Applying to a Babysitter Service

Whether you’re a first-time baby-sitter or seasoned nanny, a job interview can be nerve-wracking. Your interview provides you with an opportunity to meet the family, interact with the children and talk in-depth about the job. Remember that it’s not only you who is being interviewed; you should also take this opportunity to decide if this is a family you’d like to work with. Make sure to nail down job specifics like pay, hours and duties at the interview. Here’s how to ace your nanny interview.

Dress Appropriately

For office jobs, it’s wise to wear a suit and jacket, but sitting jobs are typically less formal. You should wear something that allows you to get down on the floor and play with the kids, but slightly dressier than you would wear at work. Make sure that your clothes are clean, are neither low-cut, tight or otherwise too revealing, and dress in a way that does not draw attention to yourself. If you have visible piercings, take them out and cover any tattoos.

The Nanny Portfolio

If you’re interviewing for a full-time nanny position, a portfolio can seal the deal. A nanny portfolio is an overview of your work experience, childcare philosophy and other relevant information. Most professional nannies have a nice, well-bound copy with color pictures that they allow parents to view at the interview. You can then leave a simpler copy that includes your resume, references, childcare experience and any other information you’d like the parents to have with the parents when you leave the interview. A portfolio conveys professionalism and can earn you a higher salary than you might otherwise command. It’s also a great way to weed out parents who don’t value good caregivers. A parent who seems shocked that a nanny has a resume, for example, is likely a parent who does not understand that nannying is a serious career.

Interacting with the Kids

At most nanny interviews, you’ll have an opportunity to interact with the kids. Use this as your chance to win the kids over by learning about their interests and to impress the parents with your childcare skills. Don’t just sit and watch TV. Play a game, talk about a book or ask the child about her favorite activities. This very well may be your only chance to show the parents what a day with you would be like, so make sure that day looks fun and educational!


It is vitally important to protect the privacy of your references if you want to maintain a good relationship with them. Only give reference information to families once you have met them, and then only if you are sure you want the job.

Interview Questions

Before the interview, take some time to prepare answers for your interview questions. The specific answers to each question matters less than conveying a sense of professionalism, intelligence and genuine care for children. Be honest and let your personality shine. If, for example, you’re a vegetarian liberal, a very conservative family might not be ideal for you, so don’t lie to just get the job. Here are some questions you might be asked:

  • Tell me about your last sitting job.
  • Why did you leave your previous job?
  • What is your philosophy on discipline?
  • What would you do in an emergency?
  • How long do you expect to have this job?
  • What kinds of activities do you like to do with children?
  • What’s your biggest weakness? Biggest strength?
  • What is your favorite age group and why?

Discussing Salary

Many parents discuss salary, benefits and hours at the interview, so you need to be prepared to negotiate these items. Research the going rate in your area for the number of kids for whom you’d be caring. Be sure to get specific information about hours, pay, overtime, benefits and any other relevant factors.

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