When it’s time to find the perfect babysitter for your family, where do you start? How do you ensure you pick the best fit? Like with any job, the interview process for hiring your new caregiver is a crucial step in determining if someone is qualified to work with your family and a great personality fit for the kids. To make sure this process goes as smoothly as possible, you should prepare a series of interview questions that will help you gain insights into your potential babysitter.
This interview process is not necessarily easy. There are so many things you’ll want to learn about this person who will essentially become an extended part of the family and so little time. They will be partially responsible for the safety, well-being, education, and social development of your kids. Let’s make sure you have the right questions ready so that you hire the best fit possible.
A great place to start the interview is by ironing out your exact expectations and needs. If your prospect can meet them, great! If not, better to find out at the start of the interaction, rather than at the end—or after you’ve hired them.
How much do you charge? What is your hourly rate?
I recommend including a pay range that you’re comfortable with your job description so that all applicants understand your budget. From there, let the sitter share their typical hourly rate in the interview. Keep in mind that the cheapest option may not always be the best option!
What days and hours are you available? Do you have any other jobs/commitments?
Again, you will want to provide the expected time commitment in your job description to save yourself some time, but it’s good to confirm that your interviewee can commit to the time you have requested. This is especially crucial if they have additional jobs. If they do have other commitments, confirm the hours they’ll be booked elsewhere so that you are aware of their availability.
Are you available on short notice? Are you okay if you end up having to stay later than planned?
It’s nice to have a babysitter that can pull through for a spontaneous need. Even if they are available later than planned or on short notice, let your sitter know that you will always do your best to communicate your needs in advance.
Where do you live? What's your mode of transportation?
This is absolutely key to your list of babysitter interview questions. If the potential sitter lives two hours away, it’s simply impractical to hire them. Confirm their location and how they get to and from work.
Are you comfortable with pets?
For the pet owners! Let potential caregivers know if you have an animal in your family before you hire them.
Health and Safety
Your babysitter will be responsible for your children’s safety. Find out their health and safety training, background, and how they might handle difficult situations with a few pertinent questions.
Do you know how to do or have CPR and first aid certification?
You want to ensure your kids’ safety in case of an emergency—make sure your sitter has CPR and first aid training at a minimum. Keep in mind that infant, toddler, and school-age children have different CPR certification levels. Make sure the sitter is certified depending on your kids’ age.
Do you have a driver's license? How long have you been driving?
Your sitter may sometimes be required to provide transportation for your children. If so, make sure they have a license with a clean driving record.
Can you swim?
If you own a pool or your kids love visiting the local water park, your sitter should be confident in large bodies of water.
Are you familiar with nutrition and how to look for potentially harmful ingredients? Have you handled allergy attacks before?
This question is important for several reasons. Perhaps your family lives vegetarian or gluten-free. Your sitter is responsible for upholding those dietary restrictions. Additionally, if your child has allergies, your babysitter will need to know what food they consume, and be quick, calm, and collected in the event of an allergic reaction. Ask how your caregiver might handle this situation.
Before diving into your babysitter interview questions, be sure to review the interviewee’s resume and work experience. Then, you can ask these questions to gain more insights and to get a glimpse of your potential caregiver’s passion.
How many families have you babysat for? How many years have you worked with kids?
While you may glean this information from their resume, hearing your sitter talk about their experience will help you connect—and possibly learn about something that isn’t highlighted on paper.
What activities do you do with the children?
Time to see how creative your potential sitter can get! Hearing about activities the babysitter enjoys doing with kids tells you about their caregiving style.
What is your proudest babysitting moment?
This will provide you with a glimpse into your potential sitter’s passion. Watch how they answer this question. It may not be something grand, but it should be something that brings a smile to their face.
What do you like least about babysitting?
This is an honesty check! Find me someone who LOVES changing diapers or is overjoyed by a tantrum in the middle of Target. We all know that there are moments when caring for children is just hard. That’s okay! It’s a part of the experience. Encourage the sitter to be honest—their answer will not be held against them.
The babysitter you interview may shine on paper, but you need a few more prodding questions to find out if they fit into your family ecosystem.
What are your views on discipline?
Make sure your sitter’s views align with your family practices. Take time to listen here—you may learn something new! Be sure to share your family’s views as well, to ensure they understand your expectations.
How do you handle tantrums or difficult behavior?
Again, this can also prove a learning moment. Babysitters with the right experience have a wealth of information on handling difficult behavior.
What do you look for in a family/employer?
The interview process is a two-way street. Provide time for your potential sitter to specify their expectations and preferences as well.
Are you comfortable with driving and/or taking the children outdoors (mall, park, library, school, etc.)?
This is a point to also include in your job posting. If the sitter is required to drive your kids, they should have a heads up before the interview process. This is just a time to verbally confirm. For parts of the country that don’t require cars to get around, make sure your sitter is confident walking around the neighborhood or taking public transportation.
Are you comfortable with having the children's friends over?
It’s fantastic if your sitter is comfortable supervising additional children! Just be prepared to compensate them a bit extra per hour—more kids means more work for your sitter. You should also confirm that they have the knowledge and experience needed to handle a larger group.
Beyond The Babysitter Interview Questions
Now that you have your interview guide map, what comes next?
No matter how much you might love a prospect, it is crucial to complete a background check to ensure they are who they’ve told you. You just never know! For the safety of your family, do not skip this step.
Also, make sure your babysitter spends some time with your kids before hiring them. This could be a quick 15-20 minute play session after the interview. Once the sitter leaves, ask your kids about their experience. Children are painfully honest, and this will work to your benefit. It will be very obvious whether they loved or despised their potential caregiver.
You may scroll through all of this and think YIKES! What a long process! It’s worth the work, but there are ways you can minimize some parts of the process.
Book a Babysitter with Nanno
When you book a babysitter through Nanno, you ensure that your prospects come already vetted along with a stringent set of background checks. You can rest assured that no matter who you ultimately choose, they will be a competent and safe pick for your family.
Sign up today to see how Nanno might be able to simplify your hunt for the babysitter you need. !