Interview style – making the most of your time and getting the best from your candidate
Over the years interview styles and techniques have evolved and luckily for those being interviewed things are much now more relaxed and informal. Thank goodness the days of the clipboard and being interviewed by a family in a corporate way are gone. This was not always successful within a family environment as it was so off putting and I believe created a barrier between the nanny and the family.
However, even though the clipboard has gone there are still things you can do to help get the most of your interview time and properly evaluate the candidate who has come to meet you.
I believe if you are meeting a nanny or a nanny/housekeeper that in order to get the most of your time you need to get off to a good start. Keeping things simple and informal is the best way to get a real idea of what the person is all about and whether they are a good fit for your family.
If meeting a nanny for the first time we recommend the first point of contact should be without the children present and could be arranged either when the children are at school / nursery or later in the day once the children are in bed. The reason for this is simple – you need to focus all your attention on the person who has come to see you as they are interested in the role and want to find out more. They also need to focus on you, get a feel for you as a family , how you operate and where he/she is placed in terms of fitting into your family life and day to day schedules and routine.
As the family meeting him/her it’s always wise to have a good idea about the role and what you actually need before they arrive. Not all family’s know what they want which leads to some discussion during the meeting and the candidate will leave knowing that the family havn’t yet thought things through and have no clear role in mind. Other families will make changes and try to make new additions while the candidate is there. If they think this is a way of testing the waters to see what else the nanny will do it is not a good idea and ultimately will just be a waste of everybody’s time.
Its best to have the house calm with the TV off so you can focus on each other without distraction.
Remember the nanny will be interviewing you too so it’s important to be honest about what the role involves and any details which will form part of the role such as routine, discipline and ideals surrounding screen time, menu planning and if there are anything that you need day to day that the nanny should know about. It is important to be honest from the start.
Keeping the first interview child free comes with huge benefits mainly that you can speak uninterrupted and focus on why you are both there. You will be able to get a real sense of what this person is like, what they bring to the role and whether they feel like a good fit for your family .The nanny will be able to give you all of his/her attention and won’t have the dilemma of trying to answer questions whilst engaging with the children. The nanny will also have questions that will need to be asked and having the children around will make this more difficult as the nanny will want to devote her full attention to them.
As much as it is so important that you see them with the children , it can also be more difficult to establish any conversation that has value. I believe It’s best to invite the candidate back and meet the children another time.
Chemistry between the family and the nanny is key and as this is going to be a working relationship this is vital to the success of the placement. As the family you have to in the least like her, understand her approach and find out what she believes makes a partnership.
If the chemistry isn’t apparent then the nanny will feel it too and is unlikely to return to see you again. This is where keeping the interview as informal as possible will help both parties. If this meeting is successful then both will want to meet again and this time introduce the children. If not the nanny will not be returning and you havn’t created any confusion by introducing them to a new nanny who ultimately won’t be working for the family.
Relax, enjoy your time and just chat things through. Establishing a good rapport and having a few laughs during the discussion is a way of putting the candidate at ease and will help the process along.
Ultimately gut instinct will tell you if the nanny is right or not and as long as the chemistry is good then there is no reason to not follow up with a second meeting and getting the children involved before taking next steps towards an offer and start date.