There is nothing more important than the safekeeping of our children. So it’s surprising how haphazard the hiring process can be for babysitters, nannys and other in-home childcare professionals. Take time to plan your interview with a potential caregiver and listen carefully to what he or she may tell you.
Here are some obvious and not-so obvious questions that are important to ask:
1. Why do you want to care for my child? (Seems obvious…but you may be surprised by what you hear.)
2. What is your family like? (You want to look for someone who shares family values with you. If you have a large family, you want someone who understands and can handle that dynamic.)
3. What makes you happy? How do you like to spend your free-time? (This will also tell you a good deal about fit. If your family is rugged and outdoorsy, it may be challenging to have a “bookworm.”)
4. How is your driving record? (If driving is required.)
5. Do you have CPR/First Aid Training?
6. Can you swim?
7. How would you spend tomorrow with my child(ren) if it was your first day?
8. Can you provide references? (Always ask for at least three references. Ask for references from former employers and established institutions like a school or church. Call the references to ask follow-up questions. )
Take note of what questions the prospective caregiver asks of you. You want someone who is most interested in the needs of your child and your expectations for working together. Beware of someone who is interested primarily in salary and vacation time.
Make sure to communicate job expectations before hiring your child’s caregiver…cooking, cleaning, driving. You want to ensure a good match. It is much better to take the time upfront to find the right person.