Interviewing for a nanny, qualifications and skills

If you want to employ a nanny to look after your children, you need to interview them. You should ask them if they have a childcare qualification but this isn't a legal requirement. You should also listen and watch how your children respond to their potential nanny.

Preparing to interview a nanny

Before you interview anyone, you should:

  • make a shortlist from applications received
  • talk to each applicant on the telephone
  • set up interviews, allowing at least one hour for each
  • prepare a list of questions and ask each person the same questions
  • write notes at each interview to remind you what they said

Suggested interview questions

It's important to ask them about what matters to you such as the nanny’s attitude to television or sweets. You should also ask them:

  • how long  they've been a nanny
  • why they became a nanny
  • to name six activities that your children might do any day if they were your children's nanny
  • how they would approach you if they were worried about something
  • their experience with children the same age as your children
  • ages of children they've worked with
  • why they enjoy working with children
  • their strengths when working with children
  • if they have training in childcare and development
  • their qualifications
  • their views on positive discipline
  • if there are areas of their work they plan to improve
  • why they left their last job and why they want to leave their current job
  • if they ever had problems with parents or children and how they resolved the problems
  • their views on families sharing a nanny
  • how many days they've taken off sick in the last 12 months

To find more interview questions, contact nanny agencies.  

Questions the nanny asks

Make sure you offer the nanny the chance to ask you questions. If you already have a nanny and you are interviewing for a replacement, give them a hand-over period with the nanny who is leaving.

Your new nanny may want to speak to somebody about you. If you are employing a nanny for the first time and there is no previous nanny for them to talk to, you can offer them a friend's number to call for a reference.

Employment details

Once you have chosen your nanny, you need to tell them:

  • the wage or salary with details about tax and National Insurance
  • how payment will be made, monthly or weekly, by cheque or directly into a bank account
  • the hours and duties of the job
  • when you would want them to start
  • holiday entitlements and whether they would be willing to take them at certain times for example to fit with school terms or your annual leave
  • the length of probationary period  

What your children think

It’s important to let your children meet the potential nanny - you don’t need to tell them that this might be their nanny when they’re introduced. Watch how they interact with your child.

It may be a good sign if the nanny pays more attention to the children than you. You should watch how your children respond to them.

A nanny's qualifications and skills

Most agencies and families employing a nanny should expect them to have a childcare qualification, but this isn’t a legal requirement. Below is guide to the qualifications and skills you can expect a good nanny to have.

Council for Awards in Children’s Care and Education (CACHE)

CACHE is the officially recognised Awarding Body for Early Years, Care and Education, and Playwork. Relevant qualifications awarded by CACHE include:

  • Certificate or Diploma in Childcare and Education (this covers working with children under eight, including those with special needs)
  • Level 3 Diploma in Home-based Childcare (created with the National Childminding Association, this course gives nannies the skills to develop children aged under one year old to 16)

Northern Ireland Childminding Association (NICMA)

NICMA, the Northern Ireland Childminding Association, works to support and develop registered home-based childcare. A voluntary organisation with charitable status, NICMA provides a range of services to support childminders, parents and children.

Other things to look for

A good nanny should:

  • be able to plan and arrange safe, fun learning opportunities
  • know how to plan and prepare healthy meals and snacks
  • have first aid training
  • have driving experience if required
  • show good organisational skills
  • have an interest in children as individuals
  • have a confident, positive personality

More useful links

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