Archive for the ‘The Hiring Process’ Category

Nanny Interview: Packaging Yourself Professionally

April 22, 2015

Packaging Yourself ProfessionallyOriginally posted here, on the INA blog.

Nanny Interview and Job Search Tips

What people see and how we look gives others a first impression of us.  How can what we wear impact how others treat us?  Take a look at this Leave it to Beaver clip and the impression Dudley has on the Cleaver family.  Each person forms preconceived ideas of Dudley based on what he is wearing.

On a daily basis, nannies of young children must be able to get on the floor and be active with young children.  How we dress should not impede us from doing our duties with children.  Our dress and accessories should never create a safety hazard for ourselves or the children in our care.  Additionally, some practical sense should be observed when traveling with children, engaging in outdoor adventure activities and participating in messy play. As you work with children, your clothing should continue to cover body parts and absolutely limit overexposure.  Ladies should avoid low cut shirts and pants. Gentlemen should avoid low cut or sagging pants.  Jewelry that could be choking hazards should be left outside the child’s environment if possible.  Most of the time closed toe shoes or shoes with a back are safer when actively engaged in outdoor activities.

Employers may have specific dress codes or suggestions when attending specific events outside the home.  As with any profession, it is important to abide by the rules and policies set by employers and those in authority positions.

When going on a nanny interview with potential families or attending professional development trainings such as the INA Annual Conference, a professional business attire is typically the best course of action to demonstrate professionalism.  Grooming should also be more than a passing thought.  Be sure clothes are clean, free from stains, pressed and fit your body.  Avoid clothing that is too tight and too revealing.  Moderation is key.

Although no one wants to be judged on their appearances alone, what others see first does make an impression.  So in addition to your appearance, your actions speak volumes about your professionalism, ethics and values.  Parents want nannies to demonstrate high moral values and conduct themselves with dignity and integrity.  They want the best caring for their children.

Everyone knows that little eyes are always watching us too.  Young children pick up on what you say and do even when you might not think they are aware.  Modeling appropriate behaviors both inside the home or eye shot of young children is a given.  Did you know that even in your private life outside of work others are watching you?  Yes, others are always watching.  Like it or not nannies are held to a higher standard than many other professions.  Since you care for and teach children, society views your actions to be fair game for others to critique.  This may not seem fair that what you do in your off time is criticized. But, this is the reality.

Moving on from your appearance to your interactions with others, let’s examine some general tips on being a positive person and getting along with others:

  • Be more tolerant and less of a judge. Everyone has their quirky habits. What is “Normal” to you may not be “Normal” to me!
  • Respect differences! Sometimes it is best to stay quiet in situations and less is more.
  • It is best to model appropriate behaviors to children.  They are watching you and taking cues from how you react to situations, speak to others, tone of speech and body language.
  • Don’t offer up your life story to a stranger in the elevator or spill all of your disappointments, tragedies and negative attitudes to anyone who is around especially employers.
  • When someone asks in passing, “How are you today?” they usually do not really want to know your every ache and pain.
  • Those sayings that Grandma used way back when — still apply! “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”
  • Try to listen to the other person’s perspective.
  • Write down compromises and post on refrigerator when trying to resolve conflicts.
  • If it is not yours, then don’t take it/use it/abuse it/ consume it/…

The main concern is how children interpret our actions and
how we model appropriate behaviors. 

You may not be Mary Poppins flying in for your interview but try to set yourself apart from other nannies interviewing for a family.  Focus on your positive attributes and sell yourself by providing examples of your work, an exit portfolio, written testimonials from past clients.

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Top 4 Reasons Professional Nannies Work with a Local Nanny Agency

February 25, 2015

Local Nanny AgencyOriginally posted here.

As a career nanny, you have a number of avenues for finding a job, but finding just the right family can be a tricky task. You want to be respected for your experience and knowledge, compensated fairly, and treated as a professional. Using a local nanny agency can meet your needs and offers you peace of mind:

  1. Personal Attention & Support: When working with a local nanny agency, you will have all the personal attention you deserve throughout your job hunt. Look for an agency with a caring, professional staff to guide you through your job search. A veteran agency with a tenured staff will also have a great deal of knowledge and expertise in the industry. They will match your unique skillset and personality with the right families, and offer you jobs that meet your needs.
  2. Industry Knowledge & Professionalism: When you decided to work with a local nanny agency, you can expect to be treated as a professional. Seek out an agency who is involved with the nanny industry at large, and who knows what is standard for compensation, benefit and vacation packages. A local nanny agency has first hand knowledge of local wage and benefit packages. Families who work with nanny agencies are well educated, and treat their employees with the respect they deserve.
  3. Long-term Success: Families who work with a referral agency have realistic expectations about hiring a nanny. Look for an agency that provides families with an employment contract that outlines the job description, duties, compensation, paid time off, etc. You will also want agencies who educate their families on recommended intervals and processes for reviews to keep open communication between nannies and families.
  4. On-going Support: Local agencies offer ongoing support even after you have been placed with a family. Professional agencies will host events for nannies to network with fellow nannies, as well as ongoing training opportunities for development. They will seek to expand your skills as a nanny professional. Your agency should also offer unbiased counseling and/or mediation should you have any issues with your placement.

Nanny Background Screening is more than a Nanny Background Check

January 1, 2015

Originally posted here, by the International Nanny Association.

Nanny Background ScreeningThe nanny industry – nannies, nanny referral professionals, nanny background screeners and educators – share an overwhelming concern for the wellbeing of the children being cared for by a nanny in their home. We are all child care professionals. Sadly, there is yet another story making the news rounds about a nanny hired from an online venue mistreating the children in her care. The nanny was ‘caught’ on a nanny cam.

The International Nanny Association (INA) and the Alliance of Premier Nanny Agencies (APNA) want to inform parents that a computerized background check is quite simply insufficient ‘screening’ to evaluate a nanny applicant. The digital, criminal “background check” creates a false sense of security for families.

True nanny background screening also must include careful, probing interviews, and thorough reference checks. INA  and APNA agency members are experts at nanny screening.

So what do families need to do to carefully screen a nanny applicant?

Verify Applicant Identity: It is only logical to first confirm that the individual applicant is who she says she is. Government issued photo identification should be reviewed at the beginning of any nanny interview. This can be a drivers’ license, passport, or a state-issued identification card.

Gather a Comprehensive Work History: INA member Daryl Camarillo, Stanford Park Nannies, recommends that families “Verify and interview all previous employers (even non-childcare related) and do a thorough accounting for all gaps in work history.”

Interview Carefully: A common mistake families make is using the interview to determine if the nanny is agreeable to hours, pay and scope of duties. This is totally insufficient to find out if this candidate will be a quality nanny. A good rule of thumb is if the interviewer is talking more than the person being interviewed, you are not asking the right questions. Behavioral interviewing is the gold standard.

INA member Marc Lenes, Wee Care Nanny Agency, states that “It is imperative to meet and get to know the potential nanny in person. Together you should go over a comprehensive employment application and zero in on gaps in work history, discuss previous jobs in detail and gauge responses to gently probing questions that will help with the vetting process.”

Australia’s Placement Solutions’ Louise Dunham shares “Three techniques we use are 1) listen carefully for the pregnant pauses when questioning a referee ..the nervous schooled referees sometimes confess here; 2) asking an open ended question such as “Describe  to me your typical day looking after a baby and a toddler” will soon show you whether they have actually spent a day doing that and whether they are proactive carers and 3) lastly a trick question ” under what circumstances would you smack a child?” The ONLY answer we want is ‘Never ‘.”

Sandra Costantino, Neighborhood Nannies, has more than 30 years experience matching nannies and families. She reports “So often we are told by our families about “gut reaction.”  There is absolutely no substitute for that than in meeting a potential candidate in person and looking into their eyes and understanding their body language and their answer to questions asked and their comments in general.  A wealth of knowledge is transferred without even knowing it. You cannot get that ‘online‘.”

Verify References: HomeWork Solutions’ Kathleen Webb advises families to “Personally speak to all references. Verify how they know the applicant. Ask questions and wait for answers. Avoid giving verbal clues of agreement or disagreement.”

Fake references are a real problem for families hiring a nanny. Experienced nanny agency staff are highly skilled at detecting references that are simply “off.” When checking a work reference, you may want to ask questions such as “When did she work for you?” or “Tell me about your children – how old were they?” You will be surprised how often the person coached to give the reference trips up on the fine details.

When talking to a nanny’s references, experienced reference checkers often try to obtain a third party or ‘wild card’ reference. This would be someone else known by both the reference and the candidate whom you may use as an additional reference. Third party references are invaluable, as they have most likely not been cherry-picked by the candidate and have not been briefed on the reference check ahead of time.

Schedule a Second, Working Interview: Bring the candidate back at a time when you and the children are both present. Allow the applicant to observe your typical family rhythms, patterns, and interactions. After some orientation, step back and allow some time for the applicant to interact with the children independently (you observe). Of course you will pay the applicant for her time.

The International Nanny Association (INA) is dedicated to helping families find quality in-home childcare. The APNA is a regulated membership organization that establishes standards in the nanny and household staffing industry. Both organizations recognize that families are increasingly turning to online nanny recruiting venues when hiring. The INA and APNA feel strongly that the information above can assist a family to better screen their nanny job applicants. We further recommend that families who are not confident in their interview and screening skills, or simply do not have the time or talent to perform this thorough vetting, strongly consider engaging the services of a professional nanny referral agency. “Liking a nanny isn’t enough, we’d would argue your children deserve more,” advises Jami Denis, ABC Nannies.” Hiring a professional nanny agency to walk you through the screening, interviewing, hiring and employment process allows parents peace of mind when they need it most.”  INA member agencies can be found in the online directory at Nanny.org.

Nanny Interview and Job Search Tips

November 12, 2014

Packaging Yourself ProfessionallyOriginally posted here.

What people see and how we look gives others a first impression of us.  How can what we wear impact how others treat us?  Take a look at this Leave it to Beaver clip and the impression Dudley has on the Cleaver family.  Each person forms preconceived ideas of Dudley based on what he is wearing.

On a daily basis, nannies of young children must be able to get on the floor and be active with young children.  How we dress should not impede us from doing our duties with children.  Our dress and accessories should never create a safety hazard for ourselves or the children in our care.  Additionally, some practical sense should be observed when traveling with children, engaging in outdoor adventure activities and participating in messy play. As you work with children, your clothing should continue to cover body parts and absolutely limit overexposure.  Ladies should avoid low cut shirts and pants. Gentlemen should avoid low cut or sagging pants.  Jewelry that could be choking hazards should be left outside the child’s environment if possible.  Most of the time closed toe shoes or shoes with a back are safer when actively engaged in outdoor activities.

Employers may have specific dress codes or suggestions when attending specific events outside the home.  As with any profession, it is important to abide by the rules and policies set by employers and those in authority positions.

When going on a nanny interview with potential families or attending professional development trainings such as the INA Annual Conference, a professional business attire is typically the best course of action to demonstrate professionalism.  Grooming should also be more than a passing thought.  Be sure clothes are clean, free from stains, pressed and fit your body.  Avoid clothing that is too tight and too revealing.  Moderation is key.

Although no one wants to be judged on their appearances alone, what others see first does make an impression.  So in addition to your appearance, your actions speak volumes about your professionalism, ethics and values.  Parents want nannies to demonstrate high moral values and conduct themselves with dignity and integrity.  They want the best caring for their children.

Everyone knows that little eyes are always watching us too.  Young children pick up on what you say and do even when you might not think they are aware.  Modeling appropriate behaviors both inside the home or eye shot of young children is a given.  Did you know that even in your private life outside of work others are watching you?  Yes, others are always watching.  Like it or not nannies are held to a higher standard than many other professions.  Since you care for and teach children, society views your actions to be fair game for others to critique.  This may not seem fair that what you do in your off time is criticized. But, this is the reality.

Moving on from your appearance to your interactions with others, let’s examine some general tips on being a positive person and getting along with others:

  • Be more tolerant and less of a judge. Everyone has their quirky habits. What is “Normal” to you may not be “Normal” to me!
  • Respect differences! Sometimes it is best to stay quiet in situations and less is more.
  • It is best to model appropriate behaviors to children.  They are watching you and taking cues from how you react to situations, speak to others, tone of speech and body language.
  • Don’t offer up your life story to a stranger in the elevator or spill all of your disappointments, tragedies and negative attitudes to anyone who is around especially employers.
  • When someone asks in passing, “How are you today?” they usually do not really want to know your every ache and pain.
  • Those sayings that Grandma used way back when — still apply! “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”
  • Try to listen to the other person’s perspective.
  • Write down compromises and post on refrigerator when trying to resolve conflicts.
  • If it is not yours, then don’t take it/use it/abuse it/ consume it/…

The main concern is how children interpret our actions and
how we model appropriate behaviors. 

You may not be Mary Poppins flying in for your interview but try to set yourself apart from other nannies interviewing for a family.  Focus on your positive attributes and sell yourself by providing examples of your work, an exit portfolio, written testimonials from past clients.

– See more at: http://nanny.org/nanny-interview-packaging-professionally/?code=204&message=User+not+logged+in.#sthash.vD6gyYAK.dpuf

Successful Nanny Shares: The Parent’s Perspective

October 1, 2014

A-Nanny-Share...-300x300
Originally posted here.

One of the things I often hear people say about hiring a Nanny is that it is “only for the rich”.

While it is obviously true that using in-home childcare may be more expensive than using a childcare center, the benefits of a Nanny can be made more accessible when a Nanny is shared.

Share a Nanny? I didn’t know you could do that,” I hear you say. Well, yes, it is possible to share a Nanny in many circumstances, and it is a great way to get access to all the wonderful things that in-home childcare can provide, for a fraction of the cost. It also has the extra bonus of providing extra socialization for the children involved.

Nanny share is quite simple. It involves one Nanny caring for the children of two families at once – up to four children in total. (Our agency’s ratio of 1 to 4 precludes more than four children being cared for in this way.)

In practice, Nanny sharing works best when all the children gather in one of their homes. Most often the home used alternates between the two families in some pattern – it can be daily, or week-about, or whatever works.

Typically each family pays the nanny for their share separately. This is a best practice from a tax perspective, making employment tax reporting simple, and qualifying each family for child care tax advantages.

Other than payroll, all aspects of care are handled jointly. At the start, we interview parents from both families together, and we select potential nannies based on the families’ joint needs. Later, all client liaison visits are held jointly, which presents an opportunity for any issues – including between families – to be ironed out quickly.

Before considering Nanny sharing, there are some things that need to be thought about.

In particular, you and your potential ‘share parents’ need to make sure that you are at one on matters of discipline, nutrition (e.g. sugar ‘allowances’), education (e.g. reading expectations) and screen time (TV, computers and games – and what can and cannot be watched or played on them). Nanny sharing simply won’t work if there is one set of rules for the children of one family and a different set of rules for the other. Where these things are in sync, and the two homes aren’t too far apart, Nanny sharing between two families can be a realistic and money-saving option well worth considering.

Nannies: The Best Childcare Option

April 23, 2014

Flickr-Woman-Smiling-300x199
Originally posted here.

Parents have to make big decisions for their young children starting even before they are born. Will they name the baby after crazy Grandpa Cornelius or wacky Grandpa Walter? What kind of diapers will be used? Will the nursery be painted yellow or green? While the effects of having a unique name may last a lifetime, there is one decision that will make a huge impact on how a child develops: what kind of childcare to use? According to the National Network for Childcare, “quality child care has the capability of promoting trust, autonomy, and a true sense of happiness and well-being in children. It can lead to positive social, emotional, intellectual, and physical development.” What more could a parent ask for?

More than two thirds of children in America have working mothers and therefore are in need of childcare. Most parents must choose between finding an opening in a daycare center or hiring a nanny to care for their bundles of joy. As with most major decisions, many factors must be taken into consideration. However, after closer inspection, it is clear that nannies can offer everything a daycare does and more.

PROMOTING SOCIALIZATION

Gaining social skills is crucial for children to grow into intelligent, compassionate adults. However, a daycare may not be the best way to accomplish this as many would assume. A good nanny knows how important socialization is in a child’s development and will cater to those needs. The nanny can accompany her charges to early childhood classes and play groups where they can interact with the same children repeatedly and build relationships. They can also attend fun outings such as the playground, library, or the grocery store. Taking turns with others on the slide, asking the librarian for help finding books, or putting groceries on the conveyer belt for the cashier are all forms of socialization. Being exposed to a variety of people, environments, and situations will broaden a child’s skill set and knowledge of the world.

ONE-ON-ONE ATTENTION

Children who are cared for by nannies receive more one-on-one attention than those in daycare centers. According to www.childcareresourcesinc.org, “one of the most important quality indicators for child care centers is its staff to child ratio. The fewer children served by each staff member is critical to higher quality care.” Depending on a child’s age, the staff-to-child ratio in daycare centers may be anywhere from one adult for every 3 to 15 children.

Nanny Joy Schreiber of Des Plaines, Illinois, recalls her days working in a childcare center. “Having worked in infant classrooms, I would say that for infants it would be much better to hire a nanny. There is no possible way for an infant in daycare to get the one-on-one attention that they need. Some days all you can do is meet basic needs of feeding, diapers, and naps. By the time you get done with one round, it’s time to start the next.” Only being able to meet the basic needs of infants is sufficient. In addition to food and sleep, babies need physical, emotional, and mental stimulation.

For older children, one-on-one attention is just as crucial. Nannies can tailor activities to a child’s individual interests. Nanny Carrie Corbin of Chicago, Illinois explains, “I come up with age-appropriate activities that I know the child I watch will enjoy. At a daycare, where there might be a variety of ages in one setting, those age-appropriate stimulating activities may be harder to come by.” Toddlers have their own interests and preferences, which nannies can use to enhance learning opportunities.

FAMILY CONVENIENCE

Another great reason to hire a nanny is convenience. Many parents do not work nine-to-five jobs, which means the cookie-cutter start and end times of daycare centers will not meet the family’s needs. A nanny can start and end her workday at any agreed upon time. Many nannies will also be flexible with their schedules as we all know things don’t always go as planned when there are little ones involved.

Having children be able to spend their days in the comfort of their own home is an attractive idea to many parents. After all, home embodies all a child really knows about the world. There are favorite toys for entertainment, loveys to wipe away tears, food chosen by Mom and Dad, and a familiar bed for naptime.

A nanny also means there is an adult at home during the day. This allows a world of tasks to get done that would not with a daycare. Nanny JoAnna Ryan Becker of Perkasie, Pennsylvania, lists “children’s laundry, homework help, meal preparation, grocery shopping, accepting deliveries, and being home for service people” as some of the many ways she helps make her NannyFamily’s life more convenient.

CAREGIVER CONSISTENCY

Consistency means that rules and expectations are the same at all times. Consistency makes the child’s world predictable and less confusing. Hiring a nanny allows the parents to choose a caregiver that will be consistent with their style of parenting. For example, new mother Haley Williams of Olympia, Washington, explains why she hired a nanny. “We knew that going with a nanny would allow a constant in my daughter’s life instead of the constant turnover of other daycare kids and teachers. Ideally, we’ll have the same nanny for several years so that she’ll become close with us, understand our family, and ultimately care for my daughter the same way that we would as her parents.”

All children learn at a different pace and go through phases that require special attention. Whether it’s potty training or transitioning to sleep in a big kid bed, nannies and parents can work together to provide consistent encouragement and learning experiences while helping kids meet developmental milestones.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Hiring a nanny is the best childcare option. Nannies can provide children with everything a daycare offers and more. With individual attention, socialization, and consistency between parent and nanny, children can grow into confident, happy people.

7 Tips for Hiring the Right Nanny

April 9, 2014

Originally posted here.

It’s time. Your maternity leave is about to end and you need to prepare to hire a caregiver for your child. Or perhaps you’ve moved to a new town and need to find a new nanny. Whatever your situation, I know that hiring someone else to care for your child in your absence can be an emotionally difficult and confusing process.

As someone who has worked with parents and educators as a researcher and teacher, and who has a Ph.D. in Psychology and Doctorate of Education, here are some tips that I have found to be helpful in the search for a nanny for your child.

1. Hold preliminary interviews outside of your home.
It is important to interview potential nannies in a neutral space rather than a place of power, such as your home. You want to get a true picture of the nanny — if she is influenced by your environment, you may miss the subtleties that are important to a job interview and a clear evaluation of who this person is.

2. Create a checklist of certain “must-have” attributes and watch for them during the interview.
In general, your child’s nanny should be honest, committed, compassionate, intelligent, caring, empathetic and experienced. Your child’s nanny should have a put-together appearance during the interview: How we express ourselves on the outside is often how we feel about ourselves on the inside. When we meet someone that is disheveled or has poor hygiene, that person may be dealing with some internal issues, including self-esteem. Punctuality is also important, as it demonstrates a person’s work ethic, just like personal hygiene and appropriate dressing. We can only evaluate people in the beginning by their behavior, and mature, responsible behavior often reflects a good work ethic and commitment.

3. Know your parenting style and values, so that you can hire someone who has a similar parenting style and shares similar values. 
Continuity and consistency is high on the parenting playbook. Children need structure and consistent rules to develop security and competency. Therefore, it is very important that nanny follows your parenting style. This is a point that needs to be established prior to hiring a nanny.

4. Run a security and background check, and carefully check references. 
You want to be assured that this person is someone who can be trusted with your child.

5. Look for someone who comes with first aid and CPR training. 
Your child’s nanny should have the full spectrum of emergency care knowledge: She/he should know what to do if a child is choking, spikes a fever or is involved in any athletic accidents, including water accidents. The nanny should always know who to call in case of emergencies and be familiar with how to get to the children’s doctor and hospital.

6. Make sure there is good chemistry between you and the nanny. 
After all, this is the person that you are trusting with your children. There is no job more important. This person is representing you when you’re not present and therefore must hold your values. Children model what they see and they will model the nanny that is interacting with them for most of the day. You’d better like the person you hire as your child’s nanny, since she/he will transfer her/his own values to your children.

7. Know your budget for your nanny’s salary. 
Be sure to go over your budget well ahead of time, and figure out what you are willing and able to pay as the nanny’s salary. This can alleviate any uncomfortable negotiations back and forth between you and the nanny, which can only lead to feelings of dissatisfaction.

Once you think you have found “the one,” I suggest giving the nanny a trial period of one week when you are able to be present. During this trial period, you can watch the interactions between the nanny and your child, and make sure that the values you uphold are also being passed along by the nanny to your child. You can watch for any personality or work ethic quirks that perhaps did not come out during the interview. You can also see how your child reacts to the nanny, whether positively or negatively. Then, at the end of the week, you and the nanny can meet and decide whether to continue further into an official signed contract, or whether it is best to part ways.

What Kind of Position is Right For You?

November 6, 2013

Originally posted here, as part of the International Nanny Association’s Recommended Practices for Nannies.

nannyFinding the right position is essential to assuring job satisfaction. Most families will expect a one year commitment from their nanny. Prior to a job search, to ensure success, nannies should know what type of position they want to secure and for what type of family they wish to work.

Things you’ll need to take into consideration during your job search include:

  • Whether you want a full-time or part-time position
  • Whether you’d like to be a live-in or a live-out nanny
  • Geographical locations where you’d like to work
  • The number and ages of children that you are comfortable working with
  • Which, if any, household chores you are willing to do in addition to the ones directly related to the children
  • Personal preferences you have that may affect whether you accept a particular position.

These personal preferences may include:

  • Allergies to pets
  • Personal, political or religious convictions
  • Lifestyle preferences
  • Parenting philosophies.

Nannies are also encouraged to carefully consider which nanny care model suits them best when searching for a nanny position. There are three main models of nanny care. These include custodial care, coordinated care and surrogate care.

In the custodial care model, the nanny’s role is limited to meeting the children’s physical and emotional needs during their parents’ absence. In this model, the parents manage the children’s day by providing the nanny with specific guidance. A nanny who provides custodial care will not have input into the child’s scheduling or activi­ties and does not have a voice regarding childrearing practices or parenting philosophies.

In the coordinated model of nanny care the nanny’s role is to be a team player in raising the children. Nannies who engage in the coordinated model of care are viewed as true parenting partners. Nannies in this model have a voice when it comes to childrearing practices and parenting philosophies. Their input is not only sought, but highly valued by the parents. These nannies tend to be full charge nannies who are given the freedom to make the day to day decisions regarding the children’s activities and outings.

In the surrogate model of nanny care, the nanny’s role is to be the primary care giver for the children. In this model of nanny care, the nanny may have limited interaction with her employers and may be left to make almost all decisions for the children in her care. Nannies who engage in the surrogate model of care may work for parents who travel extensively, or work in highly demanding jobs and need a guardian type of caregiver to tend to the children while they are away.

12 Tips for a Skype Job Interview

August 20, 2013

images Originally posted at Be The Best Nanny Newsletter Blog here.

Have You Ever Used Skype for a Job Interview?

Nannies, au pairs, and parents don’t have to leave their own homes to have real-time, face-to-face interviews anymore. With modern technology not only are nannies finding more jobs online then ever before, they are also using the Internet to have job interviews with potential employers.

Skype is a free software program that can be used to have interviews via video by using a webcam (a video camera that feeds an image in real time to a computer). Unlike email interviews or telephone interviews, parents and nannies can actually see what the other person looks like and see their facial expressions as they interview using Skype.

Since potential employers can see the caregivers they are interviewing, job candidates should make a good first impressions during Skype interviews just like they would during an in-person interview. Here are some tips for using Skype I found on the Internet.

Before the Skype Interview

1. Download the Skype Software for Free:
Well in advance of the interview download the software to make sure it runs properly on your computer.

2. Create a Professional Username:
I kid you not a friend of mine had a Skype username with the word “hussy” in it because she used Skype to keep in touch with her long distance boyfriend, (and then she wondered why she wasn’t getting nanny jobs).

3. Clean Up Around Your Computer:
Remove all distractions in view of the webcam. Move pets into another room, clean up clutter, and turn off televisions and telephones. Close all the windows, so outside noise won’t interrupt the interview.

4. Adjust the Web Camera:
Adjust the web camera so you are in the middle of the screen. Do not zoom in so the employer can only see your face or zoom out, so they can see everything in the room.

5. Practice by Looking Into the Camera Not the Screen:
According to jobsearch.about.com job candidates should look into the camera, rather than on the screen. You have to look into the camera to look like you are talking to the potential employers.

6. Lighting:
Check to be sure you have enough lighting that doesn’t create shadows or throw too harsh a look into your screen.

7. Choose What Colors You Wear:
Certain colors like many shades of blue — royal, navy, sky blue — look great on video while others like reds and hot colors like magenta can be too bright. Patterns like small dots or stripes can be less attractive than solids so think about a color to wear that is easy on the eye and a pattern that won’t be distracting to your viewer.

8. Dress Conservatively:
Parents want to hire conservative caregivers so cover tattoos, excessive piercings, and dress conservatively like you would in an in-person job interview.

9. Hair and Make-Up:
High quality video shows details on screen. See webcam interview make-up tips onjobsearch.about.com.

10. Practice Makes Perfect:
Have practice interviews with your friends and family to become more comfortable using Skype. Accept their constructive criticism.

During the Interview

11. Close Other Software Programs:
Close all programs on your computer, such as chat programs and email, so the alerts do not distract the employer or you during the interview.

12. Smile and Focus:
According to jobserach.about.com one of the easiest rules to remember when interacting with anyone is simply to smile. There is nothing more engaging than smiling throughout your call with a friendly expression. It is also important is to make direct eye contact. If you scan the room or look away from the camera, you might appear untrustworthy or indifferent. So, look into the camera even though you won’t see the interviewer in the camera.

Westchester Family Article by Susan Tokayer

July 6, 2013

0July’s Westchester Family Magazine features an article written by Family Helper’s owner and president Susan Tokayer. From the first interaction to the final background check, Susan discusses the steps Family Helper’s recommends when vetting a caregiver.

Check it out here: Hiring a Nanny: How to do a Background Check


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