Be Safe: When you’re meeting a potential employer in person for the very first time, you may want to meet in a public place like a local coffee shop, particularly if you’re not familiar with the neighborhood where the family lives. Be sure to arrange safe transportation for yourself to and from the interview, and let your family and friends know where you’ll be.
Be on Time: Punctuality is important to parents who are looking for a babysitter or nanny. Their time is valuable, and they’re probably looking for help with their kids so that they can save time or have more time to themselves. Don’t waste their time by arriving late. Be early. If you can’t be early, be on time. If something comes up or you get stuck in traffic, be sure to call as soon as possible to postpone or reschedule.
Be Dressed Appropriately: At Care.com it never ceases to amaze us how many caregivers submit profile pictures in which they’re sloppily or scantily dressed. You don’t need to wear a ball gown or a business suit to your babysitting interview, but you should be neatly and fully dressed.
Be Prepared to Answer Questions: Your potential employer will probably want answers to questions like these:
- Tell us about your child care experience.
- How long were you at your last position and why did you leave?
- What did you like best and least about your last job?
- What kinds of activities did you do with the child you cared for?
- What do you think children need most from a caregiver?
- How do you handle discipline issues?
- What do you like about child care?
- What activities do you enjoy doing with children?
- Do you have any special skills or interests you can offer our child?
Be Prepared to Ask Questions: Don’t forget: you’re also interviewing them. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about the job and about the kids. You might want to consider asking questions like these:
- Can you walk me through a typical day? (Or night or week, depending on the job.) What are your family routines, and who are the people involved?
- How many hours per week would you want me to work?
- What do you expect of me? Will I cook meals? Do housework? Wash clothes? Provide homework help?
- Are you open to my taking your child to local parks or playgrounds, or would you prefer that we stay at your house?
- What are your rules for talking on the telephone? Watching television? Using the internet?
- How do you expect me to discipline your child? At what point should I contact you if a disciplinary issue arises?
- What resources and contacts do you have if there is an emergency?
- Does your child have any medical conditions, such as asthma or allergies? Is he on any medications?
- Does he have any chores and responsibilities?
- What are her favorite activities, books, and toys?
- What do you and your child enjoy doing together?
- Are there activities your child wants to do that you don't enjoy, but that I might do with him?
- Does your child have any nicknames? Imaginary friends?
- Is there anything that frightens your child?
- Does your child have unusual habits? Should I try to help him break that habit?
- Is there any behavior you would like me to reinforce?
- Should I pay special attention to certain issues you would like your child to work on, such as sharing or playing with other children?
- What sorts of sibling rivalry issues are there, if any? When do they arise?
- Should I be aware of any religious or cultural preferences?