How to interview nannies for a nanny share

Jerriann Sullivan
Aug. 15, 2020

Considering sharing a caregiver? Be sure to do your homework: Nanny shares and shared care arrangements may be subject to various licensing requirements or prohibited in certain states and jurisdictions. Research local laws and regulations.

While most parents have completed job interviews in their lives, not everyone has been on the other side of the table. As the person tasked with finding the right applicant, it's important to be prepared and to stay organized. When interviewing a candidate for a nanny share, the stakes are even higher because your new employee will be responsible for keeping multiple kids happy and healthy while you're away.

To help you navigate the interview process, we spoke to a number of nanny share families to get their tips and tricks. Here's what they had to say.

Before the interview

It's crucial that the families meet and determine exactly what they want from their nanny share before they begin interviewing candidates. Ken, a dad from New York who’s hired a nanny for a nanny share, points out a critical first, “One: You want somebody within your price range.”

In addition to locking down rates, it's important to discuss and agree on: 

  • What days and hours is the nanny needed?

  • At whose house will the nanny take care of the kids?

  • Will the nanny split time between both houses or work out of only one?

  • What is the budget for common expenses (e.g., diapers, meals, snacks), as well as for extracurricular activities?

  • Are there any transportation needs?

  • Are there any other decisions that would impact both families, i.e., is there need for extra equipment, such as a double stroller?

Nanny share families also suggest each family create a "must-have" list and a "nice-to-have" list to discuss and combine before finding a nanny. After finalizing their lists, families can talk through any logistical issues, such as how and when the families will pay the nanny, what benefits they willl provide and how they will handle reviewing the nanny's work.

Once both families are on the same page, they can determine how to handle interviews. Essential decisions to make:

  • Does one family or both wish to review all the applications?

  • Does one person want to be the primary contact who conducts phone interviews and schedules in-person interviews for the best candidates?

  • Will in-person interviews be done with both families present, or will each conduct a separate interview?

  • At what point will the nanny meet the kids they will be watching?

The more steps you can outline before you begin interviewing, the better.

Read more: Questions to ask child caregivers during coronavirus

During the interview

A solid checklist of questions can help everyone prepare for the interviews. Beyond that, families should always feel free to add in questions of their own, too, that are more specific to the needs of their children.

Cover the basics

It's important to go over the general questions first, as they give you an idea of what follow-up questions to ask and allow everyone to get comfortable and conversational.

Some questions to consider:

  • How long have you been a nanny?

  • What do you like most about being a nanny?

  • What age groups are you most experienced with caring for?

Cover previous experience

Now that you've gotten a feel for the nanny and their likes, dislikes and experiences, you can ask more detailed questions about their work history.

Some questions to consider:

  • Tell us about your most recent nanny experience. What did you love? What did you dislike? How did it end? 

  • Tell us about a time where you had an emergency while watching kids and how you handled it.

  • What does your ideal work scenario look like?

Ask nanny share specifics

Next, you can transition into questions that are focused on being hired for a nanny share.

  • What type of experience do you have with nanny shares?

  • How do you make sure a nanny share is successful?

  • What's your typical daily routine when running a nanny share?

  • How do you handle the more difficult situations and/or days with multiple kids?

Cover additional education and training

A lot of nannies have extensive child care education and/or training. Some nannies have specialized their approach on the job. Asking additional questions about a nanny's education and training will only give you a better idea of their experience.

Some questions to consider:

  • Have you ever taken classes focused on child care or family services? 

  • How has your education prepared you to be a nanny?

  • Do you have CPR and first-aid training or certification?

  • What languages would you feel comfortable speaking with the children?

Cover the nanny’s expectations

Inquiring about the nanny's expectations can help everyone ensure they’re seeing eye-to-eye.

Some questions to consider:

  • Does our nanny share schedule seem manageable?

  • How flexible is your schedule? Could you ever stay late or arrive early?

  • What are your salary requirements and what exactly does that cover?

  • Do you understand that taxes will be withheld?

  • Are you open to completing additional household tasks? If so, would that change your salary requirements?

  • Are you comfortable with more kids being involved in the case of playdates? If so, would that change your salary requirements?

  • Do you have any questions for me/us about the kids, position or our expectations?

Cover any special needs

It's necessary to be honest and upfront with a potential caregiver about any additional requirements, including medical conditions, allergies, special needs, etc., that may demand more work for the nanny. It's equally important for you to feel confident that their nanny can handle the responsibility of  these situations.

Some questions to consider: 

  • Do you have experience caring for kids who have allergies or chronic illnesses?

  • Do you have any additional medical or health training?

  • Do you have any religious or cultural practices that would clash with the needs of our children?

  • Do you have experience working with kids who have special needs?

Cover the type of care expected

There are many parenting styles, so it's important for families to discuss any philosophies they hold dear, as well as the type of care theyexpect from their nanny.

Some questions to consider:

  • What are your core beliefs on child care?

  • Do they change when additional children are present? If so, how?

  • What rules are a "must" for the kids you watch?

  • What type of structure do you like to see in a child's day? Does that change when there are more kids?

  • What are your best practices when it comes to discipline and why?

  • Is there a parenting style you prefer over others? If so, why?

After the interview

After you have interviewed candidates, there are several tasks to organize and delegate. First, review the notes you took while interviewing each potential nanny, pick your top choices and come to an agreement with the other nanny share family on whom you want to hire.

Then, discuss the following responsibilities:

  • Who will call their references, and how many will they call?

  • Which family will take the lead on handling the background check?

  • How will the families communicate the information they receive during the reference and background checks with each other?

After the parents in Ken’s nanny share conducted their interviews and the couples determined their ideal candidate, they divvied up the remaining tasks. "We split up the references. We called some, (and) they called some. Then, we decided on a nanny," Ken explains.

Once you decide on the candidate you want to hire, determine who will communicate with the candidates. Some families have one parent make the offer while another follows up with the nannies who won't be hired. Other families prefer to have the same person handle all of the communication.

Make a plan based on everyone's preferences, and you'll be on your way to starting your nanny share.

Tips and stories from parents and caregivers who’ve been there.

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