6 Ways to Improve Your Chances of Getting Hired
One mom shares the traits and skills she's learned as both a nanny AND a parent, as part of the Care.com Interview Series.
After being a nanny for almost a decade and now a mother herself, Keely Flynn knows a thing or two about caregiving. With a family of her own, she finds herself on the other side of the interview process. TheLollygag Blog blogger spills the beans about the essential qualities all caregivers should have -- trust her, she knows from experience!
Safety Comes First
As a babysitter, you may want to do a great job by helping with homework, cooking a gourmet dinner and teaching the kids French, but the most important thing is always the kids' safety. Flynn emphasizes, "At the end of the day, I don't care if the house is trashed or if the girls have only eaten Oreos (although I'd prefer neither to happen regularly), as long as they're safe and secure."
Love What You Do
Kids are a handful! It takes a certain type of person to like watching kids known for throwing tantrums or spitting up food. Enjoying working with kids is not something you can fake and it makes a huge difference when interviewing. Flynn adds, "I love meeting new sitters who have energy, a sense of humor and who really dig working with kiddos. (You'd think that last one would be a no-brainer, right?)"
Cover the Basics
Always be prepared to answer the standard questions at an interview. If there is a skill you keep getting asked about, but don't have, take the time to learn it! Flynn's go-to questions include; "what kind of child care experience do they have, are they certified in infant/child CPR. But then I like to throw in a few My Kid-specific scenarios: What would they do if Nora refused to sleep? How about if Suzy got her legs caught in the cabinet (again)?"
Trust the Vibes
Sometimes a babysitter just 'clicks' with a family. "Parents are super attuned to 'bad vibes' [and] you've gotta trust it," Flynn insists. "The first time our high school sitter came over, our normally shy 3-year-old was sitting in her lap and asking to play her favorite game before we even left the house. You've gotta trust those preschooler vibes, too!"
Secondhand smoke is a huge concern for parents looking out for the health of their children. Cutting back on cigarettes might save your lungs, and get you the job! Flynn shares, "I've never had a babysitter interview go poorly, but I did hear about a nanny who stopped the interview to head outside and smoke." Make sure cigarette breaks don't get in the way of an interview or the time you're supposed to be watching the kids.
Listen to the Kids
Make an effort to get to know the children, but make sure it's genuine! Flynn suggests, "asking them questions and really listening to their responses. There's a big difference between conversing with a child and at them, simply for the benefit of the parents."
Learn more about Keely Flynn and her babysitter tips in our full interview below -- including why honesty truly is the best policy!
Tell us about you, your family and your blog.
I'm a playwright, freelance writer and blogger living in Chicago with my family. My husband P.J. and I have two little girls -- Nora and Susannah -- and we're expecting our third kiddo in December! Between our jobs, our never-ending project of a home and the schedules of a toddler and preschooler, things stay pretty noisy (and fun) around here.
Have you ever hired a nanny or babysitter? If so, how often?
Funny enough, I was a nanny for close to a decade! It was a fabulous job, and I know for a fact that having a nanny would be the best thing ever. Unfortunately, it doesn't exactly jive with our financial situation (plus I have some pretty terrific flexibility working from home), so we make do with an awesome network of friends and the occasional babysitter.
What are the best tips you would give a babysitter for their next interview?
Showing up on time cannot be stressed enough. On the rare occasion that I get to leave the house solo, I need to know that the sitter will be here when they say they will! Be personable. I want to like her just as much as my children do! And honesty is clutch -- I'd rather know now if she can't boil water for mac n' cheese. Leaving a $20 for pizza is way easier than replacing scorched pots and pans!
Keely Flynn is a former nanny who spends her time taking care of her own children and blogging at Lollygag Blog. She currently lives in Chicago with her husband P.J. and their two daughters. She is also a playwright and admits that she uses hyperbole entirely too much. You can find Flynn on Twitter and Facebook.
Photo used with permission by Keely Flynn.
Get even more interview help in our Care.com Interview Series: 6 Babysitter Interview Tips from Moms »