Be Sure to Discuss These 10 Things With Potential Nannies & Sitters
Sitter Hiring Guide

Be Sure to Discuss These 10 Things With Potential Nannies & Sitters

by Martha Scully

So, you need to hire a nanny or sitter but aren’t sure about where to begin? It can be a tricky and confusing process, but by asking the right questions during the interview process you can ensure you hire the perfect nanny or babysitter for you and your family.

Here are 10 suggestions for topics to bring up during the interview process.


1. Resume/experience

Experience is one of the number one things parents want in a potential nanny or babysitter. Be sure to ask about the nanny’s job experience. Go into detail with any questions that will make you feel more comfortable.

Some questions to ask could include:

  • Why they love being a nanny/babysitter
  • Details about the different jobs they’ve held
  • Why they left their positions
  • Why they want to work for you/with your child
  • Conflicts they’ve had over the course of their babysitting experience and how they resolved them

You may feel like you’re interrogating him/her, but you’re just being thorough – something they would do (or have done) in the best interest of their child. If you’re nervous about this part, include something like “be prepared to speak about past work experience” if you post the job on websites or in local papers. This ensures they are prepared.

Looking for more interview questions?

2.Education

Education is often something that is overlooked when it comes to hiring a nanny or babysitter. Education should be considered, especially if your nanny is expected to assist your children with homework or provide them with learning-based activities outside of school hours or during the summer months. Consider the age and academic level your child and then assess how much education your nanny should have.

3. Availability

Are you looking for a full-time nanny, or just part-time after school help? Be sure to be upfront about the schedule you expect and ask your nanny or babysitter when they are available. If possible, a full schedule is good to have (work, school and “on call time”).

4. Salary expectations

You should do research to determine the going rate in your area for the type of care you want. Here are some useful articles to start:

During the hiring process, you should have this conversation as early on as possible. Making sure you and your nanny are on the same page when it comes to compensation is important so that you don’t waste their time, or yours.

If the salary expectations of your nanny differ greatly from what you had in mind, let them know you’ll think on it. Perhaps there is a review schedule that you can revisit every 6-12 months that would factor in a performance raise or bonus. This would help to keep both parties happy.

5. References

This may seem obvious, but references are very important and can make or break when it comes to hiring the right nanny for your family. If your nanny comes equipped with written reference letters, that’s great – it shows they are prepared. However, you also may want to have an open conversation with some of their contacts. This will allow you to ask more candid questions and go into more detail should you wish.

Tip: Child care worker references should always be related to working with children. A great reference from Walmart does not reflect on how well they can handle a nanny job Be sure to ask the reference if they would hire the nanny again.

For everything you need to know about nanny references read:

6. Qualifications and certifications

Are there any certifications or courses you require your nanny to have completed? Be sure to be upfront about these in your ad or at the first interview. You can also consider giving your nanny a timeframe to complete the courses/certifications if they haven’t already done so. Some certifications to consider could include:

  • CPR
  • First aid
  • Babysitting courses
  • Infant care training
  • Lifeguard/swimming training
  • Driver’s license
  • Cooking and nutrition

Be sure to identify any certifications or training that are a requirement for the job. If a sitter does not have a specific certificate you’d like, consider offering to pay for the training if she is willing to do it.

More information on Sitter Certifications:

7. Background check

Although you can probably assume that your nanny doesn’t have a criminal record, you should always ask for a background check. This is a fairly standard practice when it comes to any work with children – in the public sector or privately – so it shouldn’t be an issue for your nanny to provide one.

For more information about what the background checks we recommend and how to do them read:

8. Weaknesses and soft spots

Asking a potential sitter or nanny about their weak spots, pet peeves and more can be a great idea. Listen closely to their answers, and don’t let them say “nothing” gets to them – everyone has a kryptonite. It’s a strength to know where your weaknesses and opportunities lie, it shows self-awareness. Soft spots are another good thing to inquire about. What gets to them? What makes them back down from a fight? What tugs at their heartstrings? How do they feel about additional duties like cleaning, cooking, and laundry? These are all things that can also help the two of you when it comes to communicating about your child.

9. A trial session with your child

You wouldn’t buy a car without test driving it first, or purchase a home without attending an open house, right? The same goes for choosing a nanny or babysitter. It’s important that your child have a connection with their nanny or babysitter if they’re going to be spending extended periods of time together.

Invite any potential hires to spend an evening (or a couple of hours) in your home. Give the caregiver and your child some space. This lets both the children and the sitter relax and start to get to know each other. It will also allow for more candid and open responses when you ask your child about their time with the nanny. Be sure to ask open-ended questions so that your child gives honest answers without prompting.

For more info on Trial Days Check out:

10. Pets

Do you have pets? If so, you’ll want to ensure that your sitter is comfortable around pets and looking after them (if this is in your contract). When you arrange for your sitter to have a trial with your child, make sure they also meet any of your furry family members as well.

Conclusion

In the end, you need to go with your gut when it comes to choosing a caregiver for your child. These guidelines can ensure you’ve got all the right information to make the most educated decision, but it’s important that you’re 100% comfortable with the end result.



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About the Author
Martha Scully
Martha is the founder of CanadianNanny.ca. Martha has been featured as a Child Care Expert in hundreds of publications across Canada including The Globe and Mail, CBC, Today's Parent and The National Post, She lives in British Columbia with her husband and two daughters.