The Child Care Job Guide: The Child Care Job Interview
How to interview for a child care job with a family
Whether you're a professional child care provider or a teenage babysitter, parents will have a lot of questions for you in an interview. And you should have a lot of questions for them.
Before you accept a job, you will need to know what the parents want their children to be doing, eating, wearing, and watching while they are in your care. If you ask the right questions in the beginning, you'll have a better idea of what's expected of you, and you'll be able to meet expectations.
Ask questions about your role. Here are some suggestions:
- Can you walk me through a typical day? (Or night or week, depending on the job.) What are your family' routines, and who are the people involved?
- How many hours per week would you want me to work?
- What do you expect of me? Will I cook meals? Do housework? Wash clothes? Provide homework help?
- Are you open to my taking your child to local parks or playgrounds, or would you prefer that we stay at your house?
- What are your rules for talking on the telephone? Watching television? Using the internet?
- How do you expect me to discipline your child? At what point should I contact you if a disciplinary issue arises?
- What resources and contacts do you have if there is an emergency?
- Does your child have any medical conditions, such as asthma or allergies? Is he on any medications?
- Does he have any chores and responsibilities?
- What are his favorite activities, books, and toys?
- What do you and your child enjoy doing together?
- Are there activities your child wants to do that you don't enjoy, but that I might do with him?
- Does your child have any nicknames? Imaginary friends?
- Is there anything that frightens your child?
- Does your child have unusual habits? Should I try to help him break that habit?
- Is there any behavior you would like me to reinforce?
- Should I pay special attention to certain issues you would like your child to work on, such as sharing or playing with other children?
- What sorts of sibling rivalry issues are there, if any? When do they arise?
- Should I be aware of any religious or cultural preferences?
Be prepared to answer questions about your experience, such as these:
- Tell us about your child care experience.
- How long were you at your last position and why did you leave?
- What did you like best and least about your last job?
- What kinds of activities did you do with the child you cared for?
Be prepared to answer questions about your child care philosophy and style, such as these:
- What do you think children need most from a caregiver?
- How do you handle discipline issues?
- What do you like about child care?
- What activities do you enjoy doing with children?
- Do you have any special skills or interests you can offer our child?
Since potential employers will most likely require that a background check be run on you, it would help to be prepared for whatever may be discovered. In fact, many people have background checks run on themselves so that they will be prepared to discuss whatever comes out. Visit Care.com's Safety Tips page for any questions you may have about how to run a background check.
Once you have gone on an interview, received a job offer, and decided that the job is right for you, the next step is to establish good communication with your employer so that you can make sure that the job is one you enjoy and that your performance on the job meets your employer's needs.
Ronnie Friedland is an editor at Care.com. She has co-edited three books on parenting and interfaith family life.
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