So, you want to be a nanny. You’ve got the qualifications, the nice shoes and the Mary Poppins countenance down, all you need to do is ace the interview. As a childcare professional, I’ve experienced a great number of this time of meeting and they all follow much the same pattern. If you follow this simple checklist, you can ensure that you’ll be prepared and ready to wow those parents into hiring you on the spot.

  • References are key

    Don’t underestimate the importance of references in this most trusted of professions. If you haven’t had any previous full-time experience as a nanny, it’s important that you get written references from someone whose words carry weight – a doctor, a teacher, a lawyer etc. This may sound mildly ridiculous but the gravitas of these positions does go some way to assuage fears and proves that you’re a stable and established member of your community. Aim to have at least two references to bring with you at interview and make sure you make copies so that you can give them to the parents to keep and follow-up.

  • Make sure you can tell the story of your skills

    This may sound odd but it’s important to have two or three good stories that illustrate the ways in which you’re able to deal with difficult situations with strength, humour and kindness. More than most jobs, it’s important to make an emotional connection with your interviewer, so it’s important that you’re able to engage their interest and sympathyy, particularly if this is a live-in position. There’s no need to elaborate on the truth, just be honest, forthright and charming. A structured anecdote helps you relax and shows your potential employers that you’ve been thinking seriously about what the position requires.

  • Practice good interview technique

    There are some obvious tips that help any interview go swimmingly: sit up straight, take time and care with your answers, wear smart, professional clothes, appropriate for the position – an outft that show the gravity of the situation but can also stand up to a far bit of running around. High heels would probably be ill-advised at this juncture.

  • Clarification of major details

    It is almost certain that you will be asked if you have any questions. Take this opportunity to both show interest in your young charge and clarify some major employment issues. It’s important to establish up front just exactly what is expected of you and how many hours that will entail – it’s all too easy for younger nannies to work on an ‘ad hoc’ basis which could lead quickly into being overworked and underpaid, a scenario that’s not good for you or the children involved. Make sure boundaries and hours are clearly delineated, particularly if this is a live-in contract. Other important things to add to your checklist include:

    - Payment details – the manner and freqency with which you will be paid.

    - The length of the probation period

    - Whether or not a CRB certificate will be required and if you must finance that youself

    - The length of the contract

    - The parents’ definition of house rules and child safety: this is especially key. More than most other positions, you are firmly bound by the personal standards of your mployers n

    and it’s important that you understand and respect these standards before you begin your employment so that everybody (including you!) feels respected and happy with the situation.

  • Smile

    Don’t be afraid to be delightful. About a quarter of being a nanny is the ability to engage and entertain. Let your true self shine through – your personality is one of your greatest assets.

    Good luck!

Mona Degris writes about nanny jobs in London for Nursery World Jobs


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