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6 scenario based interview questions to ask at a nanny interview, and the responses you should be getting

2015 September 17


Scenarios are a great way to test out how quickly your potential nanny can think on her feet and see what her natural reactions to everyday situations are. A lot of the questions you ask in an interview lead a nanny to respond in a certain way. Any clues that she’s gained about your childcare style will help her answer them, but she doesn’t need to have additional information because it’s all about how she would react.

First Aid

“What would you do if my child fell of the trampoline and banged his head and his elbow?”

Mentioning a head injury should be an immediate red flag so a cautious nanny will suggest a trip to A&E to get checked out. A more detailed answer might give options depending on whether the child lost consciousness or seems disorientated, or shows any other signs of concussion. A nanny who says they’d just let them back onto the trampoline to carry on playing and doesn’t make it clear that she would inform you what happened later needs to refresh her First Aid training.


“One of my children hits another. How do you react?”

No matter what your discipline style is you’re looking for signs of empathy and a few things that they shouldn’t do. A professional nanny will never suggest allowing the other child to retaliate or completely ignoring the behaviour (ignoring works when a child hits an adult but not between children because it means the victim hasn’t been comforted). She should also say she follow any lead you give and that she would talk it over with you afterwards.

Working relationship

“How would you approach any problems in our working relationship?”

Any nanny who isn’t totally naïve will have anticipated problems arising at some point. You want a reply that indicated clear, honest and professional communication, rather than just ignoring the problem entirely or (worse) leaving without trying to put things right.

Concerns about children

“You think one of our children has slightly delayed development. What do you do?”

A great answer will stress the importance of confidentiality, gathering some evidence to support the nanny’ suspicions and having a meeting without the children present while remaining aware that she will be raising a possibility, not giving a diagnosis, and it would be your job as a parent to move forward with other professionals.

Uncontactable parent

“It’s 30 minutes after your finish time and we aren’t home. You can’t get hold of either of us at the office or on our mobiles. What do you do?”

A star nanny says she will stay with the children, carry on as usual and use her initiative to check for disruptions to traffic or public transport.

Extend the situation

“We’re now nearly 3 hours overdue. What do you do?”

Hopefully she will carry on a normal with the children. At this point she might suggest contacting local hospitals, the police or any emergency contacts that she has for you if she can’t see a logical reason for the delay. A nanny should never suggest leaving your children with anyone else unless you’ve given specific instructions and contact details for family members who live nearby to cover this contingency. If she needs to leave to sort out her own family she should either suggest taking the children with her and leaving a note for you, or contacting social services.

Shared care

“How would you react if my 5 year old was rude to you in front of me?”

There are times when you’re going to be together with your nanny in front of your children. Some children try to exploit any differences of opinion. You’re looking for a nanny who would be consistent and firm in her way of handling rudeness. A nanny who is happy to continue disciplining the children in front of you in exactly the same way she does when you’re not around is giving consistent care and shows she has nothing to hide.

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