For Parents - How to interview a potential caretaker?

First, arrange a time for you to meet in the location where your child will be kept (your home, their home/facility, etc). This will give you a chance to see the facility or to have the caretaker see your home. We would suggest that you have a friend accompany to this meeting for both practical and safety reasons.

Even though it may be more stressful, we would also suggest that you attend this first meeting with your child so that you can determine the caretakers behavior towards children. This is also where it is helpful to have a friend with you to watch the children while you talk through the particulars of your needs.

In this first meeting describe your family, values, methods of education, discipline approach, and your specific expectations for your nanny. You should also ask questions to determine the babysitter's interests, experience with child care, how they would go about handling crisis situations and whatever else is important to you.

If the person has previous experience, ask about her previous family and any situations faced. If you need care in the morning, ask for her morning regime, whether she is an "early bird" or has trouble getting up in the morning. This is also true for the opposite scenario when you need care in the evening.

In conclusion: Follow your instincts, your impression of the caretaker, her qualifications and experience. Make sure you check any references from previous families.

For Nannies - How to prepare for an interview with the parents?

It is just as important for the caretaker to choose the correct family to work with as it is for a family to select a good caretaker. It is important to choose parents with whom you feel comfortable and with whom you will be able to openly communicate. Here are a few hints:

1. Prepare a written contract before the interview listing your terms and conditions. The contract protects you from unwanted situations (late pick ups of child, etc) and also gives the parents clear terms and conditions.

2. During the first meeting, watch how the child and parent communicates to each other. This will be helpful in knowing how they will expect you to interact with the child.

3. Do not immediately try to hold the child. Give them time to get to know you and feel comfortable with you.

4. After the meeting, give yourself and the parents time to think about it. Follow-up the meeting with a thank-you call and use this call to answer any additional questions that may have come up.

We wish you many successful interviews!