Let’s face it, hiring a KPS is a very personal process and decision. The information you need to know in order to make the best decision isn’t the same type of information you require when hiring a secretary. The person you hire as your KPS will be caring for and influencing your child.
You want to know about who they are as a person, not just as a caregiver. So while it’s still important to be respectful of a KPS’s privacy during the interview, you have a lot more leeway to ask personal questions than you do in other hiring situations. Here are some things you might want to cover in the interview.
Normally, asking a candidate about her religion is a big no for employers. However, when you’re hiring a KPS, it’s important to know if they’ll bring their religious beliefs and practices into your home or if they will impact the way they interact with your child. You don’t want to ask blanket questions about their religion; however, you do want to ask specific questions about how it impacts their work as a KPS. If your KPS says grace before each meal, is that something you’re comfortable with? If they frame their moral teachings on what Jesus would do, will you be OK with that? If they restrict their food choices based on her church’s or religious teachings, will that be a problem for you? Exploring how your KPSs religion will impact your children is a key part in making a good decision. Also, take the time to explain to the candidate how you expect her to support your religious beliefs and practices. Both sides have to be comfortable with this part of the employment relationship for it to work.
Your KPSs lifestyle, especially if you’re looking for them to become part of your family, might be a factor you want to explore during the interview. If the KPS has a very conservative view of the world, how will they fit in with the very liberal teen you have picked out? If you invite her and a “plus one” to a party and she shows up with her same sex partner, how will you react? If you strive to live a life free from alcohol and other addictive substances and you discover she’s a party girl on the weekends, will that affect how much you trust her to be a good role model to your child? You should respect the candidate’s right to privacy during the interview, but you should also explore the issues that are most important to you and that will impact your family.
We’ve all heard the stories of the burnt out KPS who abused or neglected the kids in her care. Of course the chances of that happening to your KPS are slim, but it’s still a concern. While it’s not your place to ask your nanny about her family’s history of mental illness or about any personal struggles she’s had, it is OK to ask her about how she manages the stress that comes with the job. Does she or he like their own company? It’s a must for a KPS during the down hours. Make sure that she has a healthy work/life balance, that she has a strong support system, that she has healthy self-care habits and that she recognises the signs of burn out. Working as a KPS can be a very stressful job, and it’s easy to fall into the habit of not properly caring for yourself. The interview is your chance to make sure your top candidates have the awareness and habits to stay mentally healthy and happy.
Time off needed
If the KPS is facing a situation that will require her to miss a lot of work, it’s important for you to know that before hiring her. Many employers cannot accommodate a lot of missed days, and it’s a common conflict between nannies and employers. While you can’t ask about the KPSs childcare arrangements or ongoing health issues, you can ask how well she’ll be able to meet your scheduling needs. You can also make it very clear that regular attendance is a term of employment. Most KPSs understand that if they have issues that will keep them from working a regular schedule, they need to consider that when making a job choice. By making your needs clear, you’ll help the candidates you’re interviewing make the best choice.
It can be hard to ask the tough questions, but doing so will help you hire the person that is best suited for your family and that will be most successful in your position.