Let’s be clear. I do not work for the CIA, FBI, or the Secret Service. I am a mom who is relentless about providing the best care for all kids. About seven years ago, I had a beautiful baby girl. As a working mom with a newborn child, I didn’t realize how fast maternity leave flies by. I was forced to quickly determine the best care for my child upon returning to work and My Good Nanny, a site for matching families with the perfect caregiver, was born.
Many people know the importance of hiring the best help for their child. In my humble opinion, it is one of the most important decisions a parent will make, especially when you return to work and you don’t have any family support nearby. As a result, I wrote the book “50 Parent Commandments” to help parents with this daunting task. “50 Parent Commandments” provides simple yet effective tips for hiring and retaining a nanny. Here I want to help you get the most out of the candidate interview by sharing six tips that we help you get the details you need to make the best decision for your child and family and hire like a spy……
- Targeting: Select at least three potential candidates who have the key qualities that you are looking for in a childcare provider. Talking to every applicant wastes a lot of time. Use a reputable agency to research your targets and develop a realistic list of possible candidates. Once you narrow your list to three candidates, obtain official background checks and references.
- Rapport: The better the initial relationship you establish with your potential candidate, the more likely it is that she will share inside details. Start with “Let me tell you something about my kids,” and then see her reaction to your comment. Be open and welcoming.
- Listen: One of the things my father always told me is, “If you are talking then you are not listening. If you are not listening, then you are not learning.” As a potential employer, you must take the time to ask questions, and take the time to listen to the answers. Interruptions by you should be kept to a bare minimum. Fewer interruptions allow the candidate to explore the answers to your questions. Listen carefully to each response. Remember, the devil is in the details.
- Thou Shalt Not Judge: Interviewing is a time to gather information, not a time to judge the information and react. If you ask the potential nanny about the time she felt really happy and she starts telling you about the time she quit her job without giving two week’s notice because she found her passion in life and wanted to travel the world, do not judge and react immediately. It doesn’t mean you will hire her, but you have to be open to other people’s perspectives and candidness to your set of questions. Take time after the interview to think about each answer and then hire accordingly.
- Interview in person: One of the reasons I really like a live interview instead of a phone interview is that when you see someone live and direct, you see so much more than words can ever convey. Parents should schedule time if possible to meet the candidate in person. In 50 Parent Commandments, I expand on this point and emphasize the strength in making eye contact and seeing the emotion on their faces and the responses to your questions and/or children.
- Planning: Here is My Good Nanny’s signature guide to planning an interview. You should use 30 minutes to prepare questions ahead of time, 30-60 minutes to conduct the live interview and 30 minutes to document and discuss the interview. Documentation should happen immediately after the interview. Remember coming to an interview unprepared is disrespectful to yourself and the potential candidate.
For more tips and information regarding hiring and keeping a nanny, please check out 50 Parent Commandments on Amazon. Please share your thoughts about hiring nannies and babysitters. I love to hear from you.
Tosi Ufodike is the Founder of My Good Nanny, the leading nanny agency for bi-lingual nannies, babysitters, and elderly care providers. Visit her at www.mygoodnanny.com.