10 Red Flags Nannies Should Watch For During a Nanny Employer Interview

There are a lot of things to consider when deciding if a potential nanny position is the right job for you or not, so before you accept a post there are several things you want to evaluate. Here are 10 things that may say the job you’re interviewing for just isn’t a good fit.

  1. The job description keeps expanding. The ad posting gave you a good idea of what you’d be responsible for in the job before you accepted the interview. However, the parents keeping adding on job responsibilities throughout the interview. When this happens, it’s a good bet they aren’t skilled at setting and maintaining boundaries, and that you’ll quickly be expected to do much more than you originally agreed to.
  2. You don’t connect with the parents’ personalities. The nanny/family match is a fickle thing. Sometimes even if a job is perfect on paper, you just don’t connect with the family during the interview. When that connection is missing, chances are the job simply isn’t going to work out. Trust your gut instinct.
  3. The parents don’t share your discipline approach. It’s not essential that you and the parents do things exactly the same when it comes to discipline, but it is important that you’re all on the same page. Not only is that best for the child, but it creates a cooperative and supportive working environment. When the parents have very different views about discipline than you do, it’s difficult to develop a good working relationship.
  4. The parents don’t have a clear idea of what their needs are. Before you can commit to taking on the responsibilities and requirements of a job, you have to know exactly what they are. Parents who don’t really know what they need are unable to effectively detail their expectations of you. That most often leads to unmet expectations and a frustrating situation for both parties.
  5. The parents don’t have a management style you’re comfortable with. You can connect with employers personally and still not mesh well with their management style. If you need weekly family meetings but they think talking every six months is enough, you’re probably going to have trouble communicating effectively. If you like to work independently and they like to micromanage everything, there’s going to be ongoing friction between you. Having compatible styles within the employment relationship is important to ensure a successful match.
  6. You’re not comfortable with the family dynamics. The interview is often the first time you get to see the parents together as a couple and the parents and children together as a family. If they seem distant with each other, they constantly bicker or there seem to be other relationship issues that make you uncomfortable, it’s a good indication you’re not a good match to their family.
  7. It’s not a home that fits your personality and work habits. The family’s home is your work environment and sometimes it’s just not an environment you want to work in every day. If you’re a super neat person and the parents aren’t, it can be frustrating. If you like to let kids have the run of the house and there’s only one kid-friendly room, it’s not going to be much fun on a daily basis. Working in a home that you’re comfortable in means a lot in a nanny job.
  8. You don’t mesh well with the child’s temperament and personality. If you’re a nanny that loves being outdoors and the child you might be caring for hates grass, trees and anything else that touches dirt, it might be hard finding activities that you both enjoy. If you’re a person that thrives on order and your potential charge brings energetic chaos to everything he does, that could be a sign that it’s going to be a very stressful job. Connecting with the kids is just as important as connecting with the parents.
  9. There are too many restrictions on what you can do during the day. Being a nanny can be an isolating job. Most nannies enjoy joining a play group, spending the afternoon at the park, or meeting up with other nannies at the zoo or science museum. If you need to get out and about regularly and the parents want you to stay close to home most days, it’s a serious stumbling block.
  10. The family resents how much they’re offering to pay you. If the family is only begrudgingly willing to pay the hourly rate you’re asking for, it sets up a negative dynamic between you and them immediately. The situation will only get worse over time, and most often the employment relationship takes on a “keeping score” mentality which isn’t good for either the nanny of the family.

Finding that right nanny/family match can take time, but with a good handle on what you’re looking for and what you want to avoid you can find the family that’s right for you.

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