Interviewing for a Nanny Job: Asking the Right Questions

Two women sitting at a desk, one looking at her laptop screen and the other jotting down notes

You got your first nanny interview for a new job. You know kids love you, so you're confident you’ll make a good impression. 

But a nanny interview is still a job interview. You'll need to impress the family. They'll be looking to see that you're reliable, caring, and dependable.

Once you impress them, then you can show off your hilarious Peppa the pig impression and awesome hide and seek skills. 

Different types of nanny interviews

Each stage of the interview process requires a different type of interview. A phone interview is an ice breaker. It gives you a better sense of each other and an idea of what the job entails. 

An in-person interview is much more involved. It’s a chance to gauge a family’s needs and see if you have the same childcare philosophy. The last step, a nanny trial, gives you hands-on experience in someone’s home. 

Phone nanny interviews

A phone interview is usually shorter than other interviews. You’ve impressed someone enough that they want to have a conversation to learn more about you.  

The phone interview is to get any “deal breakers” out of the way. It’s also a good time to ask about the hiring process and when you can expect to hear back from the family post-interview.

Remember, first impressions are important at this phase. Showing up on-time shows your commitment and reliability. 

Find a quiet spot where you’re guaranteed privacy to show your professionalism. You want the family to hear you, not your roommate’s music or your barking dog.

Questions to ask the family in a phone interview:

  • What is the range of pay for the position?
  • Is this position short-term or long-term?
  • Are you looking for a live-in or live-out nanny?
  • What are the start and end dates for this position?
  • What kind of hours are you looking for?
  • Do you expect your nanny to have a car? Or will you provide a vehicle?
  • Are you looking for a nanny share?
  • Is this a W2 job? (As a nanny, you’re considered an employee, not an independent contractor.)

Video and/or in-person nanny interviews

If the initial conversation goes well, they’ll invite you for another interview. 

Be prepared to answer questions about your work history and what sets you apart as a nanny. Rehearse your answers with a friend. 

Arrive at the interview with an updated resume and a list of questions. Bring a notebook and pen to write down the answers. 

Questions to ask for an in-person and/or video interview

About the children

  • What are the names and ages of the children?
  • Do any of them have special needs or medical requirements?
  • Tell me about a day in the life of your nanny? 
  • What are their sleep, wake, and nap schedules?
  • Do your children have hobbies and special interests?

About the parents

  • Tell me about your family?
  • What do you do for work? 
  • Do you work remotely? Will you return to an office post COVID?
  • How consistent is your work schedule?
  • If you have a schedule change, how far ahead do you know about it?
  • How do you spend time with your kids?
  • Do you have a specific parenting philosophy?
  • How do you discipline your kids? (Discipline styles vary. If you have a different approach to discipline, share it with them and gauge their response.)

About job expectations

  • What are the job responsibilities?
  • Does the job have benefits? Can you tell me more about them?
  • Is there housekeeping involved? If so, how much?
  • Who’s responsible for meal planning and grocery shopping?
  • Are there any pets? If so, what are the expectations?
  • What traits are most important in a nanny for your family?

About the schedules

  • How closely does your family stick to your schedule? Do you encourage spontaneous outings or prefer that your kids stick to a routine?
  • How often do you like to communicate with your nanny?
  • What’s the backup plan for when a nanny gets sick?

About their nanny history

  • Have you ever hired a nanny?
  • Why did they leave?
  • What were the best traits about your last nanny?
  • What were some problems with your last nanny?

Nanny trials

If the in-person interview goes well, the family may ask you to complete a nanny trial or “working interview.” This means you’ll spend time in someone’s private home and take care of the kids like it’s a regular workday. 

If the family doesn’t request a nanny trial, you should. It will give you a much better sense of the job and the responsibilities. 

Questions to ask during a nanny trial interview

  • When can we sit down to draft up a contract?
  • How will I be paid? Will you use a payroll service?
  • How do you handle over-time?
  • What about sick days and vacation time?
  • Do you ever require after-hours work?

Questions for live-in nannies

  • What accommodations does the job come with? If I'll be in the same house, how do you ensure privacy?
  • How will the kids know when I’m working and off? 
  • Do you cover moving costs? 
  • Can I have guests over? If yes, any rules about how long?
  • Can I access the pool/hot tub/workout room when I’m not working?
  • How do holidays work? Do I take vacation the same time as you do? Am I expected to come on vacation with you?

Following up after an interview

 When the interview is over, be patient. A family is likely interviewing with other candidates as well. They also need time to discuss the top candidates and next steps.

If the family asks for references, show them how reliable and proactive you are by sending them along. Include a note about how you enjoyed meeting them. 

If you haven’t heard back in a week, it’s reasonable to send them a message asking if they’ve decided about the role. 

If all goes well, the next step will be a nanny contract to set clear expectations about the position. Consider nanny payroll too. It ensures you get paid on time and makes things easier during tax season. 

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