If you are looking to interview a nanny it is always useful to have your questions prepared in advance.
(And if you are a nanny it's always useful to know the type of questions you are likely to be asked.)
Ask about family background - parents, brothers and sisters.
Where did you spend your early years?
Why did you choose to become a nanny?
What do you consider are your qualities with regard to looking after children?
What is your current position and why do you want to leave?
Tell me about your previous jobs and why you left each one.
Have you ever had a period of unemployment & why?
What are you looking for in your next position?
Why do you enjoy looking after children?
How would you entertain them on a day-to-day basis?
How would you keep them occupied on a long wet day?
What artistic/creative talents do you have?
Can you cook?
What would you cook for children aged 0-1 and 2-5?
Could you help my child with weaning, table manners, potty training, reading and writing?
Are you trained in First Aid? What would you do in the case of:
blow to the head
How do you see your role in disciplining my child/children?
What household tasks are you happy to perform? (e.g. nursery duties only, light housework, ironing, cooking)
Are you happy to baby-sit? Would you expect to be paid extra for this?
When did you pass your driving test? (ask to see the driving licence)
Have you had any accidents?
Are you able to drive an automatic car?
What type of car do you have?
Are you happy to use your car for work?
Does it have rear seat belts?
Do you expect me to provide carseats or do you have carseats fitted for your car?
What type of insurance do you have? (fully comprehensive / 3rd party / business)
Have you got insurance for taking employers' children in your car?
Do you understand that smoking and/or drinking alcohol is not permitted at work?
When would you be available to start a new position?
What salary are you seeking?
Would you accept the position if it was offered to you?
Remember that there are certain questions you are legally prohibited from asking such as whether a nanny has or is intending to have children, their sexual orientation, their age and their religion
Interviewing can be a nerve wracking process and it's understandable that families want to find out as much about their potential nanny as possible, but there are certain questions which should be avoided in case they lead to direct or indirect discrimination.
In some cases you may have reasons for wanting to know the information and feel that bring direct and open is the best way, but you must phrase your questions carefully so they are supported by a legitimate need and do not leave you open to claims of discrimination.
“Are you married/in a relationship?”
Why it's bad: Questions about marital status can be seen as discrimatory, or trying to find out about sexual preferences.
Why you might want to know: If you're hiring a live in nanny you might want to know whether they're going to move their partner in too, or whether you'll be waking up to a string of different ‘houseguests'
What you can say: “Would you expect to have guests to stay?”
Why you might want to know: A whole host of reasons, including whether the nanny is likely to want to bring their children to work regularly or occasionally or whether they have their own children to pick up from childcare, thus reducing their flexibility.
What you can say: “Do you have any obligations at home which may interfere with your attendance or ability to do this job and how do you plan to minimise the impact of those?
Why you might want to know: A nanny planning to start a family will mean you need to find alternative childcare to cover the leave they are entitled to.
What you can say: Nothing. This is a risk you need to be prepared to take.
Why you might want to know: Some disabilities may impair a nanny's ability to do their job.
What you can say: You can focus on whether the applicant is able to do the job e.g. “Are you able to lift and carry my toddler?”. You can also ask whether you need to make reasonable adjustments once a job offer has been made. As an employer it is up to you to decide what is ‘reasonable' in terms of your requirements. You may not be able to adjust working hours, for example, but you may be able to accommodate time off for treatment on a regular basis. If you are in any doubt we suggest you seek specialist advice.
Why you might want to know: Nosiness!
What you can say: Nothing.
Why you might want to know: If you require your nanny to travel or if you have concerns about their right to work in the UK (which you should verify in any case) you may feel reassured by knowing their nationality. You may also think this is a friendly question inviting the nanny to talk about themselves. In rare cases it may be a genuine occupational requirement that a nanny holds a particular passport.
What you can say: “Are you able to travel within the EU without restrictions/to X with the appropriate visa?” “Can you provide evidence of your right to work in the UK?”
Why you might want to know: If you want your nanny to support your religious practices you might think the simplest way is if they belong to your religion.
What you can say: “We are Jewish/Hindu/Catholic and would like you to respect our traditions and support our children in their religious development. Do you feel comfortable doing that?”
“Do you have children?”
Why it's bad: A nanny could claim that you discriminated against them if you didn't give them the job and gave it to someone who didn't have children.
“Are you planning to have children soon?”
Why it's bad: This is definitely discriminatory – although you are trying to reduce the impact of an employee going on maternity or paternity leave it's illegal to ask this question.
“Do you have a disability?”
Why it's bad: Asking someone whether they have a disability contravenes legislation on equality.
“How old are you?”
Why it's bad: Knowing someone's age could lead to a claim of age discrimination. You must focus on someone's ability to do the job, whether old or young.
“Where do you come from?”
Why it's bad: Nationality and ethnicity should have no bearing on someone's suitability as a nanny.