Governess/Nanny interview tips for the job of your dreams
We’ve all been there, scrolling through job after job looking for our next dream role online. Then suddenly it appears, the one you’ve been waiting for! It must be fate, right?! The location, the ages of the children, the salary and best of all. YOU MATCH THE DESCRIPTION! You’ve sent in an outstanding CV (LINK to the previous blog). Now the only thing standing between yourself and the job is getting through the interview and trial stages. It must be in a way that highlights your key attributes and shows you off in your best light.
No lights, camera action here though, rather nappies, playdough and cupcakes! Interviewing can be tricky, especially when you let nerves get in the way. Even though you know you are amazing at your job. So here, we have compiled a handy guide on how you can ensure you make the very best first impression and snap up your dream job.
Face-to-face interview tips
Plan your route
If you are meeting your next potential employers at their home or another location, ensure you do your research beforehand. Especially if it is in an unfamiliar location. We all know that it is easy enough to get lost using the most advanced Sat Nav or our good friend Google Maps. The best advice here is to give yourself plenty of time or, if possible, make your way there beforehand just to make sure you know the route. Don’t get caught ogling their house though, that would just be strange!
The point is punctuality. Turning up to an interview late and in a fluster is not the best way to start. We have all done it at least once but if this is your dream job, do whatever you can to arrive in a relaxed and happy state of mind.
Regardless of whether you use a nanny agency or have been approached by a family directly. You should always come prepared for the interview. If you have produced your documents to the nanny agency, the family will still want to see original copies of your qualifications themselves. That way they can see all the great work you have put into becoming a super nanny!
This could include your First Aid certificate, which can be updated here or your DBS background police check. If you do not currently have a DBS background check more information is available here. Other documents may include any childcare certificates such as early years, Montessori, teaching, TELF etc. Additionally, proof of identities, such as your driving license or passport.
Put your phone away!
Before entering an interview environment, please ensure your phone is turned off or on silent mode (without vibrate) also. Ensure it is left in your coat pocket. This seems like common sense but again, the stories we’ve heard, you can’t beat some of them! Your phone doesn’t need to be on the table in front of you in an interview, ever.
Online interview tips
Many interviews for international Nanny and Governess roles take place online. If you are interviewing for a vacancy via video conferencing, you still have some necessary presentation prep to do.
Check your tech
First, repeat this mantra: “do not trust technology”. So many things can go wrong here! But the good news is with a little preparation they can be avoided. The best way to ensure everything runs smoothly in your interview with the family is to test your Skype, Facetime, Zoom, etc. 30 minutes before your interview is due to start. Check that you have a strong enough internet connection. Ensure your web camera and the audio is working.
Prepare your space
Whilst checking your camera, ensure that your background is well lit and that you are not sitting in a messy room with lots wine bottles behind you! Oh, we’ve seen it all! Sit against a plain wall so the family can concentrate on you and what you are saying, rather than being distracted by your home. Ensure your family/flatmates/dog are aware you are interviewing and not about to walk into frame or make any loud noises.
It will not reflect well on you. Lastly, ensure your mobile phone is turned off and you aren’t waiting for any home deliveries that will mean you need to leave the interview to open the door.
Dress to impress
Do not assume that because the interview is online, you can slack on professional presentation. Whilst you won’t be wearing smart office wear when working with children, it is a good idea to dress at least smart/casual for interview. It shows you are professional and respectful of the process. No hoodies!
Tips for any interview situation:
First – clean up your online presence
This is a bit of an aside, but highly relevant to the job-hunting process overall. Today, online presence is everything! Try to be mindful of this when posting things online that may be taken badly by potential employers. It is well worth keeping your social media profiles clean and avoid posting publicly available photographs that could be compromising.
Families know that the applicants are humans with lives of their own, but when deciding who is best for their child, they might not appreciate the drunken selfies quite so much as your friends do!
Reverse the roles – prepare interview questions
Before your interview, take some time to think about the qualities you would be looking for in a nanny assisting you in the care and upbringing of your child(ren). Often, you take the time to think about it from the perspective of the family, you will be prepared for questions based on their specific needs. For example, what activities do your children enjoy? What is your approach to education? Do the children have any special dietary requirements or allergies? Etc.
As a nanny or governess your needs and requirements being met are very important, however, if you are at an interview and all your initial questions surround your own needs, it implies your focus is less about the children and more about yourself. Such questions can include, negotiating salary, living conditions, hours, days off, etc. In most cases, for the right candidate, some of these things are up for discussion. However, you must be the right candidate first.
As with all professional and social interactions, being honest is the most important thing. Always be accurate when describing your strengths and your limitations. Pretending you are more experienced or better qualified than you are will soon be recognised by a family. Worse still, is getting a position you aren’t qualified for and finding yourself unable to offer the support they need.
The parents deserve to know the facts so that they can make an informed decision about your suitability for their needs. First time parents, for example, are often looking for a nanny that can guide them in certain areas, if you don’t have the experience for that age group then this may not be the role for you anyway.
However, if you are transparent about your experience, lacking experience in certain areas does not have to be a deal breaker. For example, perhaps you might not have direct experience in implementing sleep routines but have studied the area and feel confident in applying what you have learned. For many families, that would be perfectly okay for the right candidate. Honesty in interview is the best way to find the right match for both the family and for yourself.
Think ahead: Daily activities
When preparing for an interview, think about the ages of the child(ren) you will be working with and take some time to think about how you might plan a daily/weekly schedule for them. Obviously, all activities must be age-appropriate – perhaps including arts and crafts, construction, playdates, messy play, singing and reading time etc. Having a firm idea of how fun and the productive day would look with you as their Nanny/Governess will be top of the parent’s priority list when deciding between potential candidates.
Also, take time to ask about their current routine and what the parents want and how you can fit your ideas around theirs. Some are very clear about their needs, whereas others are very much open to gathering advice from their nanny. Taking time to understand their preferences will show you as a responsive professional and a team player, both good things!
It is also good to think about the activities you have done with previous children that they enjoyed and learned from. If you can offer solid examples of activities and explain them both in terms of enjoyment and educational value, you will be showing the parents what they stand to gain if they employ you.
For governesses particularly, it is important to remember that some parents prefer to integrate more formal lessons into the day, while others prefer play-based learning (or, often, a balance between the two). Asking the family about their preferences with regards to this again shows you to be flexible and able to work in different ways. If you are happy to provide tuition and homework, make sure you mention this.
Finally, know yourself! When asked about what you enjoy doing in your free time, you should be able to identify what you like and why you like it. Take the time to think about what your personal interests bring as an added value to the position and be prepared to share your enthusiasm!
We hope you enjoyed the interview tips and found them helpful. The team here at Great British Nannies wishes you the best of luck for your next interview!
If you found these tips useful and would like to gain access to more professional advice from professional career Nannies/Governesses and experienced child care recruiters. You might like to consider taking our specialist online accredited course for Governesses. Here you will find information on all stages of the recruitment process. Invaluable information to give your Governessing skills a supercharge!
Please find a nanny job through this link: https://www.greatbritishnannies.com/jobs/