Before you go to the interview make sure you have done your research. Ask the agency for a job description of the role, do a little research about the parents and family.
If it is a housekeeper/nanny role, make sure you know the ages of the children, their genders and if possible their names. Also ask how much childcare you are expected to undertake.
Prepare a list of questions you have about the role – for example if the position is a housekeeper / cook role, ask what sort of meals the family enjoys and do they have any special dietary requirements.
Always ensure you have told someone where your interview will be and never arrange to meet in a hotel room – safety first!
You only get one chance at this and often it can make or break the interview!
Wear something smart, but appropriate for the role you are applying for. Your future boss does not want to see you wearing mini skirts or stiletto heels and as you are not applying for office work a business suit does not give the right impression either. Smart black trousers and a nice top go a long way!
Don’t wear too much make up, tie your hair back neatly, make sure your finger nails are clean and short and that your mobile phone is switched off.
Be aware of your body language, sit up straight, make eye contact, speak clearly and concisely and think before answering questions. Practice a strong hand shake and remember to smile, relax and enjoy the interview!
Timing & Punctuality
Make sure you have done your research on where you’re going, Google maps is very helpful with directions and will tell you how to drive or walk, and how long it is likely to take.
If in London it will even give you public transport information. Another good website for London is journeyplanner.tfl.gov.uk
Always allow a little extra time in case of delays or traffic, however don’t arrive at an interview more than five minutes early as this does not create a good first impression.
Make sure you have the contact number and full name of the person you are meeting and if you are having problems, please do call them and explain, failing that call your agency so they can act.
Have a positive attitude, listen to the client’s questions and answer them clearly. Try and avoid yes/ no answers but equally don’t ramble on. Don’t tell too many personal stories or stories about past employers and be discrete. Remember always show an interest.
If you are asked about your salary requirements and you do not feel comfortable discussing details, tell the client that you would prefer the agency to handle this. If you have travel expenses to be reimbursed, make sure you give receipts to the client. You should make sure you have checked with your agency first that the client is happy to cover this cost – never assume!
At the end of the interview make sure you have covered all your questions and then thank the family for taking the time to meet with you.
References & Portfolio
Always make sure you take with you to the interview your current CV (make sure you have checked for spelling errors), references, certificates, driving licence, work permit (if applicable) and CRB. Make sure you have the originals with you but prepare a secondary folder of copies to leave with the family – ensure you never leave your original copies behind!
Suggestions for good portfolios include enclosing a sample menu plan, list of activities you have done with your charges and a few photos of you doing the activities.
Call your agency up to give them feedback about the interview. If you have promised to forward anything on to the client make sure you do this promptly.
If you are called back for a second interview or a trial, be prepared to spend some time with the children and remember to get down on the floor with them and be very hands on. If the family have a baby, ask to hold the baby, but remember to wash your hands first!