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Begin by reiterating the basic job description and schedule: 

  • "We are seeking a nanny for [insert preferred length of time you need a nanny]. Do you have a preference of contract length?" If you have a newborn/young infant and hope to find a nanny for several years, specify that the contract is a one year agreement that can be renewed annually, rather than asking a candidate to commit the next three years to your family. It is typically not possible to be sure about that. 

  • "We will need a nanny's services for [days of the week/hours per week]. Do you have a preference of start time/end time each day? How many total hours do you want to work per week?" Interview is the time for everyone to be honest & candid about schedule preferences. If you are hiring for full time and a candidate truly only wants to work 30 hours/week, it is best to know now. No surprises. 

  • "We would like a nanny to start on _______. Are you available on or around this date?"

  • "Are you comfortable driving children to activities?"

  • "We will ask a nanny to perform the following childcare-related tasks: (list any tasks such as child's laundry, sanitizing toys once a week, planning a weekly outing, stock diaper bag, changing diaper pail bags,  etc.) Are all of these tasks you are comfortable with. If not, which ones?"

  • Let the candidate know about any pets or animals/livestock on your property, cats in particular. Some candidates may be allergic. 


  • "Are you comfortable loading/unloading the dishwasher each afternoon as part of job duties?" If you need help with other general/family assistant tasks such as family dishes, parent laundry, or walking the dog, describe them during the interview.

  • "We could really use some help with family support/light tidying tasks but we don't want to cause our nanny to feel like a housekeeper. The tasks we need help with are [insert tasks]. Are there any light tidying or family support tasks you do not feel comfortable doing as a nanny, or perhaps you were asked to perform in the past and it made you uncomfortable?"​

These questions are helpful to match styles too. A candidate who loves organizing and tidying up won't be happy with a family who only wants the nanny to perform childcare. Vice versa if you really need a nanny who doesn't mind taking out the trash and will make sure the family laundry got switched over to the dryer, a candidate who wants to fully focus on childcare won't enjoy the job. 


This is your opportunity to hear about your candidate's expertise and their work style. These questions are particularly relevant for ages 0-3:

  • "Our child is ____ months/years old. What activities do you enjoy doing with a child this age?"

  • "What milestones/new developments would you look for at this age?"

  • "What types of activities do you think will be age-appropriate & good learning activities for our child in the next 3 months?"

  • If you need a nanny to prepare fresh baby food or cook fresh children's meals be sure to describe that now. 


  • "Are there any common safety hazards you find in family homes as a nanny, or any safety products you recommend?" This tells you how safety-conscious your candidate is at work.

  • "Can you tell us more about any experience and training you have handling a childcare emergency/urgent situation?" Not all nannies have handled an emergency but they can typically speak to their CPR/first aid training and the steps they would take. Most nannies have handled an urgent/challenging event such as a weird person at the playground, a child quickly coming down with a fever, the car got a flat tire, etc.

  • "What steps would you take if a child hit their head very hard?" Correct answers include check for uneven pupil dilation, notify the parent immediately, ice (or apply pressure if bleeding), and keep the child awake/conscious.

  • "What do you think is a reasonable policy and expectation for cell phone use during work?" (Excessive phone use is a distraction however a charged phone kept nearby is an important safety tool!)

  • "What are your current COVID-19 safety practices for your work with children?" Notice that this question inquires about safety yet does not pry into the candidate's personal life, who they live with, etc.

  • For infants: "Do you have TDAP booster or willing to get? Annual flu shot or willing to get?" (Parent would pay candidate for their time to complete these boosters/shots if this will be a job requirement). 

Right now is also the time to explain any affective needs, physical disabilities, emotional support needs, medical conditions, etc. that your child has. Do not minimize. This can be really tough because the tasks associated with supporting your child's needs may have become very routine for you and at this point it probably seems simple. The candidate has not had that same daily experience and initially the tasks might seem intense or complex until they get the hang of things. 


  • "Tell us about a positive moment with a child that has really stuck with you or is special to you." 

  • "Are there any staple or favorite activities that you always do as a sitter or a nanny?" Many nannies have a signature style, a super fun activity or a meaningful life skill they wish to impart to each child. 

  • "What do you think 1-2 of the top challenges of being a nanny in a home are, and how do you approach those?"

  • "What do you most want to contribute to a family/when did you feel like you really made an amazing difference as a nanny?"

  • "Have you ever had a moment that you felt you did not come through for a child or you made a mistake, and what did you learn from that experience?"

  • "Have you ever experienced that "stuck in the house" feeling as a nanny, or like it had become the same every day and wasn't interesting anymore? If so, what did you do?" 

  • "Have you ever had an experience where a parent's instructions differed from what you thought was appropriate or safest, and if so what did you do?" 

  • "How do you approach discipline or redirection as a nanny?" Nannies often have a wide variety of experience with behavioral redirection techniques, consequences, Love & Logic, gentle parenting, time outs, etc. It is important that your expectations & the nanny's style match i.e. a gentle parenting household and a nanny who uses time outs are unlikely to see eye to eye. A nanny may or may not accept a position in a home where spanking is part of a parent's discipline strategy. If spanking is one of your parenting tools, let the candidate know. 

You will need to check in with your nanny in a regular & predicable way. Speak with your candidates about this. Will you want a debriefing in person each afternoon before clock-out time, a written log you can review whenever, connecting once a week? What would be most helpful to you? What would the candidate prefer? This will tell you a lot about your candidate's communication style and needs. 


Pay and benefits need to be clear and candid. Avoid vague phrases such as "pay negotiable for the right person," or "benefits possible/TBD." 

  • "Our pay rate range is $__ to $__ per hourDo you have any questions about the pay range?" 

  • We will offer the following benefits: [list your benefits]. Are there any benefits that are particularly important to you that you would like to negotiate?" 

  • "We plan to use legal payroll, a W-2 and we will pay our employer taxes. Do you have any questions about using payroll?" 

  • "Do you have any travel plans/pre-planned trips in the next 6 months that we need to know for the schedule?"​


  • Was there anything in particular about our family's job posting that stood out for you or sounded like a match for you?

  • "What do you think a family can do to be a great employer to their nanny - or - what can a nanny employer do to ensure that you feel respected and valued?" An interview is a mutual process; your candidate is assessing you as a potential employer in the same way that you are assessing them. Communicate to them that creating a great workplace is one of your priorities.

  • "Overall, what will a nanny job you really enjoy look like to you?"

  • "Do you have any other questions for us?"



Be candid if your child is currently hitting, kicking, biting, spitting, screaming, scratching, hair pulling, running/fleeing, etc. Many nannies have experience with these behaviors. However, nannies find it disrespectful for a parent to omit or minimize this information during the interview. They will see these behaviors after they accept the job and that surprise will harm your working relationship. It is a top reason that nanny contracts dissolve earlier than planned. 


  • "So tell us about yourself." A great candidate will have read your family's profile and will be prepared to ask you more detailed questions. They hope that you have read their resume and have more detailed questions for them, too. 

  • If you and the candidate seem like instant BFFs, stay on track with gathering the information you need. Sometimes a match seems so magical both parties forget to ask some key questions and this can create issues later.

  • Avoid making any comments at all about shortcomings/flaws of a prior nanny. This is a red flag. 

  • Avoid making any comments at all about shortcomings/flaws of your child's other parent. This is a red flag.

  • "Why should we hire you?" Outdated, condescending, etc.

  • "Is there any wiggle room on your hourly rate?" This is a passive question that beats around the bush. Be direct! If the candidate's hourly rate is not in your budget, share that before the interview and clearly state the rate you can pay. Maybe there is something else you can afford to offer such as a cell phone stipend, adding the nanny to your Costco membership or your gym, etc. 

  • "Are you flexible about start and end times?" Be specific about your needs. Does your schedule change each month? Are you a surgeon who could have a schedule change the night before? Tell the candidate and have a plan to ensure that their pay remains stable and reliable regardless of your schedule. Candidates perceive vague questions about flexibility as a sign that the parent might be chronically late, or might change their work schedule without notice or cut their hours. 

  • "Are you ok with planning your vacations around our vacation dates?" No. Ask yourself -- do you want to base your family's vacation around when your boss goes on vacation? If there are certain blackout dates for PTO, for example if you attend a work conference every year and you absolutely must have childcare coverage every year at that time, share this during interview. 

  • List professional benefits only in your job posting. Leave out jokes such as "the benefits include working with two great kids!" Applicants perceive jokes like this as a sign that the parent may not think that employee benefits are important for a nanny.

  • Personal questions are never appropriate for any job interview, such as:

    • "Are you married?"

    • "Are you religious?"

    • "Do you want kids?"

    • "What does your spouse/partner do?" 

An applicant's home life, who they live with, religious beliefs or marital status is not an employer's domain. These types of questions indicate to the candidate that you do not understand how to be an employer or you may not have appropriate boundaries. 

  • Finally, if you are feeling any of the following ways it might be the wrong time to hire a nanny: 

    • "We are looking for a nanny to help create stability for our children." 

    • "Our kids have been through a lot this year and we are looking for a special nanny."

    • "We are looking for a nanny who helps bring balance and flow in our home." 

​Creating a stable and balanced environment is the employer's responsibility. A nanny will not fix any problems you are having. If you are going through a lot of changes, becoming an employer and taking on a new in-home employee to direct and support might not be the solution.  If you're struggling to keep up with your dishes, vacuuming, cleaning bathrooms and dirty laundry, a nanny cannot be the adult in your life who handles that. You'll need to find a housekeeping service or other solution. 


If you proceed with a nanny search when life is extraordinarily hectic, these things can go a long way: showing your employee gratitude and appreciation, being flexible with them and working together on a schedule that works best for you both, offering the best hourly rate you can do, ensuring accurate pay on time every week,  and keeping boundaries by not sharing your personal problems/stress with your employee. 


Always bear in mind that a nanny is not there to listen to your woes such as your finances, why you are separated or getting divorced, legal troubles, your co-parent's bad behavior, etc. A nanny can grow to become a family friend who cares to hear about these things, but that happens down the road of an established working relationship and it happens on a very case-by-case basis.

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