of children in a home situation?
  • Can you describe your last child care experience and why it ended?
  • What was your worst child care experience and how did you resolve it?
  • What are your thoughts on discipline and how do you positively manage children's behaviour?
  • What do you find to be the most challenging and interesting part of working with children?
  • What kinds of activities do you think are good for children and do you like to get involved in these activities?
  • Have you ever had to handle an emergency situation? If so, what happened and what action did you take?
  • Can you tell me about your childhood experiences and how they relate to your chosen career?
  • How do you think your family would describe you and your personality?

Consider these questions for a Nanny/Au Pair caring for children from birth to two years:

  • How do you handle a crying baby?
  • What do you see as your primary responsibility to a child this age?
  • What activities would you engage in with a child this age?

Consider these questions for a Nanny/Au Pair caring for children from two to three years:

  • How would you handle a temper tantrum in a public place? Would you handle this differently in a home situation?
  • How do you feel toilet training should be approached?
  • What role should outdoor play and interaction with other toddlers have in a child's day?
  • What types of educational activities would you engage a child in at this age?
  • What indoor activities would you engage a child in at this age?

Consider these questions for a Nanny/Au Pair caring for children from three to five years:

  • What methods of limit setting or discipline do you find effective for this age?
  • What television shows do you feel are appropriate for this age group?
  • Are you willing to supervise play time with other children in our home and/or take our child to outside activities which may or may not require your active participation?

Consider these questions for a Nanny/Au Pair caring for children five years and older:

  • Are you comfortable reviewing and assisting with homework?
  • Are you willing to supervise friends of our children who are invited to our home while you are in charge?

Follow up

If you and your children liked the nanny follow the interview with reference checks, call a former employer and ask questions such as:

  • How did the nanny manage behavioural challenges posed by the children?
  • How well the nanny took direction?
  • Whether the nanny was willing to undertake other household duties?
  • Why the nanny left the position?

For a printable version of this checklist click here.

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