You’ve landed an interview for your dream nanny job, and it leads to a trial. This means that your prospective employers are extremely interested in working with you, based on the information and experience outlined in your resume and candidate profile.
At this point, the job is essentially yours to lose, so what do you do to ensure that you wow them in real life and take the new role? We’ve seen many talented, lovely nannies get to this point and then after the face-to-face interview or trial, the families suddenly changed their mind about the candidate. Here are some of the insider tips that can negatively impact your prospective employers’ perception of you, particularly when they’re just initially getting to know you.
1. Showing Up Late Or Unprepared
Making the first impression is a one-time opportunity and doing it right can make the difference between being hired, or losing the position to another candidate. Whether you’re preparing for an interview or a trial, it is imperative that you take the time to get your thoughts in order, have notes or questions written down, and that you have taken the necessary steps to present a professional appearance. Have a copy of your resume and references on hand, (check out our post about what a fantastic resume should look like), and be ready to offer more information about your previous roles. Always show up and be ready ahead of the designated time, regardless of traffic or other potential factors, you need to make timeliness and preparedness a number one priority. You are likely going to be meeting a highly successful and extremely busy potential employer, so present yourself the way that you’d imagine they would present themselves for an interview or trial in their professional environment.
2. Speaking Negatively About Your Previous Employers
In our conversations with hiring parents, one of the biggest turnoffs they experience in interviewing and trialing nannies is when nannies immediately jump into bad-mouthing their previous work environments or employers. Speaking ill of other parents not only makes most parents feel instinctively defensive, it paints you as a petty, immature candidate lacking the basic discretion and sense of privacy that all families require in their nannies.
3. Talking About The Particulars Of Your Relationship Status
When initially getting to know someone, it is reasonable to assume that you’ll share anecdotes about all aspects of your individual life experiences, not least of which is your relationship status. However, in an interview, trial, and even the first several months of working with a family, it can be considered inappropriate, superfluous, and even T.M.I. for you to be dishing about your current love life. These are professional, busy adults that are interested in hiring a professional, mature, and socially aware candidate – they are not interested in hearing about your personal life, not because they don’t care, but because it is outside the scope of a professional working relationship. As you get to know a family, perhaps after months of working with them, you may be asked about your life away from work and it’s up to your best judgment to decide how and what you will divulge, but remember: these are your bosses, discretion is key!
4. Comparing Their Children To Your Previous Charges
Most parents experience an overwhelming sense of love for their children that can exhibit itself in unexpected ways. Parents are often scanning every detail of their kids to look for anything they should be worried about, whether it’s developmental milestones or more subtle changes, they’re already comparing their beloved babies to every other kid around. It can be a source of anxiety for parents and you bringing up how their kids compare to your previous charges makes you appear gossipy, immature, and it shows a general lack of discretion. If you’re willing to talk about someone else’s kid, who’s to say you won’t talk about their kids to a future family? Compliments that require you to put someone else down aren’t genuine or kind, try to avoid comparisons.
5. Derailing The Conversation
As childcare professionals, we obviously spend a lot of time around kids which we would argue is one of the greatest aspects of this industry. However, the downside to spending so much time with little ones is that we sometimes forget how to interact with tact and are so eager for some grown-up conversation that we forget we’re talking to our employers. Particularly during an interview or a nanny trial, it is crucial that you avoid turning every comment into a ‘well, one time…’ story that distracts from the task or question at hand. This prospective family is trying to get to know you, but if you take every interview question into a random sidebar, they’ll become frustrated. Listen to what’s being said and be adaptive. Take a moment to develop an honest, straightforward reply that clearly answers their question, but avoid making it into a five-paragraph essay about your life.
6. Listing Your Personal Pet Peeves Or Demands
As we speak with hiring parents we have found that some nannies go into interviews and trials with a staunch agenda without much regard for the situation. Families definitely want and need to know what your goals and expectations are for the role, but leading with a tone-deaf list of your demands is exceptionally off-putting. Consider how you’d feel in the shoes of a hiring manager if your favorite candidate on paper showed up to the interview or trial and immediately jumped into their pet peeves, what they cannot stand, what days they must have off or else. You may have initially felt like this person would be a good fit for the job, you may even have been totally willing to negotiate some of their preferences and needs, but when anyone dives into a new environment without reading the room, it immediately changes the energy. You’d be unhappy with how demanding this person appeared, and you’d likely move on to the next candidate. It’s always smart to take the time to observe how others are behaving and in an interview or trial situation, be aware of the impact your words make.
7. Lying Or Stretching The Truth
This may seem obvious but some not-so-professional nannies definitely stretch the truth both on their resume and in their interviews. This is not only incredibly unethical, it’s potentially dangerous when your job entails protecting and caring for children. At no point is it advisable to be anything other than 100% honest and straightforward, not only with the potential employers but also with the agency you’re working with. As experienced childcare professionals ourselves, we know how to accurately and effectively place exceptional candidates in appropriate roles. When you lie or stretch the truth, you not only take away the ability of the agency to place you in an appropriate role, you smear your own reputation in a very tight-knit industry, and even potentially put kids at risk. It’s easy: just tell the truth and the right situation will come your way!
8. Being Fearful Of Speaking Up
When you’re interviewing or trialing for your dream nanny job you’ll likely have questions about the role. It’s important to have an organized list of any questions you may have and be prepared to respectfully ask the hiring parents to clarify as you go. Asking questions is vital to making sure that you understand what they’re looking for, just be sure to ask for more information at an appropriate time. Don’t make assumptions about important details of care, but do be resourceful in looking for answers to your own questions, particularly once you’re left alone with the kids. As with any employer, parents are looking for employees who are eager, open, resourceful, and intuitive about their role. Asking questions is a great way to do your job better, and asking them at the right time in the right way is what will set you apart from other candidates.
9. Being Insincere And Name-Dropping
All hiring managers approach interviews and trial periods as an opportunity to really get to know the candidate. If the person starts out with tons of shallow compliments, gushing about the employer’s work or profession, or even name-dropping other notable people they’ve interacted with, it sets a terrible precedent. Humans can tell when other humans are being insincere and we’re innately turned off by it. Sincerity is defined as ‘the quality of being free from pretense, deceit, or hypocrisy’, and when hiring someone to care for your children, you can imagine why you’d be keen on these qualities. Genuine respect for the hiring parents’ accomplishments isn’t a bad thing, but allowing your admiration to turn into inappropriate admissions of love, or ‘casually’ mentioning your previous infamous employer will immediately seal your fate, and they’ll pass on your resume. For more on this, check out our other post dedicated to the topic!
10. Dropping The Ball And Failing To Follow Through
During interviews and nanny trials, your prospective nanny family may ask you for more specific information or documentation related to your prior experience and your qualifications. This is the first time (of hopefully many!) that they are asking something very specific of you, it serves you well to complete this task swiftly and accurately. Be thorough in any agreed upon follow-up whether it be with the agency you’re working with, or with the hiring family. This is your first opportunity to show how exceptional you are at following direction, and taking the lead – two extremely important aspects of gaining their trust. Reliability and trustworthiness are two of the top characteristics that hiring managers, especially hiring parents, are looking for in their candidates. As an agency, if we see that you do not follow up and follow through with our phone interviews, gathering information we need, emailing back in a timely manner etc., you’ll lose the opportunity to even meet the prospective family because this shows a lack of the professionalism that hiring parents require.
Now that you’ve mastered each of these key points, you’re ready to land that dream job and confidently jump into an exciting and fulfilling position. If you’ve got any questions or additional ideas about this topic we’d love to hear from you!
What are some of your best practices during the hiring process? We’d love to hear about your experiences!
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