The best way to start an interview is with some small talk, a cup of coffee and generally making your candidate feel relaxed.
A rigid or “too business-like” an approach can give the impression that you are not friendly or approachable. New potential employees are easily scared off. They are judging you as you are judging them.

A common pitfall: Please remember not to tell your candidate about your job first. Get her talking and prove for clarification as she speaks, getting a good two-way discussion going at times, but remembering she should be doing most of the talking. Many candidates have lost interest in a job when the potential employer has not given them a chance to talk. Often times, employers get into talking about personal problems, which candidates don’t want to hear about and which possibly damages the image of your opportunity.

Using “open ended” questions will help you obtain descriptive answers rather than “yes/no.” Look for the list of good examples of open ended questions below.

Remember to have adequate care for the children while you are interviewing. A planned activity or a friend/older sibling is helpful. Allowing the children to take your attention away and/or spoil your train of thought will be detrimental to the process. Interviewing takes a great deal of listening and concentration. If your spouse is part of the process make sure the balance of conversation is right. Candidates describe feeling very uncomfortable when one party appears to be scrutinizing without discussion.

Other errors:

Expecting candidates to perform without adequate outline of the expectation. In other words, don’t judge your candidate negatively about her childcare skills if you have not given her the opportunity to have some “mini-bond” time with your children.
Putting her on the defensive to see if she will “crack.”
Rushing an interview, judging without adequate information.
Interviewing in a place like “Chuck-e-Cheese.”
Conducting an interview like you are hiring an administrator.
Choosing a poor environment to interview – office cubicle, for example.
Having someone else interview her because you are busy.

Sample “Open Ended” questions:

Tell me what makes a good nanny, in your opinio
Tells about her philosophy and what motivates her!

What do you do to have a “creative environment” for children?
– Tells about her program and depth of knowledge of child development. Is she young at heart and naturally playful?

What does “discipline” mean to you? What are your methods of disciplining children and why?
– Shows her depth of technical knowledge, her style i.e. autocratic, win/win, compassionate, pushover, reasoning skills, etc.

Tell me about an “unfair or upsetting” situation you have faced in an employment environment. Tell me about your best and worst boss.
– Gives you clues about her work ethic, flexibility, what she considers fair and unfair in job requirements, how she might accept direction and general attitude.

If you had a problem in your job, how would you solve it?
– Shows communication style, confidence or lack there of.

What is the most difficult situation you have had to discuss with your boss?
– Is she a communicator?

If your employer called you at the last moment to say she was going to be three hours late, how would you feel? What would you do and say? If it was a school night for you, what would you do?
– Flexibility, rigidity, and attitude.

Are you the type of person who likes to make decisions? What things do you like to be able to be in control of?
– How self-directed, how much supervision she’ll want?

If you are walking and approach a red light, and there are no cars around, would cross the road or wait till the light turned green?
– A silly/funny question.. clues about authority perhaps?

What do you do in your free time?
– People who have many outside interests are usually happier people!

Tell me about your family and upbringing.
– Style, social background, happy/well adjusted background.

What do you think you need to improve on?
– Goals, direction, self image.

What are you usually praised for by employers?
– Self image/self-esteem.

Why might this job be suitable for you?
– Confidence, enthusiasm, interest level – is she genuine?

This questionnaire has been developed by Execu-Nannies to assist clients in interviewing and evaluation. We hope this is helpful. This form may not be copied and given to other parties. (Copyright: Execu-Nannies)

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