11 Things to Bring on a Nanny Interview
Create a professional portfolio that will help you ace the interview and get a job.
It can take some work to find a nanny job that meets your qualifications. But once a family is interested in you and you start the interview process, it's important to make a good impression when you finally meet the parents in person.
Although interviews can feel overwhelming, you'll stress less if you're prepared. What you bring with you will send a message to your prospective employers about your organizational skills and your ability to take care of their children.
Here are suggestions for what to bring on your interview. Print out copies of everything and put them into an inexpensive folder that you can go through during the interview and then give to the family to take home.
It may seem like a lot, but this professional presentation will showcase your experience and set you apart from other applicants. One of these items may be the difference between a getting a great new job and coming in second place.
ResumeBe sure your resume is up-to-date and contains your current address, contact information and the work you've done for other families as a nanny. Include any skills, volunteer work and certifications you've earned. Print out a few copies of the resume on high-quality paper and bring them with you on the interview -- even if you've previously sent it to the family. Your resume may have gotten lost in the shuffle and a hard copy is a helpful thing to go over point-by-point during the interview.
During an interview, a family wants to make sure you are who you say you are. You'll be watching their child and safety always comes first. Parents need copies of your important papers and information in order to run background checks (if they haven't already through Care.com) and confirm your identity. Then when you get hired, they'll need that information for things like payroll, insurance and nanny taxes.
Provide the family with copies of your identification (like a driver's license and/or passport). Whether the interview takes place in a public place or in the family home, the parents may not have a way to make copies of your ID. It shows you've planned ahead when you hand the parents copies of all the personal information they'll need.
Certifications and Licenses
Demonstrate to parents that you can deal with any emergency. Give them a list of all the classes or training you've taken and copies of any certificates, licenses or degrees you received -- including CPR and first aid. Show families that you are a professional who takes this job very seriously.
As a part of the portfolio, give families a list of all of your references along with their contact information. Then print out any letters of recommendation, character references and Care.com reviews to include with the list. You want to make it as easy as possible for a family to hire you. This will help.
Sample Nanny Contract
Before you accept any job, you should always put together a nanny contract with the family. It spells out exactly what the job involves (like the hours and salary) and any duties you're responsible for. It also provides protection for everyone involved in case there is a misunderstanding. Discuss the contract later on during the interview, when things are going well. It's a great way to bring up little details that you may not have touched on yet.
To learn more about contracts, check out Do You Need a Nanny Contract?
Sample Contact List
This is a great thing to include in your nanny portfolio. It shows that you care about safety and know what to do during an emergency. Print out Care.com's Child Care Safety Checklist and give parents a copy to fill out before you start.
Sample Schedule/Daily Log
What does a typical day look like when you're the nanny? Show off how great you are at planning fun activities and creating healthy meals for kids. Parents want to see that you will be actively engaged with their child -- not watching TV with them for 4 hours a day.
Giving parents a daily log of what you did that day with a child is also a great habit to get into. Record what a child ate during meals and snacks, what books they read, what places you visited, the time and duration of naps and any potty times or diaper changes.The sample you provide during the interview can be as detailed as you like.
List of Fun Things to Do With Kids
Show the family that you are familiar with the area they live in. Put together a list of fun kid-friendly activities in the family's town and nearby ones. It should be a mix of free and low-cost options and appropriate for the age of the child.
List of Fun Craft Activities
What will you do with their child on a rainy day? This is a common interview question and it would be great to whip out this list of craft projects geared toward the child's age group. It also shows off how creative you are -- a quality most families look for in a nanny.
Prepare for other interview questions by reading this article on Real Moms Share Their Best Interview Questions
Put together a binder or photo album of craft projects you've done with kids, photos of you playing at the park with a child you used to watch, pictures or cards kids made for you, etc. Anything that shows how much effort you put into developing a great relationship with a child and planning fun things to do. It will help you stand out from other applicants and demonstrate what a great nanny you are. (Note: You can just show this off to families, rather than making a new one for each interview.)
One of the most important things you can do during any interview is ask questions. It shows that you're interested in the job and you've taken the time to actually think about it thoughtfully. Be as creative and as detailed as possible. As a starting point, check out our list of questions to ask parents.
Use this portfolio to guide you through your nanny interview and remove some of the stress. Assemble a few of these folders at a time, so you're ready to go the moment a family contacts you about a new job. Just update the questions and the lists based on the particular family's needs and the child's age and you'll be ready to go. Good luck!
Tiffany Smith is the director of content and publicity at William Woods University. She has written for All You, Time for Kids and the Boston Globe. And as a former babysitter, she knows a lot about fun games to play with kids. Getting them to eat their veggies -- that’s a different story!