Received Wednesday, May 28, 2008 - Perspective & Opinion
These questions should be asked to the nanny, not handed to her.
1) Nanny, tell me about your earliest childhood memory.
2) Nanny what sports do you enjoy?
That is the opening question. Prepare to follow up. If she says soccer, ask her what position she plays and where she plays. If she plays tennis, ask her how often and what her best shot is. Everyone is going to say they play a sport. Follow up. If she roller blades, ask her if she owns a pair of roller blades. Ask her where she got them and how she likes them. If she says she hikes, ask her where. Ask her what she wears to go hiking and how long she usually hikes for and with who.
3) Ask the nanny about her family. Where is her family? What do the other grown children in her family do for a living. Where are her parents. Are they retired, if retired from what. Ask her what she did for Mother’s Day. The tone of all of these questions should reflect a profound interest in her as an individual and not an interrogation.
4) You will have weeded out anyone who smokes on the phone, but ask her again if she smokes. Ask her if she has any objection to having her hair follicles tested for tobacco usage or exposure. Watch her reaction. The last thing you want is someone smoking in your master bathroom with the vent on or being completely on edge because she doesn’t have access to her chosen poison.
5) Study the nanny’s outfit. How is she dressed? If it is cold outside, make certain it is warm enough inside for the nanny to remove her coat. Is she wearing appropriate undergarments? Are her clothes clean and neat? Is she overdressed? The nanny should be able to chase a child in the shoes she is wearing and easily sit down on the floor and erect a block castle without splitting a seam. Is her clothing too tight? Perfume too strong? Evaluate all of this.
6) Ask the nanny about arts and crafts. Does she enjoy doing arts and crafts projects? This is essential when children are young. What kind of crafts does she enjoy? Does she create art or crafts projects in her own time? What kinds of things did make with the last family she worked for. Get details. You need to assess the creative energy she is bringing to the table. The last thing you want is someone who can barely follow the directions on an Alex Craft kit.
7) Bath time. Ask the nanny how she would handle bath time for your child. This is relevant whether the child is 10 months of 5 years. If there are other children in the home, ask her what the other children would be doing or where they would be.
8) You should have weeded out all of those who were NOT r and First Aid certified, now ask to see those licenses as well as nanny’CPR driver’s license and social security card. Make a copy of all of them. Ask nanny if she has ever had an emergency with a child. Ask for specifics. Ask about how she has cared for sick children in her care. What did they have? What did she do for them? How did she dispense medication? Did she take the child to the doctor? Pick up the
prescription? What would the sick child do all day long? What are the signs of an earache? How does nanny take a child’s temperature? Does she know to add a degree to an axillary taken temperature?
9) Give her your children’s ages a few hints as to what they will not eat. Ask her what she would prepare for each child for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Do not allow her to be evasive. This is a good time to get a sense of her eating habits.
10) Ask the nanny if she would be willing to submit to a physical examination. Ask the nanny if she is currently on any medication. Has she had any surgeries? Has she ever filed for workmen’s compensation? Press for answers by speaking to her with optimism and genuine interest.
11) Ask the nanny for a list of work references. These would ideally be childcare references. Press for details about each of the positions. Is she still in contact with the families. Does she see the children? What was her least favorite part of each job. Every job has a least favorite part. Ask her if you are able to contact each of these references. Ask her if she has ever been fired from a position. Watch her reaction. Was she fired from a nanny job? This should not necessarily
Be a red flag. Many parents and nannies simply have unmanageable personality issues. Nannies have been fired for doing to wonderful a job or getting too close to the children in her care.
12) If you introduce the nanny to the children, study their interaction. The nanny should display genuine interest and ask questions of each of the children. She might ask about favorite toys or games or their rooms. Too much affection is unnatural for both the nanny and a child. Many parents feel they should offer the nanny the chance to hold the baby or that the nanny should ask to hold the child. It is common knowledge among nannies good and bad that parents want you to hold their child. I don’t go in for that. Depending on the age of the child, you could suggest a specific interaction between her and the child. I have had parents tell me they have asked the nanny to change the baby’s diaper. I don’t think that is a good idea and for a number of reasons.
13) General Intelligence must be assessed. Regardless of the age of your children, the nanny should be able to speak, read and write English correctly. The nanny should be able to help any children with mathematics, English, History and any other basic subjects. The nanny need not know trigonometry or Latin. The nanny should comprehend what good study habits are so that she can encourage and foster those in your child. The nanny should know how to use the appliances in the home, comprehend how to double a recipe, understand the dynamics of a family, most importantly your own. You would be surprised how many normally appearing persons you could weed out with one intelligence test.
14) Conduct. Politeness is hard to assess because most people are on their best behavior During an interview. A nanny spends much time with your child and should serve as a role model. Talk to the nanny about this and gage her responses. This is the time you want to discuss the other rules of the home. Is their sibling rivalry? How do you handle it? Has she ever dealt with sibling
rivalry before. Ask her how she teaches children empathy. Is compassion important in your home? Is lying ever tolerated? Children cannot help but become liars when they are lied to. What are the punishments? Give her a few scenarios and ask how she would handle the discipline there of. How was she disciplined as a child? Does she have her own children? How does she discipline them? Ask for an example of loss of privilege.
15) Your pre-screening will have weeded out any non drivers. Inform the nanny that you will conduct a DMV search of her record. Ask her about any accidents or tickets. Ask her when she learned to drive, who taught her how to drive and how many states she had a license in. Inform the nanny that before she is hired, you will need her to do a road test with you so that you
feel safe about her driving your children around.
16) Your pre-screening will have weeded out any non swimmers. Does she have any swimming certifications? If so, take those and copy those. Is she a strong swimmer? Where does she swim? How long has she been swimming? Before any person should ever be left alone with your child in or around a body of water, you must personally assess their swimming ability. The nanny should be able to retrieve objects from the bottom of the deep end. The nanny should also comprehend the danger of pools. If you have a pool, she should inquire about the shut off switch, the lighting, the rules of the pool, the drain cover, etc.
17) Common sense is quite hard to assess. Common sense is essential. This covers all areas of child development. A nanny who reads child development books is desirable. A nanny with an active and ongoing interest in issues related to children is a good bet. But common sense means not leaving a child alone in the bathtub or car for a single second, not suggesting the dryer as a hiding place during hide and seek. Is nanny the type to fall for an Internet scam? Does the nanny have a Myspace of Facebook page. Ask her.
18) Agencies have lengthy applications. Create your own. I rely on a medley of Psychiatric tests. The Rotter Incomplete Sentence Blank (RISB) ,Online
Cognitive Psychology Test, Emotional Intelligence Test , Anger Test, Thematic Apperception Test, etc. As an employer, you should not feel badly about asking a nanny to partake in these tests. Many employees do. Target won't hire someone to work a register without passing their psychological testing, don't you think your child deserves at least that? When you present these to the nanny, you should clearly state, you would like her to answer these questions but she does not have to.
19) The nanny must read. What does she read? What is the last book she read? Zero in on this. Where does the nanny get her news? What sorts of television Does the nanny enjoy on her own time? Are they shows you think she might end up watching on your time? What is the nanny’s favorite childhood story? What is her favorite story to read to a child?
20) After the interview is complete, I send the nanny on her way with a thank you. I immediately telephone her references. I do not accept cell phone addresses and will always ask for a home and or work number for her reference. ( (Phone Validator) ) I block my number when I am calling. I will telephone the reference back and ask them open ended questions. What was your favorite part of having Leeanne work for you? When did she start working for you? Did you provide her annual raises? What was she making when she left? Etc. I will take the reference number I have just spoken to and Reverse Look Up the address of the home. I will also Google the name of the reference and look up their home on GoogleEarth. This helps ascertain whether someone is really a reference or Just a friend or family member. I then verify the nanny’s social security number and certifications she has brought to me. I always make sure to get the nanny’s email address. I Google the nanny and I use her email address to look her up on social networking sites. I review her application materials. I look for spelling mistakes (for which I have no tolerance) and the answers She has given to the test questions. If everything looks good at this point, I contact nanny and let her know that I enjoyed meeting with her and the children really liked her and I feel her out to see if she is interested in joining us. If it sounds like she is, I will pay to have a complete background check completed on her. If this checks out, I will invite her back to spend a day or half day with myself and the children. During this time, I would plan to observe her driving at some point. I thank her and send her home with pay. I ask her to call me later and let me know how she thinks things went. If the Nanny is interested in the job, I make sure she understand the schedule. I make certain she understands what days I am willing to provide to her holidays and vacations. I stress that I am looking for someone who will show up punctually and without fail, excepting only an emergency. I really feel her out on this because it is important to me. If she sounds like she fits the bill, and all checks are clean, I usually send her to my mother’s home where the nanny can demonstrate her swimming abilities in an in home pool, regardless of weather. If that works out well, then I invite her to come and work for us on a trial basis of between 2 weeks to one month.
If you follow all of these steps, you might still end up with a dud. But it is much less unlikely. Just remember you cannot demand respect, you must behave respectably and treat others with respect to be respected. -submitted by "H", longtime ISYN reader and fan