Babysitter interview questions you should be asking

Small girl drawing

Here’s a list of popular interview questions you can ask babysitters to ensure you find the best one for your family.  We’ve created an extensive list of questions to help you.  Tailor them to make them relevant for you and your family!

How to Prepare for Interviewing a Babysitter

  • Before the interview, review your notes about the babysitter to refresh your memory about them and their background.
  • Identify any strengths, weaknesses or potential gaps in the babysitter’s background, knowledge, skills or experience that you’d like to ask about.
  • Keep your pen and paper handy!  It’s always good to take notes during or immediately after an interview so you can remember the details accurately.
  • When they arrive, take the time to establish rapport.  Chat about common topics informally, before starting the interview questions.
  • Provide a brief summary of the role. Include details about the ages of your children, their interests, past childcare use, your needs and expectations.
  • Include details in relation to any allergies, dietary issues or disabilities.

Types of Interview Questions

There are 4 different types of interview questions that can be used to get to know babysitters.  These are great questions to gain more details in different ways. It’s a good idea to include a mix of these types of questions throughout the babysitter interview to gather more specific information. Remember to tailor the questions to match the role with your family.

  1. Behavioral Interview Questions - these types of questions ask about how a person has behaved in the past.  This is used to predict how they might behave in the future. These types of questions are also used to find out if the babysitter has had experience with a specific area.  You’re looking to discover if the babysitter has specific experience, knowledge and skills you require.  Questions might include:
  • Tell me about a time when.... you babysat a child with separation anxiety and how did you manage this?
  • Tell me about a time when.... you had to resettle a baby to sleep and they were fussy.  How did you cope with this?
  1. Situational Interview Questions - these questions ask how a person would handle issues or challenges.  The questions ask the person to solve a hypothetical situation. Situational interview questions are designed to find out how a babysitter would problem-solve a situation that might be new to them.  What approach would they use to solve an unexpected problem?  You’re looking to see if the babysitter can reasonably solve issues that might occur when they are babysitting. Questions might include:
  • What would you do if....the toddler won’t go to bed?
  • What would you do if....if the baby is upset after mom and dad leave?
  • What would you do can’t find a favorite toy or blanket for bedtime?
  • What would you do if there was an unexpected power outage?
  1. Motivation Based Interview Questions - these questions are designed to find out why the babysitter applied for the job and what motivates them about this work.  This is to find out whether the babysitter gets genuine satisfaction in this role, it’s not just for the money. It’s also to discover whether the babysitter is insightful about what motivates and inspires them about childcare. There’s usually a mix of both intrinsic motivation (they find the role inherently enjoyable) and extrinsic motivation (it leads to an outcome - such as income). Examples of questions include
  • What do you enjoy most about caring for children?
  • What do you find challenging about caring for children?
  • Tell me about what led you to become a babysitter?
  1. Skills Based Interview Questions - these questions are designed to directly ask about the babysitter’s skills and areas that she may need more training or supervision with.  You’re seeking to find out about the babysitter’s existing skills, and the areas for development.  Examples of questions are
  • What are your top 2-3 skills that make you a great babysitter?
  • What skills do you feel you need to improve to be the best babysitter?

Open-Ended and Closed-Ended Questions

Try to ask open-ended questions that will elicit a detailed response.  Open-ended questions are questions that require more than a yes/no answer.  They usually start with

  • Tell me about...
  • Why....
  • Explain...
  • Describe...

This will ensure that the babysitter talks more and shares information. 

Closed-ended questions are ones that elicit a simple yes or no answer.  Sometimes they’re useful for getting a direct answer to a specific question.  So a mix of both open-ended and closed-ended questions can be helpful when interviewing a babysitter.

Babysitter Interview Questions You Should be Asking

About the Sitter (Motivation Based Questions)

What is your current position (course, college, workplace)?

Tell me what led you to becoming a babysitter?

How long have you been babysitting?

What are the skills and strengths you bring to being a babysitter?

What do you think are the best aspects of being a babysitter?

What are the challenging aspects of babysitting?

Are there any babysitting skills that you’d like to improve?

Why did you apply for this babysitting job?

Relevant Experience (Behavioral Questions)

Tell me about your past experience of babysitting?  When was this, what were the ages of children, how many children did you babysit, was it daytime or night time?

Tell me about what you’ve done during babysitting shifts? (the types of duties including childcare and domestic tasks, activities with the children)

Do you know how to settle a baby to sleep for nap time? (check if they know about setting up a safe sleep environment, putting the baby on their back to sleep)

Do you know how to change a diaper?

Have you prepared a bottle for a baby before and what are the steps?

Have you prepared light snacks or meals for children in the past and what were these?

Have you cared for a newborn / toddler / small child before and how did you manage this?

Have you taken a child in a pram outdoors before and what are the key skills to do this?  (e.g., child harness, pram brake, road safety)

Have you ever cared for children who are upset?  Tell me about what you did in this situation? 

Have you babysat a highly energetic toddler before and what did you do to manage the situation and keep them safe?

Have you managed to care for 2 or more children at the same time and tell me how you handled this?

Tell me about a time you’ve been stressed while babysitting and how you coped?

Describe a time when you’ve handled a behavioral issue?

Do you know about potential choking hazards for young children? Have you ever had to handle a choking incident and what did you do?

Skills for Specific Situations (Situational Questions)

Hypothetically, if this situation happened................what would you do?  (Give an example of a situation your child might present e.g., separation anxiety)

If a child was not eating their meal, what would you do?

If a child was not staying in their bed at bedtime, what would you do?

If an emergency happened (e.g., power outage) what would you do?

If a medical emergency happened, what would you do?

If you noticed a child has a fever, what would you do?

If you disagreed with a parent (e.g., their approach to food/sleep/discipline) how would you approach this?

Are you comfortable with pets in the home (if relevant)?

Babysitter Qualifications & Background Check

Do you have any formal childcare training? (where, when, who)?

Do you have any additional relevant qualifications? (e.g., First Aid and CPR)

Do you have a Background Check?  If not, are you willing to get one before we engage you?  (Confirm whether you will offer to pay for this).

Do you have 2 references available? Can I call the referees?

Interviewing a Babysitter for Driving

Do you have a driver's license and a car?

How long have you been driving?

What is your driving record?

Are you comfortable installing child seats if needed?

Is your car insured?

How would you like to be reimbursed for gas?

Or would you be comfortable driving our car?

Can you take me for a drive to demonstrate your driving skills?

Opportunity for the Babysitter to ask Questions

What questions do you have for us about the babysitting role?

Are there any concerns you have about this role?

Availability & Rates

What days/hours are you available?

How much notice do you need for babysitting?

What is your hourly rate?

When are you available to start?

Are you willing to do a paid trial?

Including the Children

Unlike most workplace interviews, you are welcome to include your children!  This is a great way to observe the babysitter interacting with your kids.  You can find out more about the babysitter’s interpersonal skills and how they relate to the children.  You can also gauge how the children respond to the babysitter.  This qualitative information is highly valuable for getting to know your babysitter and whether they’re a good fit for your family.

Questions you should not ask

Interview questions should be clearly relevant to the role of a babysitter.  Questions should seek to understand whether the babysitter has the character traits, knowledge, skills, experience and physical capability for the job.  Any questions that are not related to the babysitting job and whether the candidate has the ability to do the role are off limits. This might include questions about marital status, sexual orientation, ethnicity or religion.

Closing the interview

At the end of the interview, confirm the next steps with the babysitter.

  • the anticipated timing of your process (days or weeks)
  • potential date for a trial if you proceed
  • when you expect to finalize your decision.

After the Interview

Take notes about the interview to help you remember the details.  Write down any observations you made throughout the interview.  This includes the answers to questions and the babysitter’s interactions with you and the children.

Red Flags

We hope that the interview has gone well.  However not all candidates are the right match for every role or family.  Please take note of any red flags.  Don’t progress any further with a babysitter who has already shown signs that they are:

  • Late
  • Unreliable
  • Disorganised
  • Lacking enthusiasm
  • Disengaged with the children
  • Disagree with you

Very often an early red flag is a sign of issues to come, so it’s best to note this and act on it.  There are many other wonderful babysitters to meet!

Post-Interview Checklist

Remember to complete all the steps of your screening and interview process to ensure you’ve found the best babysitter!

  • Interview completed
  • Credentials and background check viewed in person
  • 2 reference checks completed by phone
  • Feedback given to babysitter and a trial date set

Once you’ve completed these steps you can be confident you’ve found a fabulous babysitter for your family. 

Find the best babysitters and nannies near you!