Given the time typically spent by any nanny caring for your children they will undoubtedly exert a great influence on their upbringing. Therefore, it’s crucial that when it comes to hiring a nanny, you pick the right one.
But how do busy parents go about finding the nanny right for their family? After using Care.com to shortlist potential candidates for your next nanny, you can use our ‘How to Interview a Nanny’ article to get some helpful advice.
But what if you want to get beyond the formality of standard interview questions and dig a little deeper? We’ve gathered together some creative ideas for interview questions from the mom blogosphere to help you do just that. Here’s our top 10:
1. How Was Your Family Life?
Our family dynamics and childhood experiences shape us into the people we are. Asking about prospective nannies’ childhoods and their relationships with parents and any siblings can give you more information about how they will interact with your children.
2. What’s Your Blood Type?
One mom explains that she asks this question to get a better understanding of the candidates’ awareness of their own health, and wanted only nannies who were aware of their own medical state. She figured nannies who were conscious of their own health would be most likely to notice health changes in the kids. These nannies might be more likely to bring mom up to speed on any potential health issues before they become problematic.
3. Do You Know The Neighbourhood?
Ask your candidates what they know about things to do nearby and about the area in general. Finding a nanny who is already familiar with the community means time saved teaching them how to get around, and they may already be aware of fun places to explore with your kids.
4. What Would You Do With The Children On A Rainy Day?
Having a great imagination is a key asset in any nanny, especially when tasked with caring for active kids in need of stimulation. Test your candidates’ creativity with this bad weather query. Nannies with an array of interests and hobbies are more likely to keep your family entertained for the long haul, and possibly even help your children form new interests of their own.
5. How Would You Deal With Temper Tantrums Whilst Out Shopping?
Posing this question in an interview allows you some insight into the nanny’s temperament and her care philosophy. If a nanny has a vastly differing care philosophy and manner of dealing with discipline issues than you, children can become more unruly due to lack of consistent messaging from authority figures. Ask them questions about how they deal with children and discipline, but make sure that your questions aren’t leading — you don’t want to hint at what your ideas are and affect their answers.
6. Can We Come Around To Your House?
Another mom recommends asking potential applicants if they mind if she came over and saw where they lived. This was a way to see candidates in their own element and to see if they are really as neat/orderly/clean as they claim to be. “Seeing where someone lives tells you a lot about them.” If they are meticulous with their home and belongings, there’s a great chance they will be meticulous in caring for your children and your home, too. If this is a little too intrusive for you, maybe ask to see their car.
7. Would You Like Dinner At Ours?
Once you get down to the final few top candidates, have each come over for a few hours for a trial period with the whole family around. Trial periods can be the key – even if it’s for a short time, knowing how your potential nanny reacts to your children upon first meeting — especially when you are there to witness it firsthand — is very helpful in making the final decision. See how comfortable she is playing with your kids and dealing with typical squabbles. If your children don’t get along with her, it wasn’t meant to be.
8. Are You Social Media Savvy?
Is your prospective nanny glued to Facebook and her phone? If she’s always online, then your children might also start showing up online as well. Care.com message board mom, Tara F., asks candidates about their online usage because otherwise, “how does a family protect its privacy and especially protect the children?” To get a better understanding of someone’s Internet habits, ask to see their Facebook page. Do you really want someone with questionable comments or pictures watching over your children? If the prospective candidate does not want to be transparent with you about their posting habits, there’s a chance they have something to hide and you might want to rethink using their services.
9. What Are Your Favorite Films & Albums?
Titanic or Reservoir Dogs? Metallica or Justin Bieber? Knowing about someone’s movie or music tastes can give you a good sense of her personality and what kinds of pop culture references she might be making around your children. Knowing your nanny’s entertainment tastes can also give you a good insight into whether their values (and interests) line up with those of your family.
10. Where Do You See Yourself In Five Years?
Asking how long a candidate plans to work as a nanny will go a long way toward finding the best fit for your family. If you’re looking for someone to stay with your family for multiple years, the student looking to end their nannying career upon graduation probably isn’t the best choice. One mom notes that “An applicant who is caught entirely off-guard by the question or who struggles to give a coherent answer may not be a desirable candidate.”
Do you have suggestions for more creative questions to ask a potential nanny? Share them with us using the comments below!