Well, you’ve received caregivers’ applications and read through their profiles, and have most likely developed a shortlist of those who meet your criteria … “on paper”. However, there is no substitute for the give-and-take of an interview, where you can not only have your more in-depth questions answered but also get a feel for the sitter as a person. Use the following as a guide for the type of questions to ask your candidates during the interview process.
- What is it that you like about caring for children?
- What do you look for in an employer/family?
- What is your rate?
- Have you ever been arrested or convicted of a crime?
- Are you OK if a job runs later than planned?
- Do you live nearby? How can you get to jobs with us? Car, etc.?
Background and Experience
- How many years have you been working with children?
- What child care roles have you done in the past? Sitter, nanny, coach, etc.?
- How many families have you cared for and how old were the children?
- Do you have specific child care experience in [fill in the blank depending on what you’re looking for – special needs, potty training, infant care, etc.]
- What is your course of study in school or what is your full time job?
- Do you have any allergies to cats, dogs or other pets?
- Are you uncomfortable around or scared of any particular pets?
- Do you have any particular religious affiliation that might affect the way you care for our children?
- (For full time/regularly-scheduled jobs) Do you plan on taking any time off in the next six months?
Training and Safety
- Do you know First Aid?
- Do you know CPR?
- Are you familiar with the Heimlich maneuver?
- Can you swim?
- Are you familiar with emergency numbers?
- Can you drive in an emergency?
- Tell me about a time where you faced a crisis on the job. How did you handle it?
- What would you do with the kids on a day like today?
- What do you do when a child refuses to go to sleep?
- What do you think is the best way to handle tantrums?
- What is your proudest moment in babysitting and why?
- What are your views on discipline? Are you willing to change if we ask?
Responsibilities and Tasks
- How do you feel about play dates for my kids? Can you help arrange these?
- Can you care for more kids if we have a play date in the house?
- Are you OK assisting with homework, possibly making dinner and/or doing light housework?
- Are you comfortable watching my child as a mother’s helper if I decide to stay home during a job?
- Are you willing to help with overnight care if needed?
- Can you travel with my family if we need you to?
For Newborn Care
- Are you comfortable sitting for newborns?
- What is your experience caring for newborns?
- Can you change a diaper?
- Do you know infant CPR?
- Do you know about SIDS and how to prevent it?
- Do you have experience preparing and heating formula?
- Are you familiar with Shaken Baby Syndrome?
- Do you know the proper size for baby chewables and how to prevent choking?
- Can you tell if a room is childproofed?
If the Sitter will be Driving
- Are you comfortable driving kids in the car?
- May I see your driver’s license?
- How many years have you been driving?
- Do you have any marks against your driving record (speeding tickets, accidents, etc)?