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Mar 17

Interview Questions for Canadian Nannies – In-Person Interview

The first question we get often asked is where should the in-person interview be held with your potential nanny or babysitter? The answer is of course! You need to have a good idea and especially a good feel for the person that will take care of your kids. Having the sitter come to your house is an excellent opportunity to see how she interacts with your family members, pets, etc. You might want to wait until the weekend so you won’t be pressed for time between dinner, bath time, etc. Unless you are concerned that she might be scooped up by another employer, then schedule the in-person interview as soon as possible!

Hopefully you will have had the opportunity to interview the nanny over the phone . Then you can confirm your first impressions that you made over the phone, clarify certain points and ask more in-depth questions. You can proceed the in-person interview much in the same manner as the phone interview by starting with a job description. Since you are in the house, you can go in more detail by actually walking them through the steps of a typical day and show them where things are, ex. cups and plates. This is a good time to explain special needs such as allergies, medication, etc.
The goal of the in-person interview is to get the sitter to reveal as much as possible about him/her self so any nanny interview question should focus on that. Review their references and work experiences with them and get them to talk.

  • How old were the children in their last job and what duties did they perform?
  • What did they like or dislike about their last job?
  • If the sitter is younger, ask them questions about their family life.
  • Do they have siblings?
  • What are they studying at school?
  • What are their favourite subjects?
  • You might also try broaching more sensitive topics. Are there holes (months or years where the sitter was not working) in the resume that you would like to discuss?
  • Why are the references all from the same ethnic background?
  • Does the sitter have children of their own?
  • Where will her children be while they are taking care of your children? One of our clients realized that the sitter had to leave at a specific hour to be home when her child got back from school. The only problem was that neither of the parents would be home from work by then!

Finally, is your spouse also participating in the interview? Excellent! He/she can help by either sitting in the interview and watching for non-verbal cues or by minding the children so you can conduct the interview in peace. Or perhaps you prefer to reverse the roles? This is best decided by you both as you know each other’s strengths and weaknesses and your family situation.

After an in-person interview, you will know if this is the nanny for you. If it is, start discussing salary and benefits.