Monday, March 1, 2010

Tips for a Great Interview

By Colleen O’Connor

With the job market as competitive as it is, acing an interview is more important than ever. At Nannies from the Heartland we provide our nannies with an interview guide to help them do just that. Here’s a bit of our best advice.

Dress professionally. Many nannies make the mistake of dressing for an interview as they would for a day on the job. Casual attire may be practical for the day-to-day work, but step it up a notch for the interview. Business casual is a good guideline. If you’re meeting the family in their home, wear socks or nylons so your feet aren’t bare when you remove your shoes.

Get to know the children. Take time to ask questions about the family’s lifestyle and the children’s personalities. If you get to meet the children, show interest in them. We know that you’re also interested in practical matters such as salary, but parents are focused foremost on finding the best caretaker for their family. This can be a personal and emotional decision, so make sure to show your love for children. Details about pay and benefits can be addressed later, often in a second interview.

Be prepared. Anticipate the interview questions and rehearse answers that highlight your best qualities. Expect to discuss your experience with and outlook on:

• Activities and recreation
• Child development
• Education
• Discipline
• Nutrition and meal prep
• Safety and emergencies
• Housekeeping

If your interviewers don’t bring up these topics, feel free to do so yourself. You want to make sure the family’s outlook is compatible with yours.

Send a thank-you. Follow up your interview with a thank-you note or e-mail. This gives you the opportunity to express your enthusiasm about the job and (briefly) reiterate why you’d be a great fit. A note will set you above the crowd and show how courteous and professional you are. I personally had a former boss tell me that she was unsure about hiring me until I sent a thank-you note. That simple gesture gave her confidence that I’d be a good employee.

With some preparation, you should be able to shine in an interview and find a family who will appreciate everything you can bring to the job.

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