8 Ways to Ace the Job Interview
Looking for a job as a nanny, babysitter, tutor, senior care aid or pet caregiver? Here are tips to prepare you for the interview.
Megan Horst-Hatch, Contributor
Articles> Advice for Babysitters and Nannies> 8 Ways to Ace the Job Interview
nanny being interviewed

Whether you are trying to find a nanny job or are just starting your career as a housekeeper, you'll likely need to go on interviews. Putting your best foot forward before, during and after the interview is crucial to getting the job. From researching a family before the interview to knowing when to send a thank you note, having an interview for a caregiving position presents its own unique challenges.

Take these tips from two career experts, Steven Steinfeld, a job coach in Chicago and author of "3 Steps To Your Best Job Ever!" and New York City-based career coach Deborah Brown-Volkman, author of "Coach Yourself to a New Career," and put them to the test in your job search.

  1. Do Your Research
    Many articles on helpful career advice say that you should research the job and the company before going on an interview. As a caregiver, that can be difficult. While it's important to know a bit about the family you're interviewing with, it's trickier to research a family than it is to research a company. However, there are tools to help you find out more about a prospective family.

    "If you have the parents' names and know where they live, use Google to find out about them," Steinfeld advises. "You'd be amazed to see what comes up online." For example, if a parent is involved with a charity, you might get a sense of their passions. "You'll want to see if you have anything in common with the parents so you can establish a common ground," says Steinfeld.

    Other online tools include Facebook and LinkedIn. Both can inform you about a family's favorite activities or work history. You can also tap into your network and take your research low-tech by asking fellow caregivers if they, or someone they know, have worked for the family.

    When you actually meet the interviewer, you don't want to come off as a creepy stalker and recite their birthday and their childhood pet's name. But it can help you get a sense of who they are beforehand, and topics you may want to bring up.

  2. Refresh Your Portfolio
    A portfolio is a crucial component of the job interview. Steinfeld advises keeping letters of recommendation from previous employers, references and copies of any certifications or licenses relevant to your job, such as a copy of your driving record. Make sure your certifications are up-to-date and valid in the state in which you are applying for a job.

    For more information on what you need, read our article on 11 Things to Bring on a Nanny Interview

  3. Dress Appropriately
    It can be tricky to know what to wear to an interview for a caregiving position. You don't want to look too formal, but you definitely don't want to look as though you're ready to clean out the attic.

    "No matter what you are interviewing for, you want to look as professional as possible. If you have a suit, wear the suit. If you don't have a suit, wear business casual clothes, like ironed pants and a blouse," Steinfeld says. For an extra touch, add a blazer. You may be asked to interact with a child or pet, so don't be afraid to get your clothes dirty -- washing machines were invented for a reason.

  4. Arrive Early, But Not Too Early
    Plan to arrive no more than 10 minutes before the interview, especially if you are interviewing at the family's home. You don't want the family to feel rushed by arriving long before the scheduled start time. If you're worried about being on time, get there earlier and park down the block. If you're running late, call right away and explain the situation (but don't be late if you can help it!).

  5. Be Passionate
    Show you're interested in the job. "People get hired for their personality, so remember to come across as excited about the job," Brown-Volkman says, adding that smiling and nodding can go a long way toward showing your interest in the interview.

  6. Talk about Yourself
    Get ready to tell the prospective family what you can do for them. "Be as honest as you can be, but don't say anything negative, especially about a past employer," Steinfeld says. Limit yourself to two minutes when discussing your skills and accomplishments and try to bring in interesting or funny anecdotes when you can -- they will make you memorable and personable. Talk about an amazing craft project you did with a child or why you really enjoyed looking after a particular pet.

  7. Ask to Meet the People or Pets
    As a caregiver, you will likely spend the majority of your time with your charges. So focus on the child, pet or senior during the interview. However, they probably won't attend the initial interview with the decision makers. "During the interview, ask if you can meet the person or pet who needs care," says Brown-Volkman. By doing so, you are showing interest in the job and that you want to create a bond with the person or pet that might be in your care.

  8. Follow up with a Note
    After you've finished your interview, send a handwritten thank you note to the interviewing family that night. "Tell the family that you enjoyed meeting them, and that you are enthusiastic about the position. In addition, remind them of your qualifications in your note," Steinfeld says.

With a bit of preparation, you'll feel confident and eager during the interview process and you'll show the prospective family how amazing you are. After all, acing the interview is often the key to landing the job.

Megan Horst-Hatch is a mother, runner, baker, gardener, knitter, and other words that end in "-er. " She loves nothing more than a great cupcake, and writes at I'm a Trader Joe's Fan. Her work can be found here.

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(20) Comments
Judith A.
Judith A.
I thank care. Com team. I haven't had any interview with care. Com but I think my first interview Will be great. Looking forward for one
May 18, 2015 at 11:57 PM
Laura P.
Laura P.
This is a wonderful service. Thank you care.com for connecting caregivers and those seeking care for their little ones.
May 8, 2015 at 1:22 PM
Rose R.
Rose R.
I have joined Care -Com for probably four years are more, and have made many applications.
and have had a number of contacts and a few interviews, however most family want their Nanny to do pick up and drop off, and I do not drive, so it posses a problem for me. There are others who do not follow up after they respond to my application, that causes some degree of anxiety and frustration. I have also communicated with some warm and thoughtful families but their are usually at a distant which are usually too far for me. That been said, I appreciate the service that Care-Com provide for both families and Nannies, and I am looking forward to meet the right family which live close to me or on the bus route, because I am useally to get to families that way with out any problem at all.
April 28, 2015 at 8:01 PM
Donna Z.
Donna Z.
Hi ,My name is Donna ,I am new to care.com was referred by a friend so far I feel very comfortable with the site it is user friendly and is very helpful . Now am just waiting for my first job .
April 23, 2015 at 10:00 AM
Sherry M.
Sherry M.
So happy I came across cares.com I have met the sweetest people in there.
April 21, 2015 at 11:00 AM
Karen R.
Karen R.
I have met the Kindest couple and they are a pleasure to work for.
April 17, 2015 at 8:40 PM
Jessica J.
Jessica J.
I've used these tips in all of my interviews and they really work! Great tips!
January 15, 2015 at 10:31 PM
Tuesday B.
Tuesday B.
Iam happy with care.com,I have to say it takes a lot of commitment to get potential customers.When I'm not cleaning for someone Iam constantly looking on line for my next customer.Weather its weekly,bi-weekly,monthly,or one time clean. I don't turn down any job that Iam hired for.I have several regulars but I always try to fit in someone that contacts me for a cleaning, you never know what that will lead too.Pay Iam always paid fairly for the job I do.Thats what going above and beyond will get you.You have to enjoy doing the job your hired for.Theres nothing better than having customers happy and appreciating you,as you do them!
December 14, 2014 at 11:38 PM
Louise H.
Louise H.
I thank all of the team members of Care.com with our Iphones and computers even jobs we can lose interpersonal skills, care.com helps provide a service for both families seeking the right candidate and for care giver providers each tools, tips,and guidelines to help every step of the way. Thank you care.com
July 14, 2014 at 2:25 PM
Angela S.
Angela S.
Thanks Care.com for being here for all of us. I'm a professionally trained Nanny. I've got lots of references and I have my background check posted. My frustration comes when families want a "Nanny" because their friend has one and don't have the slightest idea what it is we offer. I am NOT a babysitter and I will correct anyone that calls me that. I've worked hard to earn my certificates and paid for my classes. I've been here for several years and have only been hired twice from interviews on Care.com. But they have been long term positions working with twins both times. I adore being employed with a home that have multiples. Parents you will get what you pay for. Someone that works for $5 per hour will not do the job of a well trained Nanny that requires $20+ an hour or a set amount worthy of their expertise and time. Thanks for taking the time to read my comments. Angela
July 13, 2014 at 3:03 PM
Wayne W.
Wayne W.
I have been with Care.com for years now and still waiting to be connected to a job. I have made several applications but no favorable response. Still trusting something will come soon.
July 12, 2014 at 6:38 PM
Kimmy T.
Kimmy T.
Hi to everyone, I have a couple of comments, one why do some people post jobs that say they don't have a job and they can't pay a sitter right now! So basically Free babysitting for now.
Others want to pay for 2 or more kids $5 a hour! Are they crazy
Now others want to pay $7 hour for babysitting 2 or more kids plus they want house cleaning
June 27, 2014 at 10:44 PM
Gwen B.
Gwen B.
I would love to be part of the team as I am a registered Pharmacy Technician, but am unemployed at the time and cant afford it. Sounds like a lovely place to work.
June 23, 2014 at 10:20 AM
Patricia S.
Patricia S.
Hi, my name is Patricia S. I have been a care giver for the elderly but only now I have no transportation . I am in hopes that I can get some work taking care of children and/or senior adults as I had before. I had really enjoyed it. I do have a drivers license and can drive their vehicle with them in it to shop and /or go to the doctor or maybe to eat some where of their choice... I can hardly wait to get started. My hours of working can be discussed with the individual. I am also will to spend overnight in case of emergency. I am willing to get started right a way.
June 22, 2014 at 9:55 PM
Eleonora B.
Eleonora B.
Hi there,

I am a nanny several years and I am so indignant!!! How somebody can ask for nanny or some caregiver ( educated, honest, working for family with 2 or more kids ) working for them and they wanna got her 5 or 10 dollars?!?!? I think CARE.COM can make a decision LEAST hourly is $12.00...because we are take care of kids from doctors, lawyers, ect. and they paid for us $5...it is ridiculous and mean...we are caring their family member and we help them upbringing kids
June 21, 2014 at 9:11 PM
Tammy M.
Tammy M.
I cannot wait to start working with Care.
June 14, 2014 at 10:43 AM
Naima S.
Naima S.
Thanks so much for the useful information! I have a interview next week I'm hoping to get the job!
June 13, 2014 at 1:33 AM
Sherry P.
Sherry P.
I have been on care.com for a couple of years now. I have been very happy. I have been hired as a pet sitter and also as a senior care-giver. I have applied for lots and LOTS of jobs with no response at all from the people who posted the position. That is the frustrating part. Luckily, I have also been hired by word of mouth in one particular neighborhood for animal sitting. I still check out care.com on a regular basis.
May 27, 2014 at 4:36 PM
Bernadette T.
Bernadette T.
Dina p no way in the world would I except that pay for that much work and taking care of kids to wow.
May 5, 2014 at 11:54 PM
Jessie R.
Jessie R.
Sometimes I feel that because of your age you are not considered.It doesn't matter how much experience you might have am 71 but very active health is good,a retired preschool teacher with credentials and have applied for Date Night Sitter as well ad part time Nanny as of yet no response.
April 23, 2014 at 9:03 AM

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