Interviewing a nanny - the In-Person Interview

Interviewing a nanny is the cornerstone of the recruiting process. It should be the next step after a phone interview and it should allow you to make your final decision about the candidate.

Verification of references and background checks should then be the last steps before you sign a contract.

Nanny interview location

The first question we often get asked is where the in-person interview should take place? We recommend having it in your home. Inviting the sitter to your house is an excellent opportunity to see how he/she interacts with your children, other family members, pets. You might want to wait until the weekend so you won’t be pressed for time between dinner, bath time, etc.

Topics to cover and interview questions

Ideally, you will already have interviewed the sitter over the phone. The in-person interview will help you confirm your first impressions, clarify certain points and ask in-depth questions. You can lead the in-person interview much in the same manner as you did for the phone interview by starting with describing the job requirements. Since you are on-site, in the house, you can be very specific by actually walking the candidates through a typical day and showing them where things are, i.e. children rooms, toys, clothes, etc.... 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 nanny to reveal as much as possible about him/her self. 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?
  • If applicable, what are they studying at school?
  • What are their hobbies?
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 his/her children be while they are taking care of your children?

Finally, is your spouse also participating in the interview? Excellent! He/she can help by either sitting in the interview or watching for non-verbal cues or by minding the children so you can conduct the interview in peace.

Once the interview is over, you will know if the candidate is the right nanny for you. Proceed with personal reference checks and validation of criminal background check.

Paulina Podgorska
Founder of

Like most women, Paulina wears many hats.  She is a mother, she is an entrepreneur, she is an at home child care expert.  This vocation manifested at an early age when she started being a full time nanny for her baby brother.  Later on, she used her experience to work as a babysitter while in college.  She then became a Mom and started to look for child care providers. Being a single mother, finding the right at home baby sitter was critical to her.  This quest for the perfect nanny gave her the opportunity to meet and work with numerous nannies and  babysitters and further develop her expertise. Realizing that finding the right nanny or babysitter turned too often into an obstacle course, Paulina created, an on line service where parents and local in-home sitters connect, that’s fast, efficient and affordable. Through, Paulina leverages her expertise to help families find the local help they need, when they need it.  The site gives parents the opportunity to use their own criteria to search through a large database of detailed profiles of local nannies and babysitters that have been reviewed by mothers. Paulina also has a blog where she shares advice to help families through the selection and hiring process of a babysitter or nanny.  She also describes on her blog her adventures as a mom entrepreneur and founder of SOSsitter.

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