It is normal in a modern urban setting for mothers to be working, which gives them little time, if ever, to take care of their children regularly. In place of mothers, nannies are put into place and in choosing one, a mother would pick someone who she thinks she can trust and can offer help and support.
This creates a situation where the child becomes more attached to the nanny, because she is with the child more often than the parents are. Ideally then, a nanny should be someone who would take care of your child like her own. However, this is a trait that is rare these days, as nannies are often more interested in the money they would be earning. In a culture where little accountability and brief encounters are the norm, hiring a nanny entails knowing everything possible about her to ensure that your child will be safe in her keeping. Whether you opt to use a nanny agency or track down the ideal candidate on your own, you will have to face an interview at some time.
Previous Job Inquiries
One of the first questions you should ask a potential nanny is why she left her last job. If she is still employed by someone else but is applying for another job, why is she leaving her present employer? The answer to your inquiries about her previous or present employment will help in deciding if she is feasible and if you could meet her expectations.
Best and Worst Child Cared For
Ask the applicant nanny to describe the best and the worst child she had looked after in the past. A powerful question, this can disclose essential attitudes of your future nanny towards child behavior. If she endlessly talk about the worst child but only describes the best one momentarily, it can be revealing. Pay attention to her speech. Are there unkind expressions used in explaining the trouble with a particular child? Did the nanny ever accept any of her responsibilities? A good follow up question to ask would be, could another approach be more effective?
Own Children or Younger Sibling
It may be a plus factor if your potential nanny has her own children or younger brother or sister, and the topic can let you go into other areas easily. Did you take care of your younger siblings? What was your age when they were first left in your care? What age is too young for you?
Inquiring on the philosophy on discipline of your potential nanny will reveal the opinion that she might have concerning discipline. The topic will also provide a nice transition to your own discipline rules in the house. If you do not want your nanny hurting your child physically, such as spanking, this is the time to tell her.
Using a reputable nanny agency does of course make life easier. With candidates pre-vetted you might be happy to avoid some of the more difficult questions, or at least put them to the agency rather than directly to the Nanny themselves. However if you are hiring childcare by placing nanny job ads then the bonus is going to be on you to find out all that you can.