Hiring a Nanny? Ask These Interview Questions
Hiring a nanny might seem pretty and cut and dry, but when you think about it, adding a person to your family dynamic—even if they are on a payroll—is a big deal. That's why it is so important to ask all the questions you can, so that by the time your nanny’s first day arrives, everyone will feel ready and excited. Here’s a solid plan for how to conduct interviews and what kinds of questions to ask so that you can feel confident about hiring the right nanny for your family.
Schedule a phone interview first.
The beauty of a phone interview is how convenient it is. You can quickly weed out candidates that are not a good fit and narrow your list down to a few who stand out. Here are some questions to consider for the phone interview:
1. Introduce yourself and the story of your family. This is an excellent opportunity to explain your family culture and to convey what energy the nanny can expect working for you. Do you travel a lot? Are you homebodies? Do your kids have busy lives? This will help guide the conversation to the next part.
2. Go over the basic job description, including expectations. Not only do you want to cover information such as hours, pay, benefits, paid time off, etc., but you want to make sure that everyone is on the same page. For example, describe aspects of care for your children that are important, such as health concerns like allergies or medical needs.
3. Ask your candidate about themselves and gauge your gut reaction. Is this someone you want to meet for an in-person interview? If so, schedule a time when you can sit down and talk more in-depth about their experience and the details of the job.
Schedule in-person interviews.
Once you have narrowed down your pool of candidates, it is time to begin scheduling in-person interviews. But before you do this, make sure that you and your family have a clear idea of what type of personality you want to invite into your home.
Do you run a tight ship and adhere to strict routines? Or is your family less schedule-oriented? Or perhaps you work late often and need a nanny who can lend a hand with meal prep? Whatever your needs are, finding a nanny who will feel like the right fit for the job is essential.
A few things to decide before the interview:
Will this interview be in your home or a public setting?
Will you bring your child for them to meet?
How long will the scheduled meeting be?
Questions to ask in a nanny interview:
1. Why do they want to work for your family?
2. What training, certificates, licensing, or degrees do they have? For example, are they CPR- and first-aid-certified? Did they study early childhood development? Where did they train?
3. Do they speak any foreign languages? Is this something you think would be beneficial for your kids?
4. Why did they leave their last job? What do they envision for this job?
5. Do they have references you may contact?
6. Do they have questions about your family, expectations, job description, or anything else?
7. Are they up to date on vaccinations, including Covid and whooping cough? Do they get a flu shot during cold and flu season?
8. Ask your candidate to describe their caregiving style. How would they handle certain situations that you think might come up, like sibling arguments, being late for an appointment, or public meltdowns?
9. How many other families have they cared for? What ages were the children? What is their favorite age to care for and why?
10. What do they do for fun in their spare time? Do they have any passions they are pursuing?
11. Ask how they handled challenging situations in the past, such as a fussy baby, a middle schooler's bad attitude, or any emergency-type problems.
12. Are they looking for a long-term position or something different?
13. What kinds of tasks or experiences do you see as non-negotiable? For example, some nannies will not work overnight or travel.
14. Do they stay in contact with families that they’ve worked for in the past? Sometimes nannies form strong bonds with the families they care for, which can say a lot.
Set up a meet-up.
If you decide to have your children meet a prospective nanny, watch to see how they interact.
Do your children seem curious and at ease? Do they seem stressed or unusually nervous?
Does the nanny ask your kids questions and appear genuinely interested in their responses?
What do you notice about body language? Does the nanny seem kind and warm? Do your kids seem natural and relaxed?
If you think you have found the perfect nanny for your family, the next step is to follow up with their references to ensure everything checks out. You may also want to have a background check completed, but after asking the right questions, you should have a much better idea about how your new nanny might fit in with—and help—your family!
For more on childcare options to consider, check out the following:
- What’s the Best Childcare for Your Baby?
- Here’s What to Ask on a Daycare Tour
- How to Set Up Backup Care in Case of an Emergency
- Your No-Sweat Guide to Leaving Your Baby with a Sitter
Have questions about a Happiest Baby product? Our consultants would be happy to help! Submit your questions here.
Disclaimer: The information on our site is NOT medical advice for any specific person or condition. It is only meant as general information. If you have any medical questions and concerns about your child or yourself, please contact your health provider.