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Preparing for a Caregiver Interview

You are a caregiver (nanny, babysitter, or senior caregiver), and you are job-seeking.  You need to be prepared for interviews so that you can ensure that the job you accept is a good fit for you.  Here are five topics you need to think about and prepare informed questions on in advance of interviewing.

  1. What total compensation (including base pay and benefits) do you need to maintain the lifestyle that you wish to have, to save money at an appropriate rate for your retirement and major purchases, and to allow you to feel fairly compensated for the work that you perform?  If certain benefits are not offered by a prospective employer-family, what increase in base pay will proportionately offset the lack of that benefit?
  2. What would your working hours and non-working hours be?  What notice would be given to you if your prospective employer-family needed to change your hours?  Would it be acceptable for you to decline a work hour change that your prospective employer-family requested?  How often would work hour changes likely occur?  How clearly differentiated are working and non-working hours?  Would you be live-in or live-out?  Would you be able to conduct a personal life in your personal space if you were live-in?  For example, what restrictions would be placed on your dating (i.e., could you bring a boyfriend into your room)?
  3. What are the expectations that your prospective employer-family has regarding your work performance?  For example, would you be expected to teach the children a foreign language?  Drive them to their various appointments?  Attend to a critically ill child?  Spank the children?  Cook?  Clean?  Are you able and willing to perform to the expectations of your prospective employer-family?
  4. What kind of a relationship do you want to have with your prospective employer-family?  What kind of a relationship does your prospective employer-family want to have with you?  For example, if you were hired, would you be treated like a member of the family or like an employee?
  5. What is the approximate duration of the job for which you are interviewing?  For example, if the youngest child is 12 years old, perhaps the prospective employer-family wishes to hire a caregiver for only four more years as they believe that their children will no longer need a caregiver when the youngest child turns 16 years old.  Do you find this approximate duration acceptable or unacceptable?

By thinking about and preparing informed questions on the five topics above in advance of interviewing, you can ensure that the job you accept is a good fit for you.

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