Well, you’ve received caregivers’ applications and read through their profiles, and have most likely developed a shortlist of those who meet your criteria … “on paper”. However, there is no substitute for the give-and-take of an interview, where you can not only have your more in-depth questions answered but also get a feel for the sitter as a person. Use the following as a guide for the type of questions to ask your candidates during the interview process.

General Questions

  • What is it that you like about caring for children?
  • What do you look for in an employer/family?
  • What is your rate?
  • Have you ever been arrested or convicted of a crime?
  • Are you OK if a job runs later than planned?
  • Do you live nearby? How can you get to jobs with us? Car, etc.?

Background and Experience

  • How many years have you been working with children?
  • What child care roles have you done in the past? Sitter, nanny, coach, etc.?
  • How many families have you cared for and how old were the children?
  • Do you have specific child care experience in [fill in the blank depending on what you’re looking for – special needs, potty training, infant care, etc.]

Sitter’s Circumstances

  • What is your course of study in school or what is your full time job?
  • Do you have any allergies to cats, dogs or other pets?
  • Are you uncomfortable around or scared of any particular pets?
  • Do you have any particular religious affiliation that might affect the way you care for our children?
  • (For full time/regularly-scheduled jobs) Do you plan on taking any time off in the next six months?

Training and Safety

  • Do you know First Aid?
  • Do you know CPR?
  • Are you familiar with the Heimlich maneuver?
  • Can you swim?
  • Are you familiar with emergency numbers?
  • Can you drive in an emergency?

Behavioral Questions

  • Tell me about a time where you faced a crisis on the job. How did you handle it?
  • What would you do with the kids on a day like today?
  • What do you do when a child refuses to go to sleep?
  • What do you think is the best way to handle tantrums?
  • What is your proudest moment in babysitting and why?
  • What are your views on discipline? Are you willing to change if we ask?

Responsibilities and Tasks

  • How do you feel about play dates for my kids? Can you help arrange these?
  • Can you care for more kids if we have a play date in the house?
  • Are you OK assisting with homework, possibly making dinner and/or doing light housework?
  • Are you comfortable watching my child as a mother’s helper if I decide to stay home during a job?
  • Are you willing to help with overnight care if needed?
  • Can you travel with my family if we need you to?

For Newborn Care

  • Are you comfortable sitting for newborns?
  • What is your experience caring for newborns?
  • Can you change a diaper?
  • Do you know infant CPR?
  • Do you know about SIDS and how to prevent it?
  • Do you have experience preparing and heating formula?
  • Are you familiar with Shaken Baby Syndrome?
  • Do you know the proper size for baby chewables and how to prevent choking?
  • Can you tell if a room is childproofed?

If the Sitter will be Driving

  • Are you comfortable driving kids in the car?
  • May I see your driver’s license?
  • How many years have you been driving?
  • Do you have any marks against your driving record (speeding tickets, accidents, etc)?