As a nanny looking for a job, you are likely to need to go on several interviews and meet with new families face to face. Therefore, it is extremely important to stay safe when you are setting up and going to a nanny interview and meeting people for the first time. Remember that a nanny interview is different from other job interviews in that you will likely be going to someone’s private home rather than a business location. Overall, it is important to keep your safety in mind while still being open to having a positive experience. What follows are safe interviewing tips for a nanny position.
Trust Your Instincts
If you are going to work as a nanny, then you probably already have pretty good instincts about people in general. Therefore, if you are setting up a nanny interview and something doesn’t feel quite right when you are talking to the family on the phone or via email, stop the process right there and look elsewhere for a job. It isn’t worth the risk to continue with the situation if you feel like your safety might be compromised, or even if you just don’t feel like the position is going to be best for you. There is nothing wrong with cancelling a nanny interview at any point.
Keep People Aware
Always let someone else – a friend or a family member – know where you will be and at what time you will be there. Leave information such as the address of the family’s home or the location where you will be meeting, the time the nanny interview will be starting, and the time you expect to be finished. Take your cell phone with you, if you have one, and make sure others have the number so they can call you.
Bring Someone with You
If you would feel uncomfortable going to a first nanny interview alone, take a friend or family member with you. They can wait in the car or, if the family agrees ahead of time, they can come in. Honest families looking for a nanny will appreciate your attention to safety and will likely agree to allow your friend to sit in with you.
Ask for References
You are entitled to ask the prospective family for references before or during your nanny interview. These can be from a previous nanny or from other household help. They could also be professional references from one or both parents’ employers. In this case, it is better if you can call the references and speak to them directly rather than just have a conversation through email.
Perform a Background Check
For a small fee, you can run a background check on one or both parents before your nanny interview. From this you can learn a great deal about the family and you can judge whether they are legitimately looking for a nanny and if they will be a safe family with which to work. If you are being hired by a single father, you may also want to check the National Registry of Sex Offenders (www.nsopr.gov) just for peace of mind.
Use All of Your Resources
Sometimes the simplest things can give you the most information. Before your nanny interview, go online and search for the family’s name – you may find out some interesting and helpful information, both good and bad. You can also do more in-depth searches about the family, the address where they live, the professions of the parents, and more. Take note of anything that concerns you, and either discontinue the hiring process or make notes to ask questions.
In addition, check online nanny listing sites to see if the family has a profile. If they do, you can gather more information from what they have included in their profile. Does the tone of the profile sound friendly or professional? Does the tone instead sound confrontational or difficult? Gather as much information as you can about the nanny position from what the family has made available.
Choose an Appropriate Location
If you do not want to go to a family’s home for the first nanny interview for any reason, you can request that you instead meet in a more public area, such as a restaurant or a shopping mall. You can then set up a second nanny interview at the family’s home at a later time. The fact is that you are a stranger to the family as much as they are strangers to you, so they may appreciate your concern and caution. This step may not be necessary, but it is good to keep your options open.
At your nanny interview, remember that you will be working closely with this family as their nanny. Therefore, don’t be afraid to ask questions about the family and to listen carefully to their answers. If you feel uncomfortable about any of their answers, or if they hesitate before giving you some information, then you may want to reconsider working as their nanny.
The first time that a nanny candidate meets with a family for a new job can be exciting and enjoyable, but it is always important to put safety first. If you are careful about who you are meeting and where you are meeting them, you can ensure that you will be comfortable and safe. Then, you can focus the nanny interview on asking the important questions about the job and learning more about the family with whom you will be working as you begin to form a relationship that hopefully will last for many years to come.
About the Author
Steve Lampert is the president of eNannySource, an online nanny agency that brings together families and nannies. Lampert previously ran a successful, award-winning nanny agency in a major city for over 10 years, during which time he worked with thousands of families and nanny candidates. Through this experience, he became familiar with the important steps in a nanny search, which he continues to apply to his business today. To learn more, please visit www.enannysource.com.