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34 real-life nanny interview questions

A Nanny is a caregiver who provides child care services in the family's home, playing a crucial role in the child's development and well-being. This role involves not only supervising and nurturing children but also engaging in educational activities, managing daily routines, and often collaborating closely with parents on childcare strategies.

Content team
Content team

Content manager Keith MacKenzie and content specialist Alex Pantelakis bring their HR & employment expertise to Resources.

These nanny interview questions are directly sourced from real hiring managers and they are ready to use.

nanny interview questions

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34 good nanny interview questions

  1. Why did you choose a nannying career?
  2. What do you enjoy most about being a nanny? What do you enjoy least about being a nanny?
  3. What makes you a good nanny?
  4. Why do you prefer to be a nanny in someone’s home (versus working in a day care center or other childcare environment)?
  5. Do you read books? What kind?
  6. Given our children’s ages, what areas of development would you focus on?
  7. What are your favorite activities to do with children?
  8. How would you occupy our children during the day?
  9. What kind of food would you cook for our children?
  10. How would you approach planning menus and buying the food?
  11. What is your approach to discipline overall?
  12. What would you do with a child that threw a tantrum in the middle of a shop?
  13. How do you teach children good manners?
  14. What would you do if a child was choking?
  15. When did you last update your first aid training?
  16. How do you ensure you are not late arriving to work?
  17. What safety certifications do you have?
  18. How do your roles/responsibilities change as the child gets older?
  19. What is your communication style with the parents? How often do you communicate with them throughout the day? Do you keep a log?
  20. Do you travel with the family? Will you work weekends or occasional overnight stays?
  21. When do you think it would be appropriate for a nanny to make personal phone calls during work?
  22. What are the most challenging parts of working with children?
  23. Did any of the families you’ve worked for previously have pets? Were you responsible for the pets at all?
  24. Have you developed a network of other nannies for play dates, etc.? How do you do this?
  25. Do you feel comfortable arranging playdates? How would you set them up?
  26. What other responsibilities (outside of caring for the child and doing the child’s laundry) are you comfortable taking on?
  27. Have you worked with other household staff before (e.g., housekeeper, dog walker)?
  28. How would you care for a sick child?
  29. How would you keep my child safe in public? At home?
  30. Have you ever worked for parents that work from home? Are you comfortable with that? What pros and cons do you see with that?
  31. Are you comfortable having the child’s grandparents visit?
  32. What is your childcare philosophy?
  33. How do you nurture a child?
  34. How do you build independence in a child?

1. Why did you choose a nannying career?

Explores motivation for choosing the profession.

Sample answer:

“I chose nannying because I have a passion for working with children and contributing to their growth and development. It’s rewarding to see them learn and grow under my care.”

2. What do you enjoy most about being a nanny? What do you enjoy least?

Inquires about what aspects of the job they find most fulfilling.

Sample answer:

“I love creating a bond with the children and being part of their development. Engaging in educational play and watching them reach new milestones is incredibly fulfilling. The least enjoyable part can be managing behavioral issues, but I view these challenges as opportunities to help children learn and grow.”

3. What makes you a good nanny?

Evaluates their self-perception of strengths in nannying.

Sample answer:

“I believe my patience, creativity, and strong understanding of child development make me a good nanny. I’m also adaptable and can effectively communicate with both children and parents.”

4. Why do you prefer to be a nanny in someone’s home?

Description: Looks into their preference for the work environment.

Sample answer:

“I prefer being a nanny in a home environment because it allows for more personalized care. I can tailor activities to each child’s interests and needs, which is more challenging in a daycare setting.”

5. Do you read books? What kind?

Explores interests that might be shared with the children.

Sample answer:

“Yes, I enjoy reading a variety of books, especially children’s literature. I find that storytelling is a great tool for engaging children’s imaginations.”

6. Given our children’s ages, what areas of development would you focus on?

Assesses knowledge of age-appropriate developmental focus.

Sample answer:

“For toddlers, I focus on language development and motor skills through interactive play and storytelling. For older children, I encourage cognitive development with educational games and activities.”

7. What are your favorite activities to do with children?

Looks into their ability to engage children in activities.

Sample answer:

“I love organizing arts and crafts, outdoor adventures, and educational games. These activities are not only fun but also help in developing various skills.”

8. How would you occupy our children during the day?

Probes into daily planning and activity organization.

Sample answer:

“I plan a balanced schedule that includes physical activities, quiet time, educational play, and rest. I ensure activities are age-appropriate and align with the parents’ preferences.”

9. What kind of food would you cook for our children?

Inquires about culinary skills and knowledge of child nutrition.

Sample answer:

“I focus on nutritious, balanced meals that are kid-friendly. I like to incorporate a variety of fruits, vegetables, and proteins, making sure to consider any dietary restrictions.”

10. How would you approach planning menus and buying the food?

Evaluates organizational skills in meal planning.

Sample answer:

“I plan weekly menus based on nutritional needs and preferences of the children. I create a shopping list to ensure all necessary ingredients are purchased, keeping within any budgetary guidelines set by the parents.”

11. What is your approach to discipline overall?

Inquires about discipline philosophy and techniques.

Sample answer:

“My approach to discipline is consistent and fair. I set clear boundaries and communicate expectations. I believe in positive reinforcement and use time-outs only when necessary.”

12. What would you do with a child that threw a tantrum in the middle of a shop?

Tests ability to handle challenging behavior in public.

Sample answer:

“I would remain calm and remove the child from the situation if possible. I’d acknowledge their feelings and talk through the issue once they’ve calmed down, using it as a learning opportunity.”

13. How do you teach children good manners?

Probes into methods of instilling positive behaviors.

Sample answer:

“I teach good manners by example and consistent reinforcement. I use everyday situations as opportunities to demonstrate and explain polite behavior, like saying ‘please’ and ‘thank you.'”

14. What would you do if a child was choking?

Description: Assesses knowledge of emergency procedures.

Sample answer:

“If a child was choking, I would perform the Heimlich maneuver for children, and call emergency services immediately. Ensuring the child’s airway is clear is my first priority.”

15. When did you last update your first aid training?

Checks for current knowledge in first aid.

Sample answer:

“I updated my first aid training six months ago. I ensure my certifications are always current to be prepared for any emergencies.”

16. How do you ensure you are not late arriving to work?

Evaluates punctuality and time management.

Sample answer:

“I always plan ahead and account for possible delays. Being punctual is important to me, so I aim to arrive a little early to be prepared for the day.”

17. What safety certifications do you have?

Confirms qualifications in child safety.

Sample answer:

“I am certified in CPR, first aid, and child safety. I regularly attend refresher courses to keep my skills and knowledge up-to-date.”

18. How do your roles/responsibilities change as the child gets older?

Assesses adaptability to the evolving needs of children.

Sample answer:

“As children grow, my focus shifts from basic care to more educational and developmental activities. I incorporate age-appropriate learning and independence-building activities.”

19. What is your communication style with the parents?

Assesses communication and reporting skills.

Sample answer:

“I believe in open and honest communication with parents. I provide daily updates and keep a log of activities, meals, and any significant events. I’m available for regular check-ins throughout the day if needed.”

20. Do you travel with the family? Will you work weekends or occasional overnight stays?

Inquires about flexibility and availability for extended duties.

Sample answer:

“I am open to traveling with the family and can work weekends or overnight stays as required. My priority is to ensure continuity of care for the children.”

21. When is it appropriate to make personal phone calls during work?

Evaluates professionalism and understanding of work boundaries.

Sample answer:

“I make personal calls only during breaks or emergencies. While on duty, my focus is entirely on the children’s care and safety.”

22. What are the most challenging parts of working with children?

Explores understanding of the complexities of childcare.

Sample answer:

“Managing behavioral issues can be challenging. It requires patience, understanding, and the ability to calmly guide children towards positive behaviors.”

23. Did any families you’ve worked for have pets?

Checks experience in managing additional responsibilities.

Sample answer:

“Yes, one family had a dog. I was responsible for feeding and walking the pet along with caring for the children.”

24. Have you developed a network of other nannies for playdates?

Assesses community engagement and resourcefulness.

Sample answer:

“I have connected with other nannies in the area to arrange playdates, which I organize through local community groups and social media platforms.”

25. Do you feel comfortable arranging playdates?

Inquires about social coordination skills.

Sample answer:

“Absolutely. I arrange playdates considering the children’s interests and age groups. I ensure safety and supervise interactions to foster social skills.”

26. What other responsibilities are you comfortable taking on?

Determines willingness to perform additional tasks.

Sample answer:

“Besides childcare and laundry, I’m comfortable with meal preparation, light housekeeping related to the child, and running errands as needed.”

27. Have you worked with other household staff before?

Checks experience in a collaborative home environment.

Sample answer:

“Yes, I’ve worked alongside housekeepers and gardeners. I believe in clear communication and coordination to maintain a smooth household operation.”

28. How would you care for a sick child?

Evaluates knowledge of basic healthcare.

Sample answer:

“I monitor symptoms, ensure the child is comfortable, administer medication if authorized, and keep parents informed. If symptoms worsen, I seek medical advice.”

29. How would you keep my child safe in public and at home?

Assesses understanding of child safety.

Sample answer:

“In public, I maintain constant supervision and teach children about safety. At home, I ensure the environment is childproof and hazards are minimized.”

30. Have you ever worked for parents that work from home? Are you comfortable with that? What pros and cons do you see with that?**

Probes adaptability to different working environments.

Sample answer:

“I have worked for families where parents worked from home. I’m comfortable with this arrangement. A pro is the availability of parents for immediate decisions, but a con can be children seeking parents during work hours, which requires careful handling.”

31. Are you comfortable having the child’s grandparents visit?

Assesses adaptability to family dynamics.

Sample answer:

“Yes, I welcome grandparents’ visits. It’s important for children to have family bonds. I coordinate with them to maintain the child’s routine and ensure a harmonious environment.”

32. What is your childcare philosophy?

Explores the candidate’s overall approach to childcare.

Sample answer:

“My philosophy centers on creating a nurturing, safe, and stimulating environment for children. I believe in encouraging exploration, creativity, and learning through play.”

33. How do you nurture a child?

Evaluates understanding of emotional and developmental support.

Sample answer:

“I nurture children by providing consistent care, showing affection, and understanding their individual needs. Encouraging positive behavior and offering emotional support are key aspects.”

34. How do you build independence in a child?

Checks strategies for fostering self-reliance in children.

Sample answer:

“I build independence by encouraging children to try new things, make choices, and learn from their experiences. I provide guidance and support while allowing them to explore their abilities.”

What does a good nanny candidate look like?

A good Nanny candidate is someone who combines a deep understanding of child development with a nurturing and patient demeanor. They should be adaptable, proactive, and possess strong communication skills.

The ideal candidate will be comfortable collaborating with parents and other family members, able to manage both routine and unexpected situations effectively, and have a commitment to fostering a safe, educational, and supportive environment for children.

Red flags

Red flags include a lack of enthusiasm for working with children, poor communication skills, and a limited understanding of child development stages. A candidate who is inflexible or uncomfortable with the family’s dynamic, including working with stay-at-home parents or interacting with extended family members, may not be a good fit.

Lack of emergency preparedness, including outdated or no first aid training, is also a major concern.

Frequently asked questions

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