I am a big advocate of having your children around during the interview. This way you can see how they interact with and react to your child. Don't fret if your child misbehaves, they're also interviewing you and trying to determine whether or not your child is the spawn of Satan.**
Below are a list of some of the interview questions that we used, and some ones that I since thought up or researched that I think would be really helpful. If the interview goes well I'd also use this opportunity to give the potential candidate a quick tour of your house and a 3-5 minute overview of your routines.
Can you handle these two?
Get their full name, phone number and email address.
Find out their availability.
Talk to them about pay rates, what they generally get paid, expectations and what you are comfortable with paying. I recently came across this great Pay Rate Map for Sitters at Rookie Moms for your reference.
Tell me about your previous experience babysitting? (Number of kids, ages and in my case experience with multiples).
What is your experience surrounding general routines with your kids (i.e. bed time, feeding, bathing, going for walks and any activities you would want them to undertake).
What training, experience or schooling have you had that you feel will help you in child-care? (Answers I'd be looking for would be CPR, babysitting courses, on the job sitting experience, education in ECE, nursing or even taking care of a sibling, etc.)
Why do you like babysitting/nannying?
Have you ever dealt with an emergency while babysitting? What did you do? If not, what would you do?
How have you disciplined children, the age of your child(ren), when they misbehave? How would you handle a temper tantrum?
What are your favourite activities to do with X aged children when sitting for them?
What personal traits do you have that you feel make you a good caregiver?
Can you cook? Are you comfortable preparing simple meals for the children?
Do you have any questions for us?
Question for Teenage Sitters:
Are your parents supportive of your babysitting? Will they be home/available when you sit? (It's always nice to know that another adult is close by, especially if they are a neighbour.)
I hope this information helps you! Be sure to collect 2-3 references and call them before hiring anyone. If they are a student and this is their first job ask for a reference from one of their teachers. Burnout Bob isn't going to get a glowing reference from their math teacher for babysitting.
Remember, go with your gut and your children's opinion if they are old enough to give it! Long before my children could say anything I knew they adored all of their sitters by how excited they were to see them and how they interact with them. Happy Hunting!
If you liked this post about babysitting interviews check out my post on figuring out who the ideal sitter might be for your family or where to find a sitter.
Stay tuned later this month for my tips for babysitter orientation and coping with saying goodbye to your munchkins. Trust me you need a break!
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*There are few things I take seriously, this is one of them along with book, beer, wine, restaurant, TV series or movie recommendations.
**Not that I'm implying that you are Satan, it's more that I know that interviewing sitters during the Molly's foray into the world of colic was a real trial by fire way to see how they'd react to Molly's "Siren Scream".