Nanny Interview Questions: Hire a Caregiver You Can Trust

Published April 13, 2021
Child smiling near mother and babysitter at home

Hiring a caregiver for your children is one of the most important decisions that a parent can make because a great nanny is worth more than gold. Nannies often wear numerous hats in the absence of a parent, loving, feeding, teaching, and protecting their charges with every fiber of their being. Choosing the perfect person is daunting, and a solid checklist packed with helpful nanny interview questions can help parents navigate the process more fluidly.

Nanny Interview Questions Printable

If you're someone who likes to have a written document to assist in the interview, this printable can help keep you on track. If you need help downloading it, check out the Guide for Adobe Printables.

Nanny Interview Checklist

Considerations Before You Dive Into Nanny Interview Questions

Interviews can be stressful and uncomfortable for many interviewers and interviewees. Keep these ideas in mind to set everyone up for interview success.

  • Hold a phone conference first. Take this time to introduce your family, children's ages, personalities, pets, and dynamics.
  • Ensure you and the potential nanny are on the same page regarding position basics. Get salary, hours, location, and any necessary time commitments over and done with. The last thing anyone wants is to score a dream nanny and have plans blundered by miscommunications.
  • If all systems are a go, proceed with a face-to-face interview with potential candidates. In the next round, parents can better focus on more specific nanny questions.

Background Based Questions

Get to know this person. They could very well become an integral part of your family unit very soon.

  • Why have you chosen to work in the field of childcare?
  • What are your future goals and aspirations (is this a stepping stone to other professions, or is being a nanny their life's passion?)
  • What do you like to do in your free time? Perhaps the nanny's hobbies will be a great fit for your children! What a bonus that would be.
  • Is their availability set to the nanny-working hours, or are they available on evenings and weekends? What do the outside work hours look like?

Education and Experience Based Questions

Does your nanny really know her stuff? Find out just how deep that resume is!

  • What is their educational background? Did the potential hire attend a higher education institution or load up on child development or education courses? Do they have other interesting areas of expertise such as art, culinary, or yoga?
  • Are they certified in CPR or first aid? If not, would they consider taking those courses?
  • How many years have you nannied or worked in childcare? Don't forget to ask for references! Give former families a ring and see what they have to say.
  • In addition to childcare, did you perform any other duties in previous homes? Some nanny candidates will stick to only caring for kids, while others will be open to cooking and light housekeeping.
  • How many children have you watched at one time? This is great for families with several kids and families whose kids like to entertain friends in the home. Parents will want their kids' friends safe and cared for as well.
  • Are you comfortable leaving the home with children? What types of excursions have you embarked on in prior job placements?
  • What is your comfort level and experience with babies, toddlers, school-aged, or preteens? Tailor this question to your own family.
  • If dietary preferences or restrictions exist in your home, ask the potential nanny's thoughts on this. Can they handle what you are asking of them?
Woman and child in kitchen, preparing food

Child-Centric Philosophy Questions

Everyone has their own thoughts and views on what makes a child thrive. Your nanny likely has his or her own ideas about how to best help raise your kids. Find out what their philosophies are.

  • How would you describe your childcare philosophy and why? Structured? Free-roaming? Explore-based? Authoritative? Best buds approach? There is no right answer, but parents will want to choose a caregiver who has similar philosophies as they do.
  • What levels of discipline are you comfortable with? Again, make sure their views on discipline and comfort level with measures align with your own.
  • What kid-centered activities do you value most? Is the nanny more apt to cuddle up and read with your kids for hours, head out to museums and parks, get active and ride bikes, and hike or dive headfirst into art projects galore? If you hate glitter and glue and want your children outside for most of the day, listen to your prospective nanny's thoughts on possible activities closely.
  • Describe a perfect day with the children. What would you do? Where might you go (if anywhere?) How might you structure time? Consider all the kids in the family. Does the proposed day check all the boxes? Will all of your kids get something out of the hypothetical day?

Hypothetical Scenario Questions

Make sure to ask the possible nanny some questions that put her brain to the test! Give her a scenario and see how she might handle it.

  • One of the children goes into meltdown mode, and all the usual tricks don't seem to work. What is your next thought on how to handle this?
  • One child wants to go to the pool for the day, while the other begs to stay home and do crafts and play. How do you navigate this war of wants?
  • A kid suddenly decides to boycott all of his favorite foods. How might you coax him into breakfast, lunch, and dinner? Does the prospective employee veer towards discipline, bribery, or positive reinforcement? Which methods are you comfortable with?
  • Homework time rolls around, and Junior isn't having it. What tips, tricks, and ideas do you have for work time to be beneficial and pleasant?
  • The child suddenly falls ill. What steps do you take at the first sign of illness?
  • How would you handle physical accidents? Give a few scenarios here, from a scraped knee to a head injury. Not all boo-boos warrant the same response.
Focused child learning the alphabet with her nanny

Questions to Shy Away From

Not all questions are fair game. Try to steer clear of these inquiries.

  • Don't ask a person's age.
  • Never question personal preferences like sexual orientation, marital status, or religion.
  • Refrain from asking about racial or ethnic roots and backgrounds.
  • You possibly may not be able to ask about arrests and criminal history in certain states due to Ban-the Box-laws; however, in many states with these laws, this doesn't apply to people working with children, and laws are not in place in all states. Check the laws for your state.

Hiring Is Always a Personal Choice

When it comes to putting someone in your employ, the hiring is entirely your decision based on your personal preferences. What works for one family might not work for another, as values and lifestyle choices vary. In the end, parents must feel comfortable with the choice that they make in choosing their nanny. If they ask the right questions and follow their gut instinct, they will almost certainly end up making a perfect choice.

Nanny Interview Questions: Hire a Caregiver You Can Trust