TestGorilla LogoTestGorilla Logo

30 nanny interview questions to hire the perfect match


Entrusting the care of a child to another person can be a difficult decision for parents – and you want to be 100% sure you’re able to make the right choice, regardless if you’re hiring a nanny or a babysitter for your own family or recruiting nannies for an agency. 

Picking the right person for this role demands objectivity and meticulousness – and traditional resume screening simply won’t give you enough information about candidates. However, by combining skills tests and the right nanny interview questions, you can objectively assess applicants’ skills and hire the best one. 

In this article, you’ll find our selection of the best childcare interview questions you can ask applicants, along with our guidelines on what to look out for in their answers and what skills tests to use. You can use them when hiring au pairs, nannies, or babysitters.

Top 20 nanny interview questions and answers

In this section, you’ll find our selection of the best 20 childcare interview questions you can ask when looking to hire a nanny. We’ve also included our guidelines on what you should expect from skilled candidates to make the interview process easier for you.

1. Why did you choose to become a nanny?

Look for responses that show a genuine passion and commitment to childcare. Candidates might explain that they love working with children and witnessing their growth and learning. 

Expect them to talk about the things they particularly like and enjoy doing, such as helping children develop their creativity, encouraging them to explore the world, and nurturing their emotional and intellectual development. 

The best responses will reflect a deep understanding of the role's impact on children and their lives.

2. What do you enjoy most about working with children?

The best nannies will express enthusiasm about their job and talk about how rewarding it feels to work with children. They might talk about the joy of nurturing a child's talents and interests – or witnessing their growth. 

They could also mention the satisfaction they get from building trust and forming a strong bond with the children, or the creativity and spontaneity that children introduce into their daily routine. 

Motivation is essential for any role in childcare. If you want to go deeper, you can use our Motivation test to make sure what you provide aligns with candidates’ expectations.

3. Are you trained in first aid and CPR?

Beyond a straightforward 'yes' or 'no,' exceptional candidates will give more details about their training, specifying when they were certified and noting any supplementary health and safety courses they've undertaken. 

This demonstrates a proactive, responsible approach to ensuring the safety and well-being of the children under their care.

4. Can you provide references from past nanny positions?

A strong candidate will readily offer references and share feedback or anecdotes from previous employers. This shows their confidence in their performance and the positive relationships they've built with past families and is a good indication of their reliability and trustworthiness. 

Moreover, a willingness to let their work be scrutinized speaks volumes about their professionalism and transparency, qualities that are crucial in a nanny who will become an integral part of your family's daily life.

5. Are you looking for a long-term position? If so, what does long-term mean to you?

The best candidates will have the same or at least similar definition of “long-term” as you. 

They might discuss their commitment to providing stability and consistency in a child's life (and in yours), emphasizing their intention to contribute positively to the family's dynamics while also adapting to its evolving needs. 

6. What's your approach to discipline? How do you manage challenging behavior?

A skilled nanny will describe a well thought out approach to discipline and be able to explain the importance of positive reinforcement, clear communication, and understanding the child's unique needs. 

They might provide examples of how they've handled challenging behavior in the past and what they do to set boundaries. Additionally, they should view discipline not just as a means to control behavior but also as an essential part of a child’s learning and growth.

A thoughtful answer will also touch on how they work with parents to ensure a unified approach to discipline that gives the child a sense of consistency and stability.

7. How do you approach setting boundaries and rules with children?

You can use this question to follow up on the previous one and see what specific strategies candidates use to set boundaries. Look for answers that mention at least some of the following:

  • Use clear language to set boundaries 

  • Communicate the reasons behind rules when appropriate

  • Be consistent and firm with rules and consequences

  • Provide choices within boundaries 

  • Use positive reinforcement, time-outs, and breaks when needed

  • Set realistic expectations and involve children in defining rules

  • Adjust boundaries as children grow and learn

This ensures a structured environment that gives children a sense of safety and predictability and helps them develop their communication skills and sense of self. 

8. What strategies do you use when a child consistently displays aggressive behavior towards siblings or other children?

This question helps you dig deeper into nannies’ ability to manage challenging situations. 

Expect candidates to talk about looking to understand what’s really bothering the child – maybe it's jealousy or they’re feeling left out – and explain how they’d help them tackle those feelings with patience, empathy, and kindness. 

Guiding children towards expressing their feelings differently and rewarding positive changes in behavior are essential for addressing aggressiveness, as are consistency and clear boundaries. 

9. Can you give us examples of educational activities you use with children of different ages?

Here, the best candidates will be eager to share specific ideas, like crafting, roleplay, science experiments, painting, scavenger hunts, puzzles, and more. 

What’s more important, however, would be their willingness to adapt to children’s talents, interests, and preferences when suggesting age-appropriate educational activities, to make them more engaging and fun. 

10. How do you incorporate physical activity and play into the day?

It’s essential to find a nanny who prioritizes movement and not just entertainment. Skilled childcare professionals should describe a well-rounded regimen of spontaneous play, such as tag in the backyard, and structured activities, like counting during jump rope sessions. 

The ideal candidate will show they’re able to balance vigorous play with periods of rest and keep children physically active and mentally stimulated.

11. If a child is reluctant to participate in activities you’ve planned, how do you handle it?

Experienced nannies can transform indifference into enthusiasm and encourage participation through creative challenges or games. For this, they need to be flexible and attentive to the child’s needs and opinion and offer choices to give them a sense of autonomy. 

Investigating the reasons behind the child's hesitance and proposing alternatives are also essential in creating engaging activities.

12. How do you approach screen time and the use of technology?

Look for a nanny who is knowledgeable about technology but maintains a healthy perspective on its use – and, most importantly, who proactively asks you about the family’s rules about screen time. 

Here, you can ask follow-up questions about the benefits and drawbacks of screen time to get a glimpse of candidates’ critical thinking skills and see whether their vision aligns with yours. 

Skilled nannies and au pairs should use technology as a means to stimulate creativity and learning rather than as a distraction. 

13. What does a typical day with the children in your care look like?

Look for answers that give specific examples of age-appropriate activities that blend educational activities with entertainment and downtime. They might mention structured playtime, creative activities, naps, regular meals, and sufficient time spent outdoors. 

Skilled nannies will look to adapt activities to suit the family’s and child’s needs and send regular updates to parents.

14. How do you handle emergencies or unexpected situations?

In emergencies, you need a nanny who can keep their cool, think swiftly, and act fast. Regardless of whether they’re dealing with a light injury or a major incident, they should be able to think on their feet, perform first aid if needed, contact emergency services and keep you fully informed. 

Ask for specific examples of past emergencies your candidates have dealt with to learn more about their ability to tackle crisis situations and solve problems on the fly. 

You can also use our Problem Solving test to gain a better understanding of candidates’ ability to think independently and tackle issues of all kinds – although it focuses on analysis of data and textual information, the skills it assesses are highly transferable.

15. Are you comfortable with a schedule that may vary from time to time? For example, are you willing to work on evenings and weekends occasionally? 

Depending on whether this is a requirement for you, it’s important to discuss schedule changes during the interview. If you need someone who is flexible, check with candidates the extent to which they’re willing to adapt to your schedule. Make sure you set clear expectations from the start; this would ensure you’re on the same page. 

16. Are you comfortable with the idea of traveling with the family on vacations?

Again, whether you need to ask this question depends entirely on your needs – but in case you’d like to hire someone who’s willing to travel with your family, you need to be upfront and transparent about it. 

If that’s a requirement for you, look for nannies or au pairs who are enthusiastic about making vacations enjoyable for everyone and maintaining children’s routines. 

17. How do you encourage children to play with others at the playground?

Fostering social skills is essential, and any skilled childcare professional knows how to encourage group play at the playground. 

This question enables you to gain insights into candidates’ methods for motivating children to engage with others, share, and participate in group activities. For example, they might mention that they:

  • Encourage group games that require teamwork

  • Introduce children to peers with similar interests

  • Guide children in initiating play and sharing toys

  • Set up playdates with children’s friends at the playground

  • Teach and practice conversation starters or play invitations

18. What would you do if a child shows a sudden change in behavior?

Noticing shifts in a child’s behavior is crucial, and a skilled nanny or au pair is equipped to: 

  • Examine the reasons behind changes with empathy and care

  • Help the child to deal with emotions or stressors in a positive way

  • Keep parents in the loop and share with them their observations

That said, every child experiences fluctuations in mood; the best nannies would know what signs to look for and when behavior changes might be a sign of a larger issue. 

19. How do you manage transition periods, such as introducing a new baby into the family or helping a child adjust to school?

Helping children navigate periods of change requires a strong emotional intelligence and attunement to their needs, worries, and fears. Their approach should center on providing reassurance, maintaining consistency, and showing empathy, which helps children make sense of transitions and adapt to them faster.

20. Can you describe a situation where you had to adapt to a family's particular needs or preferences?

Look for nannies who know how to adapt their approach to families’ unique needs and requirements. Examples will vary depending on candidates’ experiences but should demonstrate flexibility, attentiveness to others, and commitment to providing consistent care to children. 

10 additional childcare interview questions you can ask

If you need ideas for more questions you can ask your future nanny or au pair, check out the ones below: 

  • How do you handle tantrums?

  • What’s your approach to dealing with disagreements with parents about childcare?

  • Describe a time when you received criticism from a parent. How did you respond and move forward?

  • What would you do if a child refuses to do what you’re asking them to?

  • Do you know how to prepare healthy meals and snacks for children?

  • Can you accommodate special dietary requirements or routines?

  • Are you comfortable administering medication if necessary?

  • If you notice something in the household that you're uncomfortable with, how would you address it?

  • What would you do if a child constantly lies or hides the truth?

  • How do you handle a situation where a child is overly attached to you, to the point of impacting family dynamics?

How to evaluate nanny skills

Nannies don’t just look after children. From meal preparation and playtime to first aid and conflict resolution, their skillset is as diverse as the needs of the children they care for. What qualities a nanny should possess also depends on the kind of care the child requires.

Hiring the right nanny is a difficult task – and you need to be able to evaluate skills objectively. Resumes, while revealing, can be subjective and leave you susceptible to unconscious bias. 

Use some of the skills tests from TestGorilla’s library to better understand a candidate’s skills, abilities, and motivation.

  • Communication: Nannies need to communicate with parents, children, and other childcare professionals constantly. Assess candidates’ communication skills with this test.

  • Understanding Instructions: Evaluate nannies’ abilities to understand and follow instructions.

  • Time Management: Make sure candidates are able to manage their time effectively.

  • Motivation: Are your candidates’ expectations aligned with what you can offer? Find out with this test. 

To these, you can add personality tests for a deeper look into candidates’ behavior, predispositions, and preferences.

Follow up the tests with our nanny interview questions from this article to assess candidates’ preparedness to deal with various real-life scenarios and situations.

Use skills tests and structured interviews to hire the best nanny 

Besides family members, a nanny becomes one of the most important people in a child’s life. So, hiring the right person is essential to ensuring proper care and growth.

Skills tests reveal a candidate’s creativity, patience, and resilience when working with children – while structured interviews enable you to gain deeper insights into the best candidates’ experience and skills.

Sign up for a free demo to see how TestGorilla’s skills-based approach to hiring can help you find the best nanny – or use our free plan to start evaluating candidates today.


Hire the best candidates with TestGorilla

Create pre-employment assessments in minutes to screen candidates, save time, and hire the best talent.

The best advice in pre-employment testing, in your inbox.

No spam. Unsubscribe at any time.

TestGorilla Logo

Hire the best. No bias. No stress.

Our screening tests identify the best candidates and make your hiring decisions faster, easier, and bias-free.

Free resources

Anti-cheating checklist

This checklist covers key features you should look for when choosing a skills testing platform

Onboarding checklist

This resource will help you develop an onboarding checklist for new hires.

How to find candidates with strong attention to detail

How to assess your candidates' attention to detail.

How to get HR certified

Learn how to get human resources certified through HRCI or SHRM.

Improve quality of hire

Learn how you can improve the level of talent at your company.

Case study
Case study: How CapitalT reduces hiring bias

Learn how CapitalT reduced hiring bias with online skills assessments.

Resume screening guide

Learn how to make the resume process more efficient and more effective.

Recruiting metrics
Important recruitment metrics

Improve your hiring strategy with these 7 critical recruitment metrics.

Case study
Case study: How Sukhi reduces shortlisting time

Learn how Sukhi decreased time spent reviewing resumes by 83%!

12 pre-employment testing hacks

Hire more efficiently with these hacks that 99% of recruiters aren't using.

The benefits of diversity

Make a business case for diversity and inclusion initiatives with this data.