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How to interview nannies for a nanny share

Jerriann Sullivan
June 22, 2018
How to Interview Nannies for a Nanny Share
Image via Stocksy.com/Veavea

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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 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 families meet and determine exactly what they want from their nanny share before they begin interviewing candidates. "The (set of) criteria for the nanny isn't gigantic,” said Ken, a dad from New York, who found his nanny via Care.com. “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 which 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, food), 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?

Experts 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 should spend time talking about future logistical issues, such as how and when the families will pay the nanny, what benefits they'll provide, and how they'll handle the process when it comes time to review the nanny's work.

Once both sets of parents are on the same page, the families can determine how they want to handle the actual interviews. Essential questions to ask include the following:

  • Does one family or both wish to review all the applications?
  • Who wants to be the primary contact who schedules the interviews?
  • Will the meetings be done with both families present, or will each conduct a separate interview?
  • At what point will the nanny meet the kids he or she will be watching?

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

During the interview

A solid questions checklist can help you prepare for your 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 are:

  • 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?
  • What type of experience do you have with nanny shares?
  • How do you make sure a nanny share is successful?

Cover previous experience

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

Some questions to consider are:

  • Tell us about your most recent nanny experience. How did it end? What did you love? What did you dislike?
  • 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?
  • Tell us about a time where you had an emergency while watching kids and how you handled it.

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 are:

  • Have you ever taken classes focused on child care or family services? Do you have any interest in doing so?
  • 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

Each nanny share is going to be slightly different because no two families are exactly alike. That's why asking questions about the nanny's expectations can be very helpful for parents.

Some questions to consider are:

  • 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 play a role in your salary requirements?
  • Are you comfortable with more kids being involved in the case of playdates? If so, would that play a role in your salary requirements?
  • What things do you like to avoid when caring for children?
  • Do you have any questions for me/us about the kids, position, or our expectations?

Cover health-related issues

Babies, young kids and even teens can sometimes have complicated medical issues. It's necessary to be honest and upfront with a potential caregiver about the additional demands health care matters could create. It's equally important for parents to feel confident that their nanny could handle being responsible in these situations.

Some questions to consider are: 

  • 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 seems to be an endless amount of parenting styles — attachment, free range, authoritative, permissive and authoritarian are just a few. It's important for families to discuss the parenting philosophies they hold dear, as well as the type of care they'll expect from their nanny.

Some questions to consider are… 

  • What are your core beliefs on child care?
  • Do they change when additional children are present? If so, how?
  • What types of 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

There are several tasks to organize and delegate after families have interviewed candidates. 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 received during the reference and background checks with each other?

"The main factor is references and the interview. That's the key part," said Ken.

After the parents in his nanny share conducted their interviews and the couples determined their ideal candidate, the parents split up the remaining tasks.

"We split up the references. We called some, (and) they called some. Then, we decided on a nanny," Ken explained.

Once families have decided on the nanny, they'll need to determine the person or people 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.

Read next: Day care vs. nanny share: Which one's right for you?

The information contained in this article is provided only as a general guide and is not intended to be nor should it be construed to contain legal, medical or financial advice.  The selection of a caregiver and terms of any caregiving arrangement are solely the responsibility of the individuals involved and not Care.com

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