How to interview a nanny

How to Interview a Nanny: Questions Checklist

A comprehensive list of questions when you interview a nanny, babysitter or caregiver.

There’s a lot to consider when hiring a child caregiver, so it’s a good thing we know a thing or two about it! Use our checklist of interview questions to help make your search easier.

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Ready to dive in? Get started with our comprehensive list of caregiver interview questions.

Background questions

    • How long have you been caring for children, and how old were they?
    • Are you qualified or trained in childcare or early years?
    • What is your favourite age to care for and why?
    • Do you have other work or life experience that you can bring that will help you do this job well?
    • Are you trained in First Aid? Would you be willing to take refresher classes if necessary?
    • What is your education level?
    • What is your most recent position?
    • Why are you looking to leave (or why are you no longer working there)?
    • What were some of the best things about your previous job?
    • What were the worst things?
    • Are you looking to stay long-term with a family, or are you planning on finding another career or job in the next year?
  • Can you provide references?

Job questions

    • How flexible is your schedule if we occasionally need you to arrive early or stay late?
    • Are you willing to cook/do light housework/take care of our family pet? (ask about any assistance you need)
    • Are there any activities or responsibilities that you won’t do?
    • Do you swim/play sports or musical instruments/like arts & crafts? (ask about any activities that are important to you)
  • How many children are you comfortable looking after? (especially important for play dates, visits from relatives, etc.)

Personality questions

    • What do you like best about being a nanny?
    • What do you find most challenging?
    • Do you prefer more or less structure in your day? What do you think works best for children?
    • What are some strategies you’ve used to create a great team with the family you support?
    • Have you had negative work situations? If so, what have you learned from them?
    • What is your view of disciplining a child and what should be the carer’s role?
    • How have you handled difficult situations like a baby crying uncontrollably or a child talking back?
    • What are you most proud of when it comes to your job?
  • Do you view your personality as flexible and easy to adapt to change, or do you need more structure and the ability to plan ahead? (especially important if your family has an inconsistent schedule)

Good fit questions

You also want to make sure the nanny you hire is comfortable with who you are as a family. There are some topics you can be upfront about with your candidates that are specific to your household to avoid potential problems later. For instance, if a family member:

    • Maintains a strict diet (vegetarian, kosher, etc.)
    • Follows certain religious or cultural practices
    • Has special needs concerns like autism or ADHD
    • Has particular medication needs
  • Is going through a tough time (at school, personally, or professionally)

You can probably tell by their reaction if they are a good fit for your family. They may not know the details of certain practices, but look to see if they are open to learning about them and respecting your wishes.

Questions you CAN ask

Here are questions that you are allowed to ask when interviewing applicants:

    • Are you over the age of 18?
    • Can you legally work in the Canada? Make sure that you check ID.
    • We are looking to hire someone for a long-term position. Is there any reason that you know of now that may preclude you from working for us full-time over the next few years?
  • Our children have a lot of energy or require carrying. Are you comfortable with the physical demands of the job?

Questions you CANNOT ask

By law, you are not allowed to ask job applicants about the following:

  • Age
  • Race/ethnic background
  • Religious views
  • Sexual orientation
  • Marital status/plans on becoming pregnant
  • Disability
  • If she has been arrested

Add your own questions: Customize your checklist with other concerns important to your family. This will prevent candidates from learning answers to the questions they think you might ask.

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