Hiring a Nanny for Infants: Part 3 – Holding Interviews
For a family with a young child, making the decision to hire child care can be difficult. Once that decision has been made, the real work begins. To help you through this process, I’m giving you my tips, learned from years of experience in child care.
In my first post, I discussed tips on determining what your child care needs are, then in my second post, I gave different options for advertising your needs. Hopefully from this, you have a few favourites you’d like to interview.
As you receive applications, you should choose your favourites, or ‘short-list’ of candidates. To shorten this list, do a phone interview with each person. Set aside a time with each person that works for both of you when there won’t be any distractions. Start by giving a brief job description, telling them the position start date, days and hours required, and a sample of duties. Confirm the candidate is interested in this, and verify her information, like phone number, availability, and if she has her First Aid and CPR training. Keep the conversation flowing, but limit each call to 10-15 minutes.
If you like the candidate from your phone conversation, set up an appointment with her to meet about a week later in person. If you aren’t interested from the phone interview, tell her you’re reviewing interested candidates and will contact her if you’re interested in a face-to-face interview.
The in-person interviews you hold can be at your home, a coffee shop, or the park. It is best that there are no distractions during the interview, like the kids being at home, and you shouldn’t expect her to provide childcare during the interview. You can ask her to come for a trial day if you’re interested in her, which will give you an idea of how she interacts with your children, and how they like her. Create a casual atmosphere so she is as relaxed as she can be, and encourage her to dress casually instead of dressing up.
During the interview, you should ask a combination of questions about her background, experience, and qualifications, as well as open-ended questions. Open-ended questions allow you to gauge her common sense and how she would likely react. For example, pose a scenario like “The children are very upset about the separation from their parents? How would you handle this situation?”, and consider her response. For a sample of what types of questions to ask during the interview, check out the resources I have available on CanadianNanny.ca.
Make sure you allow time for her to ask you questions about the job and duties required. Discuss vacation time with her, like if she has any upcoming vacations planned, and tell her about any vacation time you have planned. If you’re thinking of having her accompany you on vacations and/or trips to the cottage, discuss this with her now. Near the end of the interview, ask about any certificates she has, and if you’re considering hiring her, ask for her references and police record check. Next week, I’ll discuss the process of checking references.
Interviewing is a vital step in the process so you can get a feel for the person you’re choosing to care for your child. My best advice is to listen to your gut; if you’re getting a bad feeling about someone, it’s best to trust your instinct and move on to find the right person.