For many new parents, hiring that first non-family babysitter can be a harrowing experience. After all, you are trusting a virtual stranger with your baby. Fortunately, while first impressions are important during an interview with a prospective babysitter, there are concrete steps you can take to make sure you’re getting the best possible childcare.
Heading into an interview, it’s a good idea to have some questions prepared ahead of time. This ensures you will ask the right questions to make the most informed decision. While you can certainly structure an interview in any way you see fit, here are some examples of the typical structure of a 10- to 15-minute babysitter interview.
In most interviews, you, the interviewer, have a resume on hand. Since many babysitters are still in high school or college, their resumes may be a little thin or even nonexistent. Ensure you have the basics when you begin, though. This includes contact information and address. Does your babysitter text? Is email faster for contacting? Knowing the best modes of communication will help.
Next, you will need to know if you can afford your babysitter. Ask your babysitter for his or her rate. The website Care.com has a “Babysitting Pay Calculator” that gives examples of typical babysitter pay for your area. Your babysitter may even ask you what you perceive as fair. Having a typical range of what you are willing to pay can help you understand if the partnership will work from the beginning.
Ask great questions
Now that you’ve gotten the basics down, it’s time to get into more thought-provoking questions. Pay careful attention to what is being said, as well as the body language associated with it. Remember that babysitters are not always professional interviewees, but he or she should come across as sincere.
Possible questions to ask include:
- What is your experience in babysitting?
- Why do you like babysitting?
- What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
- Are there any age groups of kids you feel more comfortable with?
- Have you ever had to deal with an emergency while you were babysitting?
- What kinds of activities do you enjoy doing with kids?
- What are your feelings on following a particular discipline routine or instruction on daily routines with kids?
- What transportation do you have available to you? Would you need my help in getting to or from my home?
- What would you expect from me as a parent if you were to babysit my child(ren)?
- Do you have references I can call?
You should also ask questions specific to your household. For example, if you would expect your babysitter to help with cooking or cleaning, it’s important to be honest about these from the beginning. Situational questions are also great to ask. Think about your experiences in caring for your kids and give the babysitter an example: “If you were watching my kids and one drew all over the walls, what would you do?”
After giving your prospective babysitter an opportunity to ask you questions, thank him or her for coming by or speaking to you on the phone. Give your babysitter an example of next steps, such as when he or she can expect to hear from you, or your perceived babysitting needs in the coming weeks, as well as your intention to check their references.
Reviewed by Dr. Kristie Rivers, September 2020
- Contact information and payment requirements are must-know information pieces during a babysitter interview.
- Asking a babysitter what he or she enjoys can give you an idea of whether or not the babysitter is a good fit for your family.
- Giving your babysitter situational questions and asking how he or she would respond can reveal a lot of critical thinking.