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Kidsit Babysitter with baby

43 Babysitter Interview Questions

(And What Responses to Look For)

You need to make sure that the person you put in charge of your kid is capable and experienced. They need to be a great fit for your family, and have a great personality too!

A good babysitter can make life much easier for you and fun for your kids. But a bad babysitter can sometimes be more trouble than they're worth!

Finding the right babysitter can be hard. That's why you need a list of interview questions to test your sitter and make sure they will measure up to your expectations.

Once you've got a shortlist of applications from potential babysitters, you'll want to meet with them in person. Here are some questions you'll want to consider asking to get a feel for them as a person.

General Questions

It's good to ask your babysitter as many questions as you can think of. Some things that might seem obvious or expected to you could be unusual for a babysitter. The more things you talk about up front, the less chance there is of expectations being broken later on.

1. How much do you charge / what is your hourly rate?

There's an old saying when it comes to negotiating that "the first person to say a number loses."

It's best to let your babysitter tell you how much they want to earn before you throw a number out. You might be willing to pay them $12 per hour, but they might be perfectly willing to do it for $10.

Just make sure you're taking other factors into account like your babysitter's age and experience. The cheapest option isn't necessarily the best.

2. What aspects do you like most about caring for kids?

This answer doesn't matter so much, as long as it's not something superficial like "the money." You'll mostly use this question to get an idea if they have experience with kids.

3. What do you look for in a family / employer?

Probably pretty standard answers here, like easy-going families with well-behaved kids. But you might get some answers about things they don't like as well.

4. Are you okay if we sometimes have to call and have you stay later than planned?

You won't want to abuse this regularly, but ideally, your babysitter will be flexible and not be super resentful if you need them to stay a couple hours later. Life is full of unexpected situations that might come up.

5. Do you live nearby? If not, do you have a car or reliable form of transportation?

In other words, if we call will you actually be able to show up?

6. What's one thing you wouldn't want me to know?

It seems like if you asked this kind of question to a criminal or someone with something big to hide, they would just lie. But that isn't always the case! I've actually heard of one group interview where the interviewer asked everyone this question and one of the candidates just flat-out admitted to doing cocaine before the interview!

7. What are your views on discipline? Would you change if we ask?

Your interviewer needs a way to handle a child effectively when misbehaving, but discipline can be a touchy subject.

Kids need some form of discipline to learn right from wrong and to take responsibility for their own actions.

You want your babysitter to give a warning before disciplining your child because a warning is an opportunity for your kid to change their behavior. Then if they continued to misbehave, maybe the babysitter would put them in a time out.

8. What days and hours are you available? Have you got a curfew or certain time you need to be home by?

You'll need a babysitter whose schedule lines up with yours.

9. What's your favorite age of child to care for and why?

Ideally, you want a babysitter who is confident caring for kids of any age. So a flexible answer is best here, but you at least want them to include your own kid's ages.

A good babysitter should be able to adapt to all different ages, personality, needs, and skill levels.

10. Are you looking to babysit for a family long term?

You want to make sure your babysitter is serious and committed because there's no point going through this whole interview process again next month if you can avoid it.

11. What do you like least about babysitting?

This is kind of like the dreaded "what's your worst quality?" interview question that you've probably got before and had to answer with some corny answer about how you're too much of a perfectionist.

But you might get an honest answer here that could give you some valuable insight.

Basically anything besides "the kids" or "it's a lot of work" is probably fine. Even if a babysitter's answer was changing diapers, I'd probably be fine with that, because at least it's honest. It's my least favorite part of the job too!

Background and Experience

All of the question in this section have pretty straightforward answers, so I won't elaborate on each one individually. You're just trying to get a good idea of your babysitter's experience and history.

12. How many families have you babysat for? How old were their kids?

13. What kind of jobs or volunteer work have you done with children in the past? (Other babysitting jobs, sports coach, etc.)

14. How many years have you worked with kids?

15. Do you have specific experience with X (newborns, special needs, potty training, or whatever you're looking for.)

Sitter's Current Situation

16. What are you studying in school?

This is more of a get-to-know-you kind of question than anything else, but bonus points for an answer involving education, childcare, etc.

17. Do you have any other part-time jobs? Or other commitments?

This probably already came up when discussing availability if they've got one, but it doesn't hurt to ask.

18. Are you allergic to dogs, cats, or any other pets?

If you've got one that matches their allergy, the interview might be over at this point. Unless they want to take an antihistamine every time they come over.

19. Do you smoke?

You definitely don't want them smoking in the house or around your kids.

If they need a smoke break during their shift and need to step outside for a few minutes, are they going to bring your kids out with them, or just leave them unattended?

Even if they only smoke a cigarette or two per day and won't need to smoke while they're at your house, the smell of smoke could still transfer from their clothes into your furniture and might not be worth the hassle.

20. Are you scared of any kinds of pets?

Especially important if you have more exotic things like snakes or tarantulas. But they should be okay with dogs too because they'll probably need to let them outside if you're gone for more than a few hours.

21. Do you have any vacations or time off planned in the next 6 months where you won't be available?

Another part of their availability and making sure there are no scheduling conflicts.

Safety and Training

22. Do you know CPR? Do you know first aid?

CPR is nice to have in case anything really serious happens. But your babysitter should at least know some basic first aid like how to apply a band-aid.

23. Do you know what you would need to do if a child is choking?

It happens more often than you'd think, especially with younger kids. If your kid is choking, they only have a couple minutes before they pass out. So you need a babysitter that won't panic and not know what to do.

24. Can you drive if there's an emergency?

In case something happens that's not so bad that they need to call 911, but still bad enough that they should go to the emergency room.

25. Can you swim?

This one is important if you have a pool.

Behavioral Interview Questions

I really like behavior-based interview questions because they tend to focus more on getting your babysitter to come up with a specific real-life example of something, as opposed to answering hypothetical "what if" questions.

26. What was a specific time where you faced a crisis at a job? How did you deal with it?

Here you're looking for proof that they can keep cool and hold things together while under pressure.

27. What has your proudest babysitting moment or accomplishment been and why?

This one shows they've spent a significant amount of time around kids and have made a difference. It might be something like a baby's first word, learning to crawl or walk, a child making a drawing for them, etc.

28. Tell me about a specific time when you had to prioritize several tasks and manage your time efficiently. How did you decide what was most important?

Multitasking is an important skill to have as a babysitter. The more kids they'll be watching, the more important it is.

They need an effective way to prioritize for those times where one kid is throwing a tantrum, the other is trying to shove markers in your dog's ear, and the phone is ringing... all at the same time.

29. What activities do you do with the kids on an average babysitting shift?

Your babysitter should be engaging with your kids and have plenty of suggestions for games and craft activities that they could do together.

If your babysitter has trouble coming up with answers to this question, they might be the type that will just sit on the couch and watch TV with your kid for 3 hours, every single time.

30. What do you do if a child refuses to go to bed? How have you handled tantrums in the past?

Both of these give real examples of how your babysitter would discipline your child.

31. Under what circumstances would you call me?

There's a balance you're looking for here. A babysitter shouldn't be interrupting you with basic questions multiple times while you're out, but you don't want them to be too nervous to call for something serious either.

32. If you can't get ahold of me, who would you reach out to for help?

It doesn't matter who it is. They just need some type of support structure they can reach out to for help and advice. Whether that's their mom or another family member, a friend, or maybe they look through your phone book to find someone.

33. Give me an example of a time and place when you faced a stressful situation that demonstrated your coping skills.

Similar to the question about prioritizing and multitasking.

Having a stressful situation is okay and it happens. You want to know what actions they took to fix the situation, and what the end result was.

34. Share a specific example of a time as a babysitter when you used good judgment or fact-finding skills to solve a problem.

You're not expecting them to be able to fix a burst pipe with a shoelace and a piece of chewing gum. But they should have an example that shows they have some common sense and can think on their feet.

35. Share a time when you had to go above and beyond the call of duty as a babysitter.

Anything that shows they're willing to take that extra step. Staying late, taking a kid to the mall to see Santa, tutoring, etc.

36. Tell me about a time you were forced to make an unpopular decision.

If they're anything like me, it probably involves taking away TV or candy.

37. Give me a real-life example of a time when you had to make a split-second decision, without parental input.

Anything that shows a willingness to take the initiative or do what they think is right, even without clear guidance. This might be hard for a babysitter without much experience to come up with.

38. Tell me about a work situation that irritated you. How did you handle it?

You need a babysitter that can keep their cool under pressure.

39. What three words would your friends use to describe you?

You could get a huge range of responses here. Kind, positive, loyal, friendly, honest, practical, or mature are good ones.

Words like "fun" might be a sign that they have trouble being serious when needed.

40. Are you comfortable giving the children baths and dressing them?

Most kids only need a bath once or twice a week anyway, so it's not a huge deal if the answer is no. But it would be nice to have it all done for you if the babysitter is going to be there on bath night and they're willing to help out.

If you don't feel comfortable having the babysitter give your kid a bath, then you can just skip this question.

41. Are you willing to take kids out to the park or library? Or would you just want to stay at home with them?

The more engaging of activities that your babysitter is willing to do with your child the better. Plus it shows a lot of confidence that they're willing to go out in public with your kid and not worry about losing them.

42. How do you handle conflict with a kid you're watching? (like not following instructions or refusing to go to bed.)

You likely already asked about discipline in general, but here is a chance to get some real examples of what they'd do.

43. What do you think it is that kids like about you?

You'll probably get pretty generic answers here like being friendly, nice, fun, or goofy.

If they take a while to think of an answer, they might be making one up. Which could be a bad sign and mean kids they've babysat before haven't liked them!

Questions You CAN'T Ask A Potential Babysitter

Now you should have a great idea of what questions you should ask your babysitter. But we also need to discuss some questions that you absolutely can't ask.

It's unlikely that a babysitter would ever try and sue you for discrimination, but it's still best to avoid some illegal interview questions.

To keep it simple, don't ask questions about:

Note: Laws vary about what you can and can't ask during a job interview depending on where you live, so check your local labor department's website for more information.

Related Questions

What responsibilities should I ask my babysitter about during our interview?

You might want to ask if they're ok caring for more children if your kids have friends over. As well as whether they're willing to help with homework, light housework, or making dinner.

What are some infant-specific babysitter interview questions?

The obvious one is to ask your potential babysitter if they're comfortable watching infants and if they have any experience with it. If they pass that question, you'll want to cover the basics like whether they know how to change a diaper, prepare baby formula, etc. You could also ask if they know infant CPR.

Can I ask my babysitter about driving?

Yes. If your babysitter has their license, you might want to ask if they're comfortable driving with kids in the car, whether they know how to install a car seat, how many years of driving experience they have, and if they've been in any accidents or received any tickets.

Next:
How to run a background check on a babysitter.

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