Interview Guidelines for Nannies
The following notes have been written to help you assess and find the right job for you. It is a guide as to how to conduct yourself during an interview and gives an indication of the kinds of questions it is appropriate to ask in order to gain as much information about the position as possible. When going for an interview through Wimbledon Nannies, please also remember that you are representing us as an agency.
The Telephone Call
This is your first point of contact with a prospective employer - do not under-estimate this. The impression you make on the telephone can make all the difference. SOUND POSITIVE AND INTERESTED! You might find it useful to write a list of questions you want to ask before you call. Although Wimbledon Nannies makes every effort to make sure the job description fits the criteria you are looking for, the following gives you an idea of some questions you may wish to ask if you do not already know:
- Is the job sole charge, live-in or out?
- Names of the children, ages and sex
- What hours are there - will you be needed at weekends?
- How often will you be required to babysit approximately?
- Do the duties cover those other than nursery duties (ie. housework or shopping)?
- What date would you need to start?
- The parents' names, jobs and where they work
- Where do they live and what is it like
- What is the salary?
- Is there a car available for you use and what is it?
- What does the accommodation consist of?
- Is there a trial period and if so, how long?
- How many weeks paid holiday will you have?
Don't be afraid to say if it does not sound like the job for you. If you are offered an interview make sure you make a note of their name, address, directions of how to get there and date and time. (If you are travelling a long distance for the interview, the employer may offer to meet your travel costs, otherwise you will be expected to bear the cost yourself.)
What to wear
First impressions count. The way you look reflects the kind of person you are. Wear something comfortable that gives you confidence, and practical - in case you get the opportunity to play with the children. It is probably best not to wear jeans and remember that people notice shoes too.
Make sure you take the following with you to the interview:
- Original copies of ALL your references
- Your CV
- Original qualification certificates
- Driving licence (if you have one)
If you think it will be useful you can note down questions you want to ask and take this with you, you can then also make notes of the things you discuss.
When you go for the interview try to take notice of the area, whether you like it, what facilities it has that will be accessible to you. Take note also what the journey is like if you are going to commute.
Smile when they open the door!
During the interview you will be asked lots of questions, answer these honestly and not with one-word answers. Talk about your experiences when relevant and show initiative. If you are left with the children at any time, talk to them and play with them - you will be able to find out what they are like and create a good impression at the same time.
It is important that you ask questions as well as answer them. Make sure you are clear about everything that is being said and don't be afraid to ask for things to be clarified if you're not sure what is being said. Remember that you will have to work closely with these people and decide whether you like and feel comfortable with them. Be aware of the general atmosphere in the house, how the interview is being conducted and the language being used, this will help to build up a picture of the family and help you decide how well you would fit in.
You should discuss further some of the points raised in your telephone call as well as find out details of the following questions (either by listening to what is said or by direct questions):
- Do the children attend nursery / school / playgroups or other 'clubs'?
- Do the children have an active social life?
- What does the daily routine involve?
- Do any of the children have allergies, special diets, medication or special needs?
- Ask yourself if you like the children / have enough experience to be able to cope with age group or number of children and are you willing and able to provide for their particular interests e.g. horse riding or swimming.
- What do they like to be called?
- Are they used to people working for them i.e. in their jobs?
- How involved do they want to be with the children when they are at home?
- How flexible are they in the daily routine?
- Are there any specific rules about food?
- Do they have fixed ideas about discipline?
- What is their attitude towards educational / social and play activities?
- Is television allowed, if so how much and what programmes?
- Will you be allowed to take the children out and, if so, where?
- Are there any health problems and if so, do they cope well with them?
- What is their attitude towards friends?
- What is their attitude towards boyfriends?
- Ask yourself what they are like with the children - are they fussy / calm / fanatical / relaxed / worried? How do they speak of their last nanny (if they had one) and do they really understand what having a nanny means? Do you like and respect them?
Terms & Conditions
Make sure you clarify the information you received on the telephone and any of the following points which are applicable:
- Use of the car, including petrol and insurance
- Will you have a contract and side letter and what will be included in these?
- What are the house rules?
- How much notice will be given on either side on leaving?
- Do they employ any other staff, e.g. a cleaner?
- If they have pets, will you be required to care for them?
- Will they pay your tax, national insurance and sick pay?
- Do they have any specifications on what you should wear?
- Make sure you understand all the conditions and ask yourself if you are happy to compromise on some of them?
- Ask to see your accommodation if you are to be live-in
- Where else in the house can you go?
- What can you use in the house?
- Is there a garden which is a safe play area?
By the end of the interview you should have a clear idea of what exactly the job will involve and whether you would like it. They may offer you the job on the spot, unless you are absolutely certain you want it, ask to have a little time to think about it. The employer may have other nannies to interview and will let you know of the decision by telephone at a later date, (make sure they have your telephone number and tell them when it is best to call). If you are keen, but they do not offer you the job there and then, try to find an opportunity to make them aware of how you feel.
If at any time you decide that the job is not for you, please let either the employer or the agency know as soon as possible. Please also let the agency know if you accept a job offer. At this point you may also like to join the Wimbledon Nannies contact list, which gives names, telephone numbers and details of charges of other nannies in the area.