10 Questions You May Not Think to Ask in a Nanny Interview

nanny interview__1455554002_108.89.137.58Selecting a nanny to take care of your precious baby is a decision that should not be taken lightly.  After narrowing down your candidates, you’ll probably want to interview several of them to determine who will be the best fit for your family’s childcare needs.  There are some typical questions you’ll probably ask such as the candidates prior experience, CPR certification, and availability.  However, many parents, especially newbies, forget to ask some important questions.  Here are 10 questions you may not think to ask in a nanny interview:

1 – Have you had the Tdap shot and if not, are you willing to get it?

This shot is recommended for all caregivers who will be around newborns.  You probably had the shot during pregnancy and your partner and close family members are encouraged to take it within 10 years of spending time with a baby.  If your nanny candidate is hesitant about taking the shot, send them resources on why it is important to prevent whooping cough and other serious illnesses for your baby.

2 – Do you have any personal health issues or commitments that may prevent you from coming to work?

Sometimes nanny candidates are not forthcoming about medical conditions or their own familial commitments that may frequently or occasionally keep them from work.  Putting them on the spot about it may make them fess up to potential reasons for them not to be reliable.  Then you can access whether or not these issues are a deal-breaker for you.

3 – Do you have a safe and reliable car, a valid driver’s license and a clean driving record?

Even if you see your nanny candidate drive up in a car, ask this question outright.  She may have borrowed a car for the interview but doesn’t have one of her own.  If you expect your nanny to drive your children, make sure her car is safe and she has a good driving record.  Also, you should install your own car seats yourself.

4 – What are your ultimate career goals and would they prevent you from being committed to this position for as long as we need you?

If your nanny really wants to go into another profession or is seeking a full time job when you are only offering part time hours, she may not stay with you very long.  Pry into her true professional aspirations to get a better sense of her commitment to the type of work you are offering.

5 – What would you do in an emergency situation (car accident, home fire, child stops breathing)? 

Posing hypothetical questions will help you get a sense of how your potential nanny can think on her feet.  Especially in emergency situations, quick, calm and strategic reactions are required to keep your children safe.  Of course once you hire someone you can help them plan safety measures by showing them where to find a fire extinguisher, safety ladders, thermometers and other tools she may need.

6 – Are you willing to do housework? 

Many new parents are so focused on finding someone who has excellent childcare credentials that they forget to ask about some of the other important tasks that need to get done.  Determine what housework your nanny candidate is willing to do – children’s laundry only or yours too?  Wiping off a table when there is a spill or scrubbing down the entire kitchen?  Your child’s needs come first but babies sleep a lot.  If you need some help with housework, make sure your nanny is willing to do it before making a hiring decision.

7 – Do you have a use a smart phone?

These days, mobile devices are extremely helpful when communicating with your nanny.  You may need to ask for a last minute schedule change or send a quick note that you’re stuck in traffic on the way home from work.  Your nanny may want to ask you questions throughout the day or give you updates and send photos.  You may also want to keep track of your baby’s feedings, diaper changes and sleep patterns via a shared app with your nanny.  If these things are important to you, a smart phone is mandatory.

8 – Are you able to meet the physical demands of this job?

Sitting and chatting with a nanny candidate may not tell you if they are physically capable of the job.  Explain the layout of your home, especially if you have multiple flights of stairs.  Also make sure your nanny can get on the floor with your baby for tummy time and play time, and she will be able to carry an increasingly heavy baby.

9 – Do you have any food or pet allergies?

Your pets are like family members so if your nanny is not able to be around them, that could make her ineligible for the job.  Also, if your nanny has severe allergies to nuts, shellfish or other items you prepare regularly, she may not feel comfortable working in your home.  Address these potential issues upfront.

10 – How do you discipline children?

Ensure your disciplinary styles are congruent before hiring a nanny.  This includes her tone, choice of language and overall demeanor.  Most nannies know not use physical discipline with a baby, but non-physical choices are just as important.  After talking to someone and asking this direct question, you can usually determine her level of kindness and patience for children.

Good luck in your nanny search!