It goes without saying that, when you score an interview for a nanny job, you want to bring your A-game. However, even though you’re, technically speaking, the one in the hot seat, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t come armed with a list of questions of your own. You do, after all, want to know what you’re potentially getting into.
“Asking questions is absolutely paramount for nannies during an interview,” says professional nanny of over 30 years Stella Reid, AKA Nanny Stella. “Just as the family is deciding if you are the right fit for them, you should be assessing if the family is the right fit for you.”
In addition to doing recon on whether the job itself is a good match and personalities mesh, right now, there’s the added layer of a pandemic. You want to learn upfront whether the family you may be working closely with is taking precautions with which you’re comfortable.
“The interview is time to have radical transparency and open communication — especially in the age of COVID,” says Michelle LaRowe, lead educator at NannyTraining.com and author of “Nanny to the Rescue!” “You want to make sure you’re accepting a job with a family you can trust and with whom you feel safe.”
Wondering what questions you should ask parents during an interview? Here are 32 questions to ask when interviewing for a nanny job, according to Reid and LaRowe:
General questions about the job
- What are you looking for in a nanny?
- What are the hours?
- How long of a commitment are you seeking?
- What are the daily duties?
- What did you like about your previous nannies and what are you looking to change?
- Do you travel? If so, would you require me to travel with you? If not, will there be responsibilities while you are gone?
Questions about the kids
- Do the children have allergies or any other health concerns?
- Do the children require any specialized care?
- What personality style or temperament do your children connect with best?
- What does the kids’ typical day look like?
Questions about compensation
Obviously, this is something you, rightly, want to know, but LaRowe doesn’t recommend leading with these questions. “Asking this question before seeing if you are a potential match can be a real turn off to parents who want a caregiver that expresses interest in their children before money,” she explains. “Plus, it’s a moot point if you’re not interested in the job.”
- How do you run the payroll?
- Will you be issuing a W-2 and handling taxes?
Questions about parenting style
- What is your discipline philosophy?
- What values do you want to instill in your children?
- Do you adhere to a specific parenting style?
- What model of care do you envision?
“If you are a nanny who’s used to running the show, you likely won’t do well in a position that requires you to stay in the house and be micromanaged,” notes LaRowe.
Questions about home life
- Do you have pets?
- Do you have a pool?
- Is there any other household staff?
- Will I be using my vehicle or yours to transport the children?
- Do you work inside or outside of the home?
Finally, LaRowe recommends asking potential employers if there’s anything they’d like you to know about their family at the end of the interview. “Following this question with a long pause is going to get you answers to questions you would never have thought to ask” she explains.
- Do you take the flu shot?
- Are you up to date on other immunizations, including whooping cough?
Questions about COVID safety and risk
The pandemic isn’t over, and every job-seeking nanny should feel empowered to ask questions in order to assess potential risks. The Association of Premier Nanny Agencies (APNA) has developed a COVID Risk Tolerance Scale that can help nannies and families identify their COVID Risk Factor. According to LaRowe, asking where a family falls on the scale can help match you with a family who practices the same or similar level of COVID precautions.
According to LaRowe, here are questions to ask when searching for a job during the pandemic:
- Have you gotten the COVID vaccine? If not, are you and the eligible children planning on getting one?
- Do you work in high-risk exposure jobs?
- What is the plan if someone in the family is exposed to or diagnosed with COVID? And will I be paid if asked to quarantine?
- What are the expectations if I’m exposed?
- Am I expected to wear a mask during work hours, and will the family, including children over 2 years old, be wearing masks?
- Am I expected to get regular COVID tests?
- Will the schedule or my job duties shift if schools close or go virtual at any point?
- What outings and social activities are acceptable for the children?
“It’s important to understand the family’s COVID precautions and action plan when you’re interviewing, not after you’ve accepted the job,” explains LaRowe. “This way, you can gauge your comfort level and consider whether or not it’s a good fit.”