Checklist: Questions to Ask When Interviewing a Caregiver
It can be hard to leave baby under someone else’s charge, but finding the right caregiver can make it much less stressful. You want to make sure that the person caring for your child in your absence is doing as good a job as you would.
So where do you begin your search? When thinking about hiring a caregiver, asking friends and family for recommendations is always a great place to start. They may be able to offer you names, advice and tips they’ve learned from their own experiences. Online caregiver directories, job boards and nanny agencies can also prove fruitful.
Once you have some candidates lined up, you’ll want to come up with a list of thorough questions to ask about their previous experience and comfort level with all responsibilities the job may require. The more you know about the person you hire, the better you’ll feel about the important role they’ll play in your (and baby’s) life. As part of the interview, also make sure to let each candidate spend time with baby and pay attention to how they interact with each other. Is the person warm and attentive? The right experience doesn’t mean much if the caregiver and your child aren’t going to get along.
Interviews are designed to help you gather information that’ll make you feel confident in your ultimate choice—but keep in mind that due to federal privacy and discrimination laws, certain questions are off limits. It’s against the law to ask candidates about their age, race, religion, sexual orientation, marriage status, kids or any disabilities. To learn more about which questions not to ask, visit the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Luckily, there are still plenty of ways to find out more about your potential caregiver, without violating their privacy rights. To help you with your search, we’ve put together a checklist of questions to ask, below.
□ Phone number:
□ Two references: (always check these!)
□ Are you authorized to work in the US?
□ Are you at least 18 years of age?
□ What hours are you available? Would you be able to ever stay overnight?
□ Do you drive? If so, do you have a car? Is it reliable?
□ Have you ever been in a car accident?
□ Have you ever been convicted of a crime (other than traffic violations)?
□ Are you open to doing chores, cooking or laundry?
□ What do you charge? (Or, ask if the amount you’d like to pay is acceptable.)
□ Are you willing to put in any overtime that the position may require? What would you charge?
□ Do you have other commitments right now that may interfere with this role’s responsibilities?
□ How long do you plan to be a caregiver? Will anything affect your availability in the near future? Are you working toward any personal or career goals?
□ Why do you want this job? Why should I hire you?
□ Tell me about your childcare experience. Have you previously taken care of infants (or toddlers)? How many children have you taken care of at once?
□ Are you caring for other children at this time? What kind of commitment do you have to them?
□ What’s the longest you’ve been with a family? When and why did your last job end?
□ Tell me about the most difficult child you ever cared for. How did you handle it?
□ How would you soothe a crying baby?
□ Are you comfortable giving medications?
□ Have you bathed an infant?
□ Do you know how to feed an infant, and what to do in case of choking?
□ Under what circumstances would you call me? The doctor? 911?
□ What would you do in case of fire? If you suspected a criminal was in or outside the house?
□ Have you ever dealt with an emergency while caring for a child?
□ Are you comfortable with pets? Do you have any allergies?
□ Can you swim? Are you familiar with basic water safety? (Especially important if you have a pool.)
□ I would like the person in this role to be up-to-date with their immunizations. Is that something you’re comfortable with?
□ Explain any issues or concerns specific to your baby, and ask the candidate about their level of comfort and experience.
□ Explain any practices or rules particular to your family, and make sure the candidate is capable of abiding by them.