questions to ask babysitters

By: Miles Hector

Babysitters are a great option for caregivers with demanding work schedules or in need of a night to themselves. When it comes time for parents or other caregivers to find a babysitter, they likely have a few different options to choose from. 

Family members can be helpful, but they may not always have the time due to other responsibilities. Additionally, friends may not always be available to help you either. Babysitting agencies can help connect you to licensed caregivers in your area that you can interview. And if you know what questions to ask, you can find a great option for you and your family. 

Keep reading for ten questions that you should ask before hiring a babysitter. We’ve also included a short explanation for each question, so you’ll know what to listen for in their answers!

1. What makes you the best candidate? 

This is where potential candidates should sing their own praises. The person you’re interviewing should readily list their professional qualifications and sell themselves with ease. When they’re done answering this question, you should have a clear understanding of their skills, experience level and qualifications. Make sure they’re keeping the focus on their own candidacy, and not bad-mouthing other candidates or childcare centres — a positive attitude is important! 

2. What keeps you motivated in this role? 

Childcare isn’t without its challenges, so you need to see what motivates this person to push past them daily. The obvious answer to this question will likely involve a love for children. It’s not a bad answer, but dig for something deeper. Be wary of candidates who seem to be motivated solely by money, as childcare is rarely lucrative.

3. How do you approach your role and responsibilities as a child caregiver? 

When you ask this question it’s to find out how the caregiver in front of you is different from all others. Just like in any other job, each worker brings something different to the table. You need to find out what choices and influences have brought them to their current career level. Encourage them to provide specific examples that illustrate their experience and journey. 

4. What does the perfect childcare centre look like? 

Any candidate who has worked in childcare for longer than a year should have ideas for improvement. When reviewing answers to this question, listen up for candidates that have ideas on improving the physical environment as well as the social environment. That could look like updating safety features to the current standard as well as developing programs to help children feel more comfortable in the centre. Learn what their ideal environment is so you know what to expect.

5. How do you handle complaints about the quality of care?

You need to get an understanding of how this person handles complaints and conflict resolution. Specific examples can show you how the caregiver has dealt with issues in the past. Were they professional and open to criticism when talking to parents? How’d they ensure the same complaint wasn’t brought forward again? These are all important questions, but ultimately you’re looking to see how well they take feedback on their performance.

6. What qualities do you need to be a caregiver? 

You don’t need an aptitude test to know that not everyone is meant to work in childcare. Ask this question to find out if the candidate has the right attributes in their toolkit. This is the perfect opportunity to throw out some follow-up questions too. For example, if your interviewee lists patience as an essential quality, ask them what tests their patience at work. If they mention enthusiasm, ask how they manage to stay positive at work when times are frustrating.

7. Can you tell me about childcare experience you have that isn’t on your resume? 

There’s only so much one person can put onto their resume.The purpose of this question is to get a more detailed picture of the candidate’s experience. Maybe they are the oldest of four children and spent a lot of time caring for their siblings. Are they a mother or father themselves? People will often keep this practical experience off their resume and neglect to mention it in their cover letter or interview! This can be a great question to ask if you’re fielding candidates who may not have a lot of professional experience yet. 

8. How do you foster relationships with parents? 

A child care provider’s main concern should be caregiving and forming relationships with the children, but they must create healthy relationships with parents too. Remember that child care is a team effort. If your candidate isn’t able to create a healthy relationship with you, they shouldn’t be caring for your child. It’s vital that you are able to communicate effectively with them about your child’s needs, so they should have strategies for bonding with parents as well. 

9. What do you think parents are looking for in a caregiver? 

This is a question you need to answer first before you ask it. What are YOU looking for in a caregiver? It’s most likely trust, respect, qualifications, and a host of other requirements. Once you have your answer, you’ll be able to assess whether or not they have the required skills. Be wary of answers that seem too general or non-specific. You should be fully convinced that they can cater to your requirements and the needs of your child by the end of the process. 

10. Do you have any special qualifications?

Purpose: When narrowing down potential candidates, special qualifications could be the deciding factor. Why? Any special qualifications show that the candidate went above and beyond the minimum requirements to make themselves a better child care provider. This can be a big plus for parents who have kids with special needs or learning disabilities. If the candidate doesn’t have any special qualifications, try and gauge their openness to getting some in the future. This can indicate that they are dedicated to professional development— a benefit in every position. 

Finding a child care provider you’re comfortable with is always a challenging task for parents – especially new ones! But now that you know the right questions to ask, you can feel confident leaving your child in the care of someone you know is right for the job and aligns best with your family’s needs.