How to Interview a Nanny: Questions Checklist

What to ask and what not to ask

There's a lot to consider when hiring a nanny. Good thing we know a thing or two about this sort of thing! Use our checklist of interview questions to help make your search easier.

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

Background questions:

  • How long have you been caring for children, and how old were they?
  • What is your favorite 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 CPR? Have you taken classes in childcare? Would you be willing to take classes if necessary?
  • What is your education level?
  • What is your most recent position? What's your typical daily routine with that family?
  • 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?

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 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 kids are you comfortable watching? (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 have you found worked the best when working with the parents to help raise the child?
  • 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 nanny'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 roll with 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 her reaction if she's a good fit for your family. She may not know the details of certain practices, but look to see if she is 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 U.S.?
  • Have you ever been convicted of a crime? Explain the circumstances.
  • 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.

See the suggested nanny interview questions from real moms>>

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