How to choose the right nanny

If you have reached a decision that your budget and circumstances compel you to seek live-in nanny assistance for your little ones, you need to be clear on what you need – is it just childcare or do you need help with daily chores in the home, cooking, or is it a combination? Also you need to establish if you will qualify for a live-in nanny.

Our placement coordinator will talk to you to evaluate your needs, determine if you can hire a live-in nanny and send you profiles of only those candidates who meet your requirements. It is important that when choosing a nanny, you ensure you hire someone who is professional and qualified in childcare preferably with years of related experience – please be assured that before we refer nannies for interview they have passed our meticulous screening process where we check references and qualifications and we will only refer you to the best of the best. However, and just as important, you much also ensure the nanny is the right personality match with your family, which you will need to evaluate during your telephone or Skype interview with shortlisted candidates.

The interview is your chance to get to know the nanny. You need to ask the right questions that will open up the conversation. A good interview will last approximately 20-30 minutes. You need to put the Nanny at ease so that you get the most from the interview. Try to use open-ended questions that will prompt for informative answers, such as questions starting with What? When? Why? How? Where? Or tell me about… This will avoid just getting Yes & No answers.

The following are some questions you may wish to consider asking. This is by no means a definitive list and is not set out in any particular order of priority:

Being a nanny

Why did you choose a career as a nanny?
What qualities are needed to be a good nanny?
What do you enjoy most about being a nanny?
What do you enjoy least about being a nanny?
Education & development activities

In view of our children’s ages what areas of development would you concentrate on and what sort of activities would be suitable?
How would you plan a typical day?
What are your favourite activities with children?
How would you occupy our children during the day?
What kind of equipment or materials would you need?
Have you had experience of potty training and how do you go about potty training children (if applicable)?

What kind of food would you cook for our children?
What approach would you take to planning menus and buying the food?
If appropriate: Have you prepared a baby’s bottle before? Used a sterilizer? Weaned a baby onto solid food?

What would you do with a child that threw a tantrum in the middle of a shop?
How do you introduce good manners to children?
(Discipline is an area that needs to be discussed up front to avoid any differences of opinion on how the children should be disciplined – as the parent you should be telling the nanny what you find acceptable or unacceptable in terms of disciplining your children)
Reading & television

What sort of books do you think would be appropriate for our children?
How often would you use the library?
How do you feel about children watching television?
Coping with an emergency

For example what would you do if a young child locked themselves inside the car?
What would you do if a child was choking?
When did you last update your first aid training?

How is your time keeping?
How many days sick leave have you had in the last year?
Personal family questions

Are you from a big family?
Where does your family come from?
Do you have children of your own?
Going through the nanny’s profile

It is obviously important to ask the nanny to describe her previous childcare positions. Working through her previous work experience you may consider asking the following questions in relation to each position:

How did you spend your days with the children?
Was it a sole charge position or were their elements of sole charge?
Why did you leave?
What did you enjoy most about the job?
What did you least enjoy about the job?
You should also read through the nanny’s written references, and raise any questions you may have in relation to those references. If the nanny has childcare qualifications, ask her to describe the course – how long was the course? Did she study full time or part time? What aspects did the course cover? In particular ask whether it involved her doing work experience and placements either with families or in nurseries?

Questions from the nanny

Encourage the nanny to ask questions about you and the family set up, specific details about the jobs, routines, hours etc. Do not be surprised if nannies are armed with a list of questions to ask.

Bringing the interview to a close

Once you are both satisfied that the interview is over and that you have covered everything, bring the interview to a close.

If you do not feel that the interviews have not found the right nanny, tells us what was missing and we will provide further profiles. Continue your search and interviewing nannies until you feel “this is the right match”!