What questions should you be asking?

Employing a nanny or manny is very different to employing anybody else because it’s business but at the same time it’s personal. In many examples they not only become indispensable but also go on to be an integral part of the family. Due to this, interviewing your potential employees is one of the most important things you will do.

At Manny & Me we have honed our interview process so that we gain a great insight into each individual whilst at the same time asking probing questions designed to challenge them about their ideas on the role of the nanny and manny.

Now each family is different and will therefore have different needs and requirements, so tailoring your interview questions is very important. As parents, you know your children best so you need to think about the key points that need exploring in relation to this. Do your children have specific needs?

To begin with, I would make sure you have a copy of their CV in front of you. Before the interview, I would recommend going through it and highlighting key areas for questioning, for example, past work experiences and hobbies/interests. This ensures you’re fully prepared and also shows the manny/nanny that you are serious about them as a candidate.

In terms of questioning, I always think a good place to start are the “Get to know you” questions. “Where are you from?” “What are your passions?” If they say “travelling”, find out where they have been and what they enjoyed doing there. These questions provide a lot of depth to a person and help you to gain an understanding of what sort of topics they may talk to your children about.

At the same time, it is important to know where to draw the line as legally there are certain questions that cannot be asked. Questions regarding whether the nanny is intending to have children, their sexual orientation, their age and their religion are prohibited.

Following on from the “Get to know you” questions, I think it’s important to ask about their relevant work experience. Ask about the company they worked for, their roles and responsibilities and also why they left. Pay close attention to the time period they spent at each job (if they were there for a long time it usually means they were doing something well). If I go through a CV and find that an individual worked for a family for 5+ years then this is a massive positive for us.

The final topic for questioning centres around what the individual can bring to the job you are advertising. “What do you think makes a good manny/nanny?” “What specific skills can you bring to the job?” “What do you enjoy about working with children?” If you have particularly lively children that are still learning how to make better choices with their behaviour, then maybe more specific questions could be appropriate “What behaviour management strategies would you use if my child was being particularly naughty?” This section of questions really ties the interview up and gives you a complete picture of the individual, and hopefully by this point you have made a decision whether you want to invite them back for a trial day/period.

At Manny & Me we make it our responsibility to contact referees to not only verify that the individual not only worked at that particular place but also so they can give us a brief summary of the individual’s work history. We also make sure that every individual is DBS checked so that you need only focus on the interview process.

This Huffington Post article has an extensive list of interview questions you can choose from or adapt to suit your needs. Not all of them will be appropriate to you but there are certainly several questions which are essential.