Interviewing is essential to finding a position. Whether on Zoom, or in person, this is your opportunity to further display your knowledge, abilities and qualifications that make you the best person for the job. If you struggle with interviewing, you’re not alone! We’re sharing our top tips so you can make a great impression and in turn learn if the position is a good fit for you.
Always reread the job description and write down any questions you have for the family. Review your resume and know which skills and experiences to highlight for the role. Dress appropriately; even if you are interviewing for a childcare position, save your play clothes (jeans, sweatshirt, etc.) for a second play date and dress for the interview in business casual attire. Remember to turn off your cell phone and any other electronics that may make noise.
Block out 10 – 15 minutes before the interview to give yourself time to collect your thoughts i.e., breathing exercises, stretching, meditation, or whatever makes you feel the most calm and confident! If doing a virtual interview, make sure your video platform is working correctly and that you will not be interrupted.
Above all, be punctual! We like the rule “5 minutes early is on time, on time is late, and late is unacceptable”.
Put your best foot forward.
When you meet a family for the first time, greet them warmly. Ask what the children’s names are and get down on their level to say “hello”. Remember to engage with them as this is who you’ll be spending a majority of your time with! It’s important to make a connection but also be mindful of their space as many little ones can be wary of new people.
During your meeting, listen to the needs of the client and answer their questions clearly. If the meeting takes place on a video call, remember to look at the camera and make eye contact.
If you are asked about previous jobs, never say anything negative. Confidentiality is a must, so keep all personal and private matters about your past employers private. Stick to the details and talk about how your experience is relevant to the position you are interviewing for.
The agency will have already discussed your salary preferences with a family prior to the interview, so most families will not bring this up at the first meeting, but it does happen (and it can be uncomfortable for both parties). If they do ask, let them know you prefer the agency to handle specifics around pay. You can always discuss this later at a second meeting after you’ve both had time to think about whether it’s a good fit.
Ask great questions.
Asking open-ended questions shows prospective employers you are interested and dedicated to finding the right job. Below are some questions you may want to ask to help you learn more about the children, household, and responsibilities.
· Regarding the children:
- What is their routine (school hours, activities, naps, etc.)?
- Do they have special interests or characteristics?
- Do they have any special needs such as dietary restrictions or allergies?
- What forms of discipline does the family implement?
- Do they have a preferred parenting method (i.e., Montessori, Waldorf, RIE, etc.)?
· Regarding job responsibilities:
- What are the main priorities and responsibilities of the job?
- What is the schedule?
- How much time needs to be spent on household tasks vs. childcare?
- Are there any additional duties required (laundry, cooking, errands, pet care, etc.)?
- Is there driving involved? If so, is there a household vehicle available for the nanny?
· Regarding the family’s previous nanny:
- How did they meet their last nanny?
- How long did she/he stay and why did she/he leave?
- Were the children very attached?
- Would there be an opportunity to talk to the former nanny?
· Other questions you may want to ask:
- Are there other people involved in the care of the children (grandparents, newborn care specialists, other nannies, etc.)?
- If it is a multi-staffed home, who does the nanny need to report to?
- Do the parents work remotely, outside the home, or hybrid?
- What style of communication works best for the parents?
- Is there anything else that the family would like to know about you?
Know what you’re looking for.
We recommend you thoroughly read through the job description before applying for any position to know the parameters. However, an employer may mention different or additional responsibilities during your meeting. If that’s the case, don’t close the opportunity of a job in the interview. Be open to their needs and you can always decide later if you want the position or not!
Lastly, if the interview went well and you think the position could be a good fit, write a “thank you” note to express your appreciation for the opportunity. You can send the note via email or request the agency to forward it on your behalf. This is a great way to showcase your professionalism and emphasize your enthusiasm for the job!