What to Expect at a Babysitting Interview
I'll walk you through the major steps of a babysitting interview process so you'll know how to prepare and what to expect.
It's natural to be nervous about your upcoming babysitting interview. You might even be second-guessing what you should wear to make sure that you're taken seriously and seen by the parents as a professional.
What should you wear to a babysitting interview? Wear comfortable, smart-casual clothes that are practical for playing on the floor with kids and cleaning up messes. Demonstrate good hygiene, shower and brush your teeth, use a restrained hairstyle, cut your nails short, and keep makeup, jewelry, and perfume to a minimum. Always wear covered shoes.
65% of employers say that clothing could be a factor they use to decide between two otherwise equal candidates . So dressing appropriately for interviews could be the difference between getting a job or not!
By the end of this article, you should feel confident about what you should (and shouldn't) wear to a babysitting interview!
Here are some great tips to keep in mind when choosing an outfit for your babysitting interview.
You probably know how you'd be expected to dress for an interview at a bank or office job.
That's the kind of jobs that we see all the time in television shows and movies, so it's what we think an interview should look like.
In those kinds of interviews, it's not uncommon to wear a button-down shirt, a blouse, or even a suit!
But we don't really see interviews for jobs like babysitting portrayed in the media, or even really talked about! If you dress for a babysitting interview like you're going to interview at a big company, then you're probably overdoing it and might actually risk coming off a bit odd or out of touch.
You may think that there's no such thing as overdressing for an interview and it's better to be too formally dressed than not formal enough. But when it comes to babysitting interviews, that's not necessarily true!
Of course, you want to come across as professional to prospective parents. That means no ripped clothing or generally dressing sloppily. But you also want to dress in a way that lets parents imagine what it would be like to have you as a childcare provider.
Think about it. If you're babysitting young and active children, you won't be rolling around on the floor in a skirt!
Watching kids naturally gets messy. If you wear an expensive dress or a suit that can only be dry cleaned, the parents you speak to might worry that you will have trouble getting dirty when the time comes.
Instead of overdoing it, just focus on clean and neat clothes. Perhaps a little more formal than you'd normally wear day to day. For example, if you normally just wear a t-shirt, try upgrading to a polo shirt. That's really as formal as you need to get for a job where you'll be changing diapers!
For more details on how to dress, check out my article: What to Wear When Babysitting
You might need to end up going to your babysitting interview straight from school or a different job.
I get it. Like most people, you've got a busy life and it can be hard to fit everything in!
If you're going to go to a babysitting interview straight from somewhere else though, it's a good idea to let the parents know in advance.
That way it won't be as much of a shock when you show up wearing your work outfit or school uniform.
Most parents will understand if you need to do this. If you're concerned, you can always pack an extra change of clothes and change in the bathroom before you head to your interview. Just be sure to pack your clothes carefully so they don't get wrinkled.
The one thing I'd avoid is going to a babysitting interview right after sports practice. You won't make a very good impression in a sweaty soccer uniform and it comes across as unprofessional.
You don't need to go over the top with your hygiene. You don't need to exfoliate your skin or anything super complicated.
Just be sure to do the basics before your interview like showering, washing your face, brushing your hair, and wearing deodorant. If you plan on eating before your interview, it's a good idea to brush and floss your teeth before you leave. Especially if you're eating something messy that could get stuck in your teeth.
If you wear makeup, you want to keep it neutral and light. It should be minimal.
You don't want to look like you're going out to a club or starring in a musical. You want to wear just enough makeup to give your best features a boost if you wear any at all.
What does subtle makeup look like? Avoid foundation which gives a cakey appearance, and start with concealer instead. Then apply maybe a light blush, eyeliner, lip balm, and eye shadow. Try to pick more neutral pastel shades like brown or core maroon that isn't too far off from your skin tone. Avoid bright greens, blues, and more loud colors.
Are you starting to see a pattern here? Keep it simple! That applies to your hair too.
Your hair just needs to be neatly kept off your face or pulled back. Wear a simple hairstyle like a bun, ponytail, or braid. Or just leave your hair down as long as it isn't getting into your eyes.
You don't need to curl your hair or do anything fancy for a babysitting interview as if you were going to prom or a wedding.
You want your hair to look more or less how it will look day to day while you're babysitting.
If your clothes are too tight or otherwise uncomfortable, you're probably going to be party distracted by that during the interview instead of focusing on what's being discussed.
Be sure to dress comfortably so that you can be completely present for your babysitting interview! Make sure your clothes fit.
Avoid any clothing items that ride up, fall down, or generally make you feel self-conscious. Confidence is a big part of an interview, so do whatever will make you feel most at ease!
If you aren't comfortable wearing a skirt, it's okay to wear pants. In fact for babysitting, I'd recommend it. Think about what will happen if you have to sit on the floor or crawl around after a toddler or pet.
If a pair of jeans and a t-shirt is what you feel most comfortable in, there's nothing wrong with that for a babysitting interview. Particularly for younger sitters. Just be sure not to wear any shirts with swear words, controversial band logos, or political views. Either a plain t-shirt or one with a fun character like Spongebob Squarepants that kids you'd be babysitting will love is a great choice.
For older babysitters or those who will be sitting full-time, almost like a nanny, it's a good idea to take a slightly more formal approach to your clothing. A dress that's at least knee-high or longer is a good choice.
Above all else, think of it like a school dress code to decide what would be acceptable. That means no holes in your clothes, even if they're stylish jeans. No plunging necklines, and no spaghetti straps.
Are new clothes you buy for babysitting considered a business expense? Check out my article: Can You Write Off Babysitting Expenses?
Based upon my focus above about being comfortable, hopefully, you have a good idea of what kind of shoes you want to wear for your babysitting interview.
But just in case, let me talk you out of those 4-inch heels. You want your feet to be happy during the interview too.
If your babysitting interview is at a client's house, you might get asked to take a tour of their house. That could involve going up and down stairs and other activities that you don't want to do in heels or platform shoes.
You can't go wrong with a nice pair of black flats. Sneakers or running shoes are also a good choice, as long as they're clean.
You might need to adjust your footwear a bit depending on the season as well. In the winter you could wear boots or Uggs. In the summer you probably want to just wear sandals.
Making a good first impression to parents is crucial, so don't be afraid to get some input from other people before your big interview.
Research varies on how long it takes interviewers to make an impression during an interview. Some studies say as little as 20 seconds. Others say 15 minutes or more.
Whatever the number is, you want to make sure you're creating a good first impression.
A huge part of that is how you look. So check with lots of different people to get a reaction on the outfit that you've picked out for your big interview.
Try asking family members and friends. If you can't find anybody in person, try posting a picture of your outfit on social media and ask people what they think. There are even forums and discussion boards online for fashion advice where you can post and get feedback from strangers for a truly unbiased opinion.
The main thing is to take care not to get offended. Take the information that people give you as feedback, not criticism. They might notice something that clashes or looks awkward about your outfit that you didn't notice yourself when you picked it out.
You should now have a clear idea of what to wear for your babysitting interview.
As important as knowing what to do is, it's also sometimes just as important to consider what not to do!
Here are some mistakes that you can make when going for a babysitting interview.
Remember that you're interviewing to be a babysitter, not dressing for a night out on the town!
Pick a fairly conservative outfit with a high neckline and sleeves and it's hard to go wrong. If you're wearing a sleeveless shirt, you can wear a light cardigan to cover up a bit more.
It's not uncommon to get asked to play with the child you'll be babysitting during your interview to see if you have personalities that match up. So avoid any loose tops that could lead to an embarrassing wardrobe malfunction if you need to bend over or reach for anything.
You might think that you could try to earn bonus points with male interviewers by wearing a slightly more revealing top. But often this will end up doing more harm to your credibility than good.
During the heat of summer, staying covered can be more difficult. But it's tough to go wrong with a basic t-shirt.
For any outfit you're thinking about wearing to a babysitting interview, there's a simple test. Would you wear it to go visit your grandma? If not, you might want to pick something else.
Babies love to grab at big hoop earrings, necklaces, or anything else they can get ahold of.
When it comes to babysitting, less jewelry is usually better for that reason.
One or two rings are usually okay, but I would avoid having rings on most fingers or anything too flashy.
Wearing a watch is a great accessory. It is a subtle way to let your potential employer know that you're punctual.
I'd avoid wearing lots of bangle bracelets which hit against each other and make lots of distracting noise whenever you move your arm.
Babysitters tend to be fairly modest, down-to-earth people, so that should be the look that you're going for.
I'd recommend taking out eyebrow, lip, or nose piercings that you might have as well. This is a personal choice, but unfortunately, many parents could still be judgemental about a more alternative appearance, so it's better to play it safe.
I know that I've put a lot of emphases so far on wearing comfortable, practical clothing for your babysitting interview.
As much as it could come across odd to overdress for a babysitting interview by wearing a suit, you don't want to go too far in the opposite direction and seem like a slob either.
You still want to let potential employers know that you care about your appearance. So even if your clothing is basic, you still want them to be clean.
Avoid looking wrinkled, disheveled, or unkempt for your interview. It should look like you make a little bit of an effort, like brushing your hair.
Pass on any clothing that has holes in it or is overly baggy.
Some people think jeans are too informal for a babysitting interview. Personally, I think it's fine, especially if you're a younger sitter. If you're worried and want a slightly more formal appearance, you may want to swap your jeans for khakis or corduroys though.
Sweatpants, pajama pants, and yoga pants are out of the question!
You might think that your perfume or cologne smells great and don't want it to go unnoticed. That doesn't mean that everyone agrees though.
More is absolutely not better when it comes to fragrances! Lots of people are quite sensitive to perfume, and overdoing it can lead to sniffles, sneezing, watery eyes, and even difficulty breathing.
You never know if the kids or parents you want to babysit for may be sensitive to fragrances or have respiratory illnesses that your cologne or perfume may trigger. So to play it safe, I'd suggest not wearing any perfume or cologne to babysitting interviews at all.
It would be awful to miss out on a job just because one of the parents couldn't stand to be around your perfume!
Like every other part of your appearance, subtle nails are best when it comes to babysitting.
Keep your nails short and leave them natural, or paint them a fairly neutral color.
Even a french manicure is probably too much, and in my opinion, extensions are definitely out of the question!
To many parents, a potential babysitter with long nails gives the impression of someone who might be afraid to get their hands dirty or do real work.
What you'd wear to a babysitting interview is more casual than what you'd wear if you were interviewing as an engineer, a lawyer, or an accountant. Wearing a suit or formal dress may come off odd to prospective parents.
Your outfit should reflect what you'd expect to wear day-to-day while working as a sitter. It should be clean and casual.
Comfort should be a top priority! Pick an outfit that you would feel comfortable wearing while playing with kids or bending over to clean up messes.
If you're having doubts about finding the right balance between too formal and not formal enough, here's a quick tip. Take what you'd normally wear while babysitting (see our recommendations), and just try to take it up one or two notches.
Asking friends and family to give their feedback on your outfit is an important step that could help you avoid some basic mistakes. If you don't have anybody to ask in person, try posting a picture on social media!
By following the information I've outlined above, you should have the "what to wear" part of the interview covered. Now you can focus on other important topics like what to bring and what you're going to say.
Are you curious what babysitting interviews are like? Read our guide: What to expect on a babysitting interview and learn how to you can prepare.
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