Guidance for Nannies interviewing with a family
Congratulations! You have been chosen by a family you are keen to work for to interview for the job of their Nanny (Nanny Housekeeper etc). You have convinced this family that you have the potential to be the best candidate to look after their precious children and this means you are nearly at the point of being offered this position. They like you, now you just have to convince them that you are as capable and as wonderful as they think you are having read your CV, cover letter and the recommendation from your agency.
It is easy to forget the most basic points about interviewing in your nervousness to be the ‘chosen one’, so we’ll highlight them here for you.
The interview is only part of the ‘interview’. The employer will be judging you on all fronts, everything in your CV, cover letter and the Agency’s recommendation of you. Any communication they have with you, by email, SMS, phone, skype etc will be judged. Most employers these days will also check social media to find out more about you and if you could be suitable to work for them. Beware! Some of your photos on Facebook might not portray you as the clean-cut, reliable, straight-laced person they are looking for 😉 Most important here is to check that your profile pictures reflect what you are happy for potential employers to see about you, because even if you hide all other content, usually profile photos can be seen by everyone.
We do not think it is a good idea to change everything on your social media, as ultimately the interview and eventual job will not be successful if you portray yourself as completely different to the person you are. Just be mindful.
The same goes for email and SMS etc. Families will judge everything, did you respond quickly and politely; was your spelling and grammar correct (they might need you to support their children with homework) what do your responses (or lack of) say about you… For example- When you had to change the interview at the last minute did you call as soon as you knew, and provide a good credible explanation?
Day/s before the interview. By this point you will have calculated how to travel to the interview location. Always leave plenty of time in case of any unexpected delays. Maybe you can walk around the area a little to form an impression, or grab yourself a coffee at a local café. Arriving on time is essential, not too early (this might inconvenience the employer) and definitely not late. Don’t forget to send a polite but friendly email the day before confirming the date, time and location of the interview and express your interest in meeting the family/ employer.
Plan which clothes to wear and make sure they are laundered and ironed (if necessary). Bear in mind what position you are applying for. If you are going to be their nanny, you need to look the part so that they can envisage you in this role. Dress-code: smart casual. It’s not an office job, so you are not expected to wear a suit but you need a neat appearance. This is not a modelling job or bar job either, so dressing modestly is very important. Similarly most families do not appreciate if a candidate wears too much make up. Simple make up which is not too noticeable is preferred by nanny employers. Appearance is also a taken by families as a sign of caring/ laziness; if you dress shabbily, they will not get the impression that you will take the greatest care of their children and home and the duties of the job. Interviews are very much about impressions!
Be prepared to answer questions which the family is most likely to ask. Think through this before the interview so that you are clear about what you will say. The employer will want to know about your previous nanny / childcare positions, the children you looked after, how long you worked in those positions, your responsibilities and your reason for leaving the position. They will want to know what you are doing at the moment, and why you are interested in the position they are looking to fill. The family will want to know about you as a person, your educational background, your values, your hobbies and interests, any skills and your style of ‘nannying’.
The day of the interview. Be well rested and well prepared. On arrival, introduce yourself with your name, a smile and a handshake. Be guided by the employer, let them take the lead. You may wish to offer to remove your shoes at the entrance; you may even be asked to – so make sure you have appropriate footwear on and/ or clean looking feet!
Speak! As surprising as it might seem, some interviewees say very little during an interview However, this means that the employer will not gain an impression about you and is unlikely to proceed. Despite any nerves make sure you do speak, this is your opportunity to put yourself forward (if YOU cannot recommend you, then how can you expect anyone else to be confident in you 😉 ) No one wants a nanny who does not chat openly and easily and engage properly with children and parents.
Smile and continue to smile; a good nanny will smile and talk to the children and to the parents, they will be looking for this! Few children will warm to an un-smiley nanny!
If you have not understood a question, do ask the employer to repeat the question. If you are not a native English speaker then ask them to speak more slowly.
Ask questions. Most likely, you will naturally have some questions about the position if you are genuinely interested in taking the position. You may want to know about the exact hours of work, or about some of the duties. During the interview the children will also be discussed. If the family does not mention the children’s personalities, interests, quirks etc. then you need to ask about these things. Are the children very shy? (maybe you will be too overbearing for them if you are supremely outgoing) are the children very strong-willed, but you are shy and introverted (then maybe they will be too much for you to handle).
Show interest but don’t be too assuming or give the impression of being over confident. Families find this off-putting and don’t relish the idea of employing someone who rates themselves too highly.
If you do not ask questions about the position or children, it is a signal to the family that you are not really that interested.
It is also fine to have additional questions after the interview which you can email to the family or speak about over the phone.
Whilst it is generally ok to discuss pay, it is not advisable to ask about this as one of your first questions, furthermore asking about pay is better once it has become clear that you have clicked and are considering working together.
Relax to be able to show the family your true personality. Interviews can be ‘scary’ but it is important to show your true personality and employers are not monsters they are just looking for the very best nanny for their children and their family. Don’t forget, interviewing is hard on the families too, they may also be nervous; they have invited you for an interview as they believe you might be suitable as their next nanny. They really want you to be the right person, and it is very important to them that they make the right decision too.
On that note, it is worth empathising, what is the employer looking for? They are looking for someone with an appropriate / good amount of experience and the right personality to care for their children, who are the most important things in the world to them. Families are looking for someone who is above all kind, trustworthy, flexible and who genuinely loves children; someone who is responsible and has lots of energy and creative ideas for caring for their children and furthering their knowledge and education. Families also look for someone who intends to stay with them long term, giving them and the children security and minimal disruption. Families want nannies who their children will love and who will keep their children safe at the same time as having a lot of fun and supporting their learning. Normally, when a family finds a nanny like this, they hold on to them for a long time and usually pay the nanny well to stay with them and to stay happy!
After the interview, once you are home again or the next day, email the family to say how much you enjoyed meeting them. Make this professional but friendly. You may like to ask any question you still have outstanding and you should also offer to answer any questions they have for you.
Good luck! If you need any more guidance, get in touch with the Team at Heavenly.