Last week we talked about promoting yourself as a nanny. Once you’ve spread the word that you’re a fantastic nanny looking for an amazing family to work with, the calls and messages will start coming. But, you’re not hired yet. You have to get ready for the test run…
Here are the 3 keys to winning your interview:
Plan ahead. Before you even go to the interview, print off your contract and medical consent form. You can use your contract as a guide to make sure you know exactly what this job will look like. The medical consent form shows them you are responsible and thinking ahead already. You will also want this signed at the same time as your contract, so it’s a good idea to bring it to the interview, so they can look it over.
You can also prepare for the interview by thinking about what you are going to say, what they might ask and practice self-control in what you talk about.
“Don’t tell them until after the wedding!”
“Oh no! That’s for the second date.”
“I wouldn’t lead with that if I were you.”
Have you ever felt like you just want to be an open book? Have nothing to hide? Tell them everything?
Me too! All of my friends will tell you that I love to say everything that comes to mind. They will also tell you that they have to “save me from myself” multiple times a day. 😑
This can be true at times. Speaking without thinking may lead to you saying too much about yourself, someone else, or unintentionally suggest that you can’t keep information private.
Sometimes, you put a comma where you should have put a period.
There is a time to speak and a time to remain silent, but when is it? There are some things you should mention in your bio or on your posts. Then, there are other things you should save for a phone call or during the interview. Last, there are some things you should simply keep to yourself.
Some quick ones:
Do tell them about your experience – tell them about the jobs you’ve had that have prepared you to be a great nanny. Tell them about all of the amazing things you’ve learned from experienced nannies (or their blogs). Tell them about the safety education you have, such as your CPR and First-Aid training and certification. Make sure to bring copies of important documentation as well (Certifications, Resume, Cover letter, Background check, etc)
Do be honest – If someone asks whether or not you have a clean driving record, don’t lie about that. Be honest about it and work through whatever blemishes may appear in any of your records or background checks. Don’t lie to them. Don’t tell them you have experience that you don’t actually have.
It is also good practice to be prepared for questions that the family may ask:
- “Why do you like being a nanny?”
- “Have you ever faced an emergency on the job? How did you handle it?”
- “If you were watching the kids today, what sort of fun things would you do with them?”
- “How do you plan on handling fits and tantrums?”
Don’t emphasis your insecurities – Don’t detail what you feel is a lack of experience. We are all our own worst critics. Don’t bad-mouth a past employer or family that you’ve worked with.
Don’t focus on what YOU get out of the relationship – Don’t emphasize how much money you want to make or your strict schedule. Don’t focus on the “freedoms” you’ll have or the amount of time you will have to “relax” during the day.
Your future families want to know what value you will be bringing. They want to know that your primary focus will be their most valuable possessions.
Basically, remember to be honest and stay positive.
Every family that you interview with is different and if you have many interviews all coming up at once, make sure to review each family’s profile before leaving your house. You can also look back through your conversations with them. This will give you an idea of what the interview will be like. You can also start filling in your contract template before you leave the house. This will help you keep in mind the questions you’ll need to ask them.
One thing that many nannies and families don’t realize is that the interview is as much of an examination of the nanny as it is an examination of the family. Families use the interview to screen their potential nanny. Nannies need to be using the interview in the same way, to screen the family they will be working with. It’s during this time that you can really show off your professionalism by:
1.) looking for any red-flags and seeing if this relationship will be a good fit, and
2.) identifying a family’s key preferences that you’ll need to incorporate into your nannying routines while adjusting your prices accordingly.
When a family sees that you are taking control of the interview by asking questions, they gain confidence in your ability to care for their child. This will also serve as a way to filter out families who will want to boss their nanny around, rather than hire a nanny to help them.
Make sure to:
- Be on time (Plan to arrive 5 minutes early. Something always comes up!)
- Greet them with a handshake
- Smile and stay positive
- Be energetic & enthusiastic (this often comes across as confidence)
You may also want to play it safe and refer to them as Mr. or Mrs. until they tell you otherwise.
After initial greetings and formalities, go ahead and start the meeting.
Some families, especially the new moms & dads will be prepared with a telephone book sized notepad that have questions and what if scenarios they want to ask you about. That’s great! It means they are dedicated to finding the best and you’ll be able to talk about a variety of situations that may come up.
If the family doesn’t have many questions, or seem to love you right from the beginning, tell them about your contract. Ask them the questions to fill your gaps.
Dress for Success!
Considering the family’s culture is going the extra professional mile. Some cultures are more conservative than others. For the interview, cover all your basis – and skin 😉 I mean this literally. Make sure all of your bits & pieces, as we call them, are covered. Wear a top that comes up high enough, so the babies won’t be looking at you for their mid-afternoon snack. Your shirt should cover your shoulders to respect those more conservative families. I typically wear pants or a maxi skirt on the interview, but if it’s summer, wearing shorts is acceptable. Double check, though, that you can bend over without showing anything out of the top or bottom. I generally wear shorts that come close to my fingertips as a reference.
Remember that you want to be comfortable. Your interview outfit should represent what you will be wearing once you’re hired. So, dress like you already have the job. Dress comfortable for rolling on the ground, jumping up and down and bending over all day. What might this include?
What to Wear:
- Clean jeans without holes and rips
- A solid or printed shirt (no logos or sayings)
- Comfortable, closed toed shoes
- Slacks or other dress pants that still allow you to play with children
- A button-down shirt (don’t be afraid to choose a fun pattern!)
- Simple jewelry
- Simple, daytime makeup
What Not to Wear:
- Short shorts (or cut offs)
- A skirt (unless it’s long & flowy)
- Tops that reveal mid-drift, cleavage
- No spaghetti straps
- Muscle shirts
- Anything that will restrict your movement (playing with toddlers can get wild)
- Anything with stains, holes
- Strong scents
- Basically anything you weren’t allowed to wear in middle school
I know, when the day comes for your interview, you may be excited and forgetful, but please…
take a shower and put on antiperspirant.
We all know how sweaty we can get on an interview. Being clean, with dried and brushed hair (or not for my fellow curly-haired people out there), brushed teeth are essential to landing any job.
Act Like You Already Have the Job! – Introverts too!
The world is built for extroverts.
When you are looking for any job, you want to do your best to stand out from the other applicants. It’s no different in the nannying world. Be outgoing! Being friendly and conversational can go a long way. Putting the family at ease and showing them how comfortable you are in their element can give them a sense of what it will be like once you are a part of their family. Being happy and energetic is perfect for working with kids! Families want to make sure you are up to the challenge of chasing their little ones around and keeping them entertained all day.
“But what if I’m not outgoing and conversational?”
If you aren’t a naturally bubbly person, here’s what you do. Save all of your energy for your interview and try to do only one a day. Being introverted isn’t a bad thing. In fact, being an introvert will work to your benefit when it comes to not saying too much too soon.
To stand out as a nanny, it’s all about your personality and what experience you bring to the table. So, what you lack in experience, make up for in a personality that matches the family you want to work with. Ask lots of questions to show you’re interested in the family and the kids. This will do two things.
1.) It will show them that you are a caring, attentive person &
2.) it will save you from having to talk more than you’re comfortable with.
You can also spend some time holding and cooing at the baby or playing with the kids. Act like you already have the job. This will let the parents see that even though you don’t say much to them, you are great with kids and would thus be great at your job.