There are so many things to consider when making the decision to hire a nanny that you can get quite confused. By taking a step-by-step approach and listing all the things you are looking for, the process should be much easier for you. Take the time to think about the type of employee who will best fit into your household. List personality traits, experience, qualifications, and anything else you consider relevant. Follow this list when conducting the interviews you will schedule with each interested candidate. Ask questions that pertain to your requirements, and make note of the answers you receive.
Certainly some things you may want to be on the lookout for are compatibility, communication skills, personality, relevant experience, the awareness of the needs of a young child and their developmental stages of life, and the ability to supervise adequately. You also need to find out what her views on discipline are, and whether this coincides with the way you feel. You certainly don’t want to have her in your home if you have widely varied opinions on how your kids should be brought up, especially if her version of discipline is either too slack or too regimented. There has to be a ‘happy medium’ if things are expected to work.
What are her ideas concerning activities she may be planning for your kids? Are these ideas appropriate for their ages? Will their educational, emotional, and physical needs be taken into consideration when she is planning these activities? It may be a good idea to ask her to give you a sample schedule of the things she may have planned for just one day to make sure you are on the same wavelength. A highly qualified nanny with childcare experience should be able to handle this request quite easily. If she doesn’t seem to have any ideas in mind, or can’t answer the questions to your satisfaction, it may be best to move on to the next potential candidate.
Will she be able to prepare healthy meals for your kids? Does she have knowledge of the nutritional value of certain foods and be willing to make these meals for your children? Is she willing to follow your guidelines concerning snacks that you allow them to have, and those you don’t, or will she allow them to eat anything they please even if it is not something you want them to have? These are legitimate questions that you need to address during the interview, and how she answers them will give you a pretty good idea if this is the nanny you want looking after your kids.
What would her reaction be in the case of an emergency? Will she be able to handle it calmly, or will she panic and not know what to do? Give her an imaginary scenario and see what she states her reaction would be, or how she would handle it. You should be able to judge by her answers whether or not she is telling you the truth, or only what you want to hear. You don’t want your kids put in to a situation where their caregiver panics at the least little thing. You also don’t want to get repeated phone calls at work because she is in a dither about some small occurrence.
Do you feel comfortable talking to her, or is there something you can’t quite put your finger on that bothers you? Trust your instincts as a parent. If she seems too good to be true, she probably is. No one is perfect, and if she tries to portray herself as such, the red flags should be flying. Someone with experience will not be afraid to admit to any shortcomings she may have, and will be open and honest and willing to discuss them with you. This is the nanny you want caring for your kids and running your household when you are not able to be there. Have at least two face-to-face interviews with each applicant before you make your choice, take into consideration everything you have heard and observed, do thorough background check, contact their references, and then decide. Don’t rush into anything just because you are short of time.