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 do you like most 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)?