Interviews are a natural part of any hiring process, but that doesn’t change the fact that they can still be nerve-wracking. Helping you put your best foot forward to land the job that’s right for you matters, so here are some tips to keep in mind when interviewing.

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1. Know the Job Description Backwards & Forwards

This may feel like an obvious thing to do, but that doesn’t mean it’s not important. Aside from simply reading what’s written, also read between the lines. Put yourself in that parent’s shoes: how are they feeling, what’s stressing them out, what do they really need help with? This will help you to establish a connection with them during the interview.

No Job Description?

If you didn’t connect with a parent by way of submitting a job application, use the job format as a guide to getting the information you need through messaging.

  • Schedule
  • Number of kids and ages
  • Responsibilities
  • Working environment (parents around?)
  • Start and end date

2. Know How To Answer the Question: “Tell Me About Yourself”

Inevitably, this question comes up a lot as a way to kick off an interview. It’s a very vague and open-ended question (on purpose) to give the parent an insight into how you view yourself. Here’s how you could prepare for this one:

  • Start by briefly giving the full picture of your career right now: Are you a full-time nanny? Are you in school and working in between classes and homework? Do you have other part-time jobs?
  • Follow up by describing why working in child care is important to you.
    Highlight some of your child care experience that helped to shape the professional you are today.
  • Tie it all together by bringing things back around to the job at hand. How will everything that you just said support what this family is looking for right now?

3. Be Prepared With Examples of Your Experience

After reviewing the job description, think of work you’ve done with past families or other child care scenarios that show you have experience and success with the kind of help they’re looking for. Use the STAR method as a guide:

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Situation
What is the context of your story? For example, “I was caring for a 1-year-old and a 3-year-old so that the mom could return to work full time…”

Task
What was your role in this situation? For example, “It was my job to keep both children in the regular rhythms that the mom had set up.”

Action
What did you do? For example, “I shadowed the mom for 2 days so that I could observe how she did things and took notes along the way. Additionally, she and I established forms of check-in throughout the day while she was gone.”

Result
What did your actions lead to? For example, “I was then able to successfully step into the mom’s shoes in a way that made her feel comfortable and confident in going back to work.”

4. Prepare Your Own Set of Questions

While it may feel like an interview is all about whether or not the family wants to hire you, it’s also a way for you to determine whether or not the job is truly a good fit. Here are some example questions to help you craft ones specific to the job.

5. Know Your Personal Policies & Values

Take some time to outline your personal policies and values when it comes to child care work.

  • Do you require a contract?
  • What happens if the parent cancels one day?
  • What happens if you need to cancel?
  • Which responsibilities affect your rate?

Knowing these answers and more will help you set clear expectations with the family even before they hire you. Plus, it’s impressive to hear that someone has thought through details that the parent may or may not have thought of. It helps establish you as the professional in the room—all the more reason they’ll want to work with you.

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