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Executive Recruiter Shares 25+ Must-Ask Interview Questions for Hiring a Nanny During COVID-19

I wear a lot of hats.  By day, I’m an executive coach, executive recruiter, and organizational consultant.  More importantly, I’m a wife (my husband is a pulmonologist), and mom to two boys in elementary school.  My family comes first, so I need to ensure they are safe, happy, and thriving before I can focus on my career.  This rings true with my network of full-time working parents across the board – physicians, engineers, attorneys, business owners, nonprofit leaders, and corporate executives.  They want to elevate their careers – stand out from the crowd, get promoted, land their dream jobs, and make more money.  But, it’s a tough time to focus… We all have a lot on our minds – kids, work, chores, self-care, health, food, mail/bills, politics, house projects… 

One thing that can help is trying to remove the additional “distractions.”  These distractions can come in many forms including our own kids (at least they’re cute!).  It’s not easy for anyone during 2020, but being a parent during this time adds a layer of stress for those whose children require virtual school this semester.  Fortunately, unlike the spring, parents can find dependable care at local gyms, children’s museums, or private schools.  Others, however, are turning to pods, nannies, or tutors in which case they must hire an employee.

I have interviewed thousands of prospective employees.  While most of these were at the executive level, executive interviewing expertise can be applied across levels from a talent acquisition standpoint… including hiring the perfect nanny for your family.  Nannies are in high demand… so when you find a good one, you want to hold on tight.  Even so, it’s important to interview multiple prospective nannies in short succession using the same interview questions to be able to draw comparison.  These are 25+ must-ask questions for every prospective nanny:

General & Prior Experience

  • What does being a nanny mean to you?   (The candidate’s answer will give you the sense of whether this person is a good fit for your family.  Are they only there to help the kids or do they help run the house as well?   Do they mind picking up around the house, doing laundry, doing dishes or setting the table?).
  • Tell me about your last nanny position and your experience in caring for children.
  • (If there was a gap in positions) What did you do during this hiatus?
  • How would the last family describe you?  What was your typical daily routine?
  • What is your favorite part of being a nanny?  What is your least favorite part?

Health, Safety & Availability

  • How are you maintaining your health and safety during this pandemic?  (Feel free to note the priorities for your family – i.e. social distancing, mask wearing, etc.).
  • Are you up to date on your vaccines?
  • Do you smoke, drink a lot, or use drugs?
  • Are you trained in CPR? First aid?
  • Have you taken classes in childcare? Would you be willing to take classes if necessary?
  • Tell me how you spend your time outside of work.  
  • How is your driving record?  Have you ever had an accident or gotten a ticket?
  • Tell me how you discipline children.
  • Have you ever had to deal with a childcare emergency?
  • How do you feel about taking care of my child when s/he is sick?  Are you okay administering medications?  (We once had a nanny that didn’t feel comfortable when our toddler had a fever… let me tell you, toddlers get fevers a lot).
  • If you live in an area with weather challenges – how do you feel about driving in the snow?  (My husband once picked up a nanny who refused to drive when it snowed.  After all, we still had to work).

Planning, Learning & Engagement

  • What is your experience in working with kids this age?
  • If you were to take on this position, how would you create learning opportunities for our kids?
  • Tell me about a time when kids struggled academically in (insert specific area), how did you help them?
  • What are your favorite activities that make learning fun for kids?

Fit/Motivation

  • What is your availability?  If offered the position, how soon would you be available to start?
  • How flexible is your schedule? Would you be available if we occasionally need you to arrive early or stay late? Are you available to stay overnight if we travel or also babysit on the weekends?
  • Are you willing to cook/do light housework/take care of pets/set the table/do laundry? If so, does this change your compensation requirement?
  • What are your hobbies (sports, music, etc.) and how do you spend time outside of work?  Do you speak another language?
  • Are you comfortable with the physical demands associated with the position like lifting my child, etc.?
  • As a nanny, describe your perfect work situation.
  • What is it about this position that interests you?
  • Would you please provide references?

Hire the nanny and be sure to follow the proper process (develop a contract, run a background check, pay taxes).  After that, stay tuned for more Mindshare Monday posts to help alleviate distractions in your life.  Then, focus on your career.  And when you are ready, give us a call and we can help.

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