Updated: Jan 13, 2020
By Emily Louange, USNA Director of Employment
As you prepare for your next nanny job interview, it may calm your nerves to realize that you have most likely participated in more nanny job interviews than the parent interviewing you has! Most parents are hiring rookies, but this does not mean that you shouldn’t be prepared. It just means that your interview will likely imitate corporate interviews the parents have participated in themselves as the interviewee.
By this logic, the questions they ask will be similar to a standard interview. A Glassdoor study of tens of thousands identified the top questions that are asked during an interview. We’ve handpicked and edited these most common questions so you can practice your responses prior to your meeting.
Common Interview Questions
What are your strengths?
What are your weaknesses?
Why are you interested in working for us?
Where do you see yourself in 2 years? 5 years?
Why do you want to leave your current employer?
What can you offer us that someone else can't?
Why was there a gap in your employment between these two dates?
What are three things your former employer would like you to improve on?
Are you willing to travel?
Tell me about an accomplishment you are most proud of.
Tell me about a time you made a mistake.
Walk me through your resume.
What childcare education and training do you have?
Tell me about a time you handled a difficult situation.
Why should we hire you?
Why are you looking for a new job?
Would you work holidays/weekends?
How would you deal with an upset child?
What are your discipline philosophies?
What are your salary requirements (rate, mileage, W2 position, etc)?
What was your biggest failure?
What's your availability?
Are you flexible?
Tell me about a time when you disagreed with your employer and how you handled it.
How do you handle pressure?
What are your hobbies?
What makes you uncomfortable?
What do you like the most and least about working in childcare?
Would you work 40+ hours a week?
What questions haven't I asked you but should?
What questions do you have for us?
Special Note About Nanny Interviews
Best case scenario, your potential employer will cover all the bases. But as previously mentioned, many parents have never done this before. It is likely you will need to take the initiative to be sure all relevant information is thoroughly discussed.
You are also responsible for determining if the position is a good fit for you and you need to acquire all the details before you can determine this. Be sure to review Questions a Nanny Should Ask at an Interview, also translated into Spanish.
Many nanny interviews are conducted in the family’s home. However, it is recommended for your personal safety that the initial interview is conducted in a public place or have someone escort you to the interview. At the very least, let someone know the address and time of your meeting.
Dress for Success
While most nanny employers do not expect you to show up in a suit as you might for a corporate job interview, you should put your best foot forward by dressing presentably. What does this mean? Well, don’t show up in your pajamas or work out attire. Clean conservative (non-revealing) business casual attire should do. A pair of nice pants and a blouse or business shirt with business-appropriate shoes will do.
Be Time Sensitive
If you’re late for your interview, even a few minutes, this could concern potential employers. They may question your reliability and wonder if you are a perpetually late person. It is best to map out your route and give yourself plenty of time to manage traffic, find the address, and a parking spot. If you are going to be late for whatever reason, acknowledge it with an apology to show the parents that you respect their time.
Interaction and Eye Contact
The tricky component of a nanny job interview is that usually, the nanny is interacting with the whole family, or at least both parents and the child(ren) during the interview. This is quite unique compared to other types of job interviews. Your nanny skills are simultaneously being evaluated as you answer interview questions.
Too much focus on the child will prevent you from making appropriate eye contact with your potential employer and distract you from your interview questions. Not enough focus on the child and the parents might question if you have any interest in working with children.
A conscious effort must be made to strike the right balance. Set aside time to give attention to the child(ren), then tell the little one you're going to talk to mommy and daddy for a little bit now. Even if the child is too young to comprehend, it's still worth saying out loud. This will ensure the parents recognize you are simply focusing on them now rather than ignoring their child.
Be Honest and Relax
It’s easy to fall into the trap of focusing on what you think the interviewer wants to hear. Instead, focus on giving an honest response of what you have to offer. If you are anything but honest there is a good chance your interviewer will pick up on your lack of authenticity or you'll end up in a job that's not a good fit. Try your best to relax by smiling to put yourself and the family at ease.
You will be amongst many candidates that a family interviews. Send a thoughtful follow-up email or message thanking them for their time and reconfirming your interest in the job position. In the message reiterate why you feel you are the best candidate for the job.