''The Biggest Childcare Provider In The South West''

Don't wear jeans on the first meeting. It will appear that you haven't bothered to make an effort to be presentable and many nurseries object to even casual members of staff wearing denim.  But don’t go to the extreme and look like you are off for a night on the town.  Wear something comfortable and practical for getting down and relating to the children on their level.​

Don't wear too much make up, jewellery or painted nails for the same reasons as above. You are going to be changing dirty nappies, not walking down the catwalk on a modeling assignment!

Don't be late for the interview. Do a dummy run to try and find out bus times, how far the traveling will take whether by foot, bus, car, train or airplane! Allow for public transport not turning up, road works, or bad weather such as snow blizzards which suddenly come from nowhere!​

Take along interesting activities for a shy child to look at such as finger puppets or a pop up book etc and the work which shows the practical side of your training e.g. art folders, photos of the children you've cared for etc.  Most parents would be interested and do not have a clue about the depth of content of your course.​​

At the interview (without making it too obvious) ignore the parents and concentrate on the children and getting to know them.  Get down on the floor, play with them, talk to them, listen attentively to them, read a story, play a game, the list could be endless.  If the parents see the children relate to you,  you're half way to getting the job! With babies it is a good idea to ask the parents if you can pick them up, feed them, cuddle them, even bath them if its bath time! Do not ignore any older children even if they're glued to "Neighbours" on the television screen. If the children are in bed, ask the parents if they have photos of them or if you can take a peep at them.  Whatever, use your imagination but show an obvious interest in their most treasured possessions – it works!​

Alphabet Childcare is a trading name used by Children's Contact Services Ltd, Registered in England and Wales at 184a Henleaze Road, Henleaze, BristolBS9 4NE, Registration Number. 08423624

copyright © Alphabet Childcare Ltd All Rights Reserved

​Good luck - The Alphabet team..

If you are unemployed temporarily, do temporary work to show the parents that you have used your time effectively or perhaps do some voluntary work at the local playgroups, churches or schools. As well as giving you more experience with different environments, this will give you a chance to collect more references which will ultimately help you find the right job.  One final point.  Read lots of books on child care in your spare time and mention that you keep up to date with modern child care issues.
Prepare yourself, it is a good idea to do an exercise and plan a week's menu and present it to the parents to show what you would probably feed their children every day. It will look as if you are full of initiative and you won't have to think at the top of your head when asked for examples.
  • Routines and Activities. Good nannies are well organized. They are aware of establishing routines for meal times, sleep patterns and play times. You have to find time to complete your nursery duties and balance the day with activities that are appropriate for the age group of the children and encourage all aspects of their development. Again, try writing a programme of  what you would do with the children during the course of a week.​

Collect ideas from the local libraries, sports centres and try to obtain a copy of the "Titch-Hikers’ Guide to Bristol" which lists all the local toddler groups, soft play, water baby sessions, rumpus rooms, city farms and other activities in the area. Alternate quiet times with busy times, and as well as their social and physical development, concentrate on encouraging the children's language development through stories, rhymes, jingles and songs and their creative abilities with art and crafts, water, sand and clay.

  • Attitudes. Your attitude to discipline will obviously be discussed but also the parents may cover your views on giving chocolates/sweets to the children, how much television you will permit, your views on potty training etc, etc. With delicate matters such as this being discussed, it is advisable to control the interview yourself by asking the questions before the issue is raised e.g. ask how the parents encourage their child's table manners and general good behaviour or are they one of the few lucky parents whose children are never naughty and always do as they told? (Try and keep this light hearted, you must not offend the parents or be misinterpreted by what you say!)
  • First Aid and Common Illnesses. Typical questions could be "What would you do if my child fell on broken glass at the park?" Or "What would you do if my child was choking on a piece of bread?" Or "What are the first signs of meningitis?" "What is the correct body temperature for a baby?" 

  • ​Health and Safety. This could be outside the home and indoors. Typical questions could be "If you were transporting the children to Toddler group and a car went into the back of you, what would you do?" Or "If you were cooking the lunch, what would you do with the children?"

  • ​Food and Nutrition. Parents need to know that you are aware of what constitutes a healthy diet. That you are able to plan a week's menu for their children at 6 months, 1 year and say, at 3 years. When do you give semi skimmed milk, let them eat nuts, or do your culinary skills not stretch any further than opening a can of spaghetti and putting oven chips in front of the child at every meal time? Although there is a place for convenience foods using packets, jars, tins and take-away's, it must not form part of their daily diet.
The questions you are likely to be asked usually fall into five categories.
  • Make sure that you have asked yourself the full reasons why you want the job. Try not to say it’s just two blocks away from where you live or that the pay seems goodholidays are generous etc!  You want the job because you want to work with one child (or two, three, four, five etc).  Or perhaps it's because the children are the age you particularly like working with, or because the parents are keen on a holistic approach to child care, etc, etc.  Details which you should be able to find from a good agency.

  • ​When asked what questions you may have, it is advisable not to say,  "Well I think you have covered all of it" unless you have been there three hours!  Have some questions up your sleeve or written down on a piece of paper.  At this stage, do not ask about the conditions of  employment such as pay, holidays, time off, perks of the job etc,  wait to be called back for a second interview and that will give you the opportunity to discuss most of these matters, unless of course, the parents volunteer the information anyway!

  • ​Ask questions concerning the children. If they are babies, what kind of pregnancy / labour / birth did the mother have? Does the baby sleep through the night? Is s/he being bottle or breast fed? Is s/he allergic to anything? Has s/he cut her first tooth? etc.  If older children, what are their likes/dislikes? Their favourite toysgames, activities? Have they been swimming? or to the local toddler groups? Are they in the tantrum stage? If so, how did they handle those tantrums?

Next, the questions. This is going to form the core of the interview. Getting to know you is important for the parents but equally as important is the chance for you to get to know the family, and whether you want to care for their children!
In the interview process the first impression of you will be your C.V.   So what makes a winning C.V?  One that should not be longer than two sides of A4 paper, or the reader may get bored!  It should definitely concentrate on your key skills and abilities and it has to be interesting from the opening line to entice the recipient to read further and actually form a desire to invite you for an interview.  Rambling on about your previous duties or why you left previous positions promotes a negative image. Emphasize your strengths such as your "talent" for art/swimming/playing nursery rhymes on the piano etc and how the children in your care will benefit from those interests of yours.  Skip over your weaknesses such as not having very high grades for GCSE's or no driving licence etc. anything which again could appear negative.
Then, when your CV gets you the interview, this is usually your one and only chance of getting it right, face to face!  So, to create a good impression, here are a few simple points to consider.
Normally, there are too few jobs available which seem ideal and too many candidates applying for the same jobs.  Therefore, you have to set yourself apart from the masses, or look at alternative options such as those positions which are not quite as popular i.e. two or three part time vacancies which could still offer you a full working week.
The majority of the time, your unsuccessful application is down to the fact that you have not prepared yourself adequately for the kind of questions you are likely to be asked, and/or you are too nervous to present a positive image of your capabilities to the potential employer. We hope some tips will help overcome these problems.  Most potential employees feel comfortable if they know what to expect as part of their duties, what should be included in a Contract of Employment, and who sorts out the Tax and National Insurance etc.
One of the most important objectives of Alphabet Childcare is to assist you, wherever possible, to secure the right job. Sometimes, you may have the qualifications and experience necessary for a particular position, but you are not successful in obtaining that job offer.  This is where our Agency can help.

Interview tips for nannies and families - Let us support you every step of the way.