40+ Interview Questions to Ask Your Next Household Employee

The following are lists of interview questions to ask a candidate. They cover a range of areas – from
questions relating to general employment to questions regarding behavior and ethics.

A prepared list of interview questions helps to keep the discussion on track and ensures that all questions and topics are covered.

A list of interview questions is also beneficial when you speak to multiple candidates as it allows you to make fair and accurate comparisons and considerations by examining different candidates’ answers and responses to the same questions.

Also included is a list of questions specific to job type: nanny, senior caregiver, housekeeper, and household manager.

Interview Questions

General

  • What made you choose this particular field of work?
  • What motivates you at work? What is important to you about the household you work for? In the past, in what ways have you demonstrated that you care about the work you do?
  • What do you feel is the greatest strength that you bring to your job or your work? What is an area(s) in which you need or would like to improve? How do you plan to address this?
  • How would you describe your ideal working conditions?
  • What are your career plans for the future?
  • How would you describe your personality?
  • What kind of things do you like doing when you are off work? What are your hobbies or interests?

Educational Background

  • What is your education background?
  • How would you rate yourself academically?
  • What are you doing now to develop your knowledge or talents? What have you done in the past to expand your knowledge in your field?
  • What do you do to keep informed in your field?
  • Tell me about a mistake you have made, in your current or previous positions, and what you did to resolve it.

Work History

  • Why are you leaving your current position (or why did you leave your most recent position)?
  • Of your previous positions, which did you like the best and why? Which did you like the least? What motivated you the most?
  • Describe your relationship with the last household. What do you think that employer or manager would say about your job performance?
  • At work, what have been your major work accomplishments? What are you most proud of with regard to past experience and why?
  • Describe your working relationships with others.

Behavior

  • Name a specific problem you faced on the job. How did you resolve it?
  • Describe a time when you had to go above and beyond the call of duty to get the job done.
  • What frustrates you about your job? Give an example. How did you handle it and what was the result?
  • What was the toughest decision that you had to make recently in your job? What was it, why was it difficult, and how did you handle the situation?
  • Describe how you solved a problem in a unique way.

Ethical

  • What processes do you use to resolve an ethical dilemma? What, if anything, would you have done differently?
  • Tell us when it was necessary to make an exception to the rules to get something accomplished.

Learning Orientation

  • What do you feel is a specific weakness of yours and how did you overcome it? Be specific.

Results Focused

  • What is an accomplishment that you are especially proud of?

Change Orientation

  • Describe a time when you were faced with a change in your work environment. What was it and how did you handle it?
  • Think of a situation in which you were provided with very little instruction on how to perform a task. How did you proceed?

Specific Job Requirements

  • Would you be able to work flexible hours if necessary?
  • Which children’s ages do you like the best and why?
  • How would you handle an emergency? Have you ever had to do so in the past?
  • How would you discipline my child if he or she misbehaves?
  • What are your favorite activities to do with children?

Additional Interview Questions

When Hiring a Nanny

  • Do you have an educational background in child development?
  • How many years of child care experience do you have?
  • What age will you care for?
  • Have you experience in caring for multiples?
  • Would you care for sick children?
  • Would you care for children with special needs?
  • Will you assist with homework?
  • Will you tutor science? Reading? Foreign language?
  • What child care tasks are you willing to perform?
  • What are you interested in child care?
  • With respect to child care, what activities would you organize on a daily or weekly basis?
  • What is your philosophy on discipline?
  • If you were a parent looking for a child care provider, what characteristics would you look for in a provider? What would be the most important to you in hiring a nanny or child care provider?
  • What are the most important characteristics you believe lend to a successful relationship between a child care provider and the parents?
  • Briefly tell us about your family life (e.g., your parents, siblings, children you have raised).

When Hiring a Senior Caregiver

  • Do you have experience working with an elderly or disabled person? How many years?
  • Do you have experience working in a private household? How many years?
  • What senior care responsibilities are you willing to perform?
  • What household responsibilities are you willing to perform or assist with?
  • Are you able to lift heavy objects (50 lbs. or more)?
  • Have you had medical training in transferring?
  • Are you able to transfer someone from a wheelchair into a car?
  • Are you able to transfer someone from a wheelchair into a bed?
  • How do you handle someone who is angry, fearful or upset?
  • How do you handle someone who is downcast or depressed?
  • Do you have experience with caring for someone with mental problems, such as depression, dementia, or loss of memory? Please explain.
  • Why do you want to work in senior care?

When Hiring a Househkeeper

  • What formal experience do you have as a housekeeper?
  • How many years’ experience do you have in a private household?
  • What is the largest property you have ever cleaned (square feet)?
  • Which housekeeping tasks are you willing to perform?
  • Which laundry tasks are you willing to perform?
  • Which ironing tasks are you willing to perform?
  • Which of the following best describes your housekeeping standards:
    o I have sloppy housekeeping standards.
    o I am a messy but happy housekeeper.
    o My housekeeping standards are average.
    o I am a neat and orderly housekeeper.
  • What are your housekeeping standards?
    o I must have orderliness to function.
    o I always perform every task scrupulously and thoroughly.
  • How would you rate yourself on the following skills, using a 0-10 scale with 10 being the highest or best and 0 being the lowest or worst?
    o Computer use
    o Cooking
    o Communication
    o Problem solving
    o Organizational
  • Will you prepare meals for:
    o My employer’s children only
    o My employer’s immediate family living within the household
    o My employer’s immediate family and household staff
    o My employer’s children and their playmates
    o My employer’s guests
    o Any person within the household at meal time, excluding vendors, service professionals, and repair people
    o Anyone my employer requests me to feed
  • Are you willing to work in a home with a child? What ages? How many?
  • What is your personal style of service?

When Hiring a Household Manager

  • Do you have formal experience as a household manager?
  • How many years’ experience do you have in a private household?
  • What is the largest property you have ever managed (square feet)?
  • What is the largest size of household staff you have managed?
  • What household management tasks are you willing to perform?
  • How would you rate yourself on the following skills, using a 0-10 scale with 10 being the highest or best and 0 being the lowest or worst?
    o Communication
    o Problem solving
    o Formal service
    o Social etiquette
    o Personnel management
    o Leadership
    o Fiscal management
    o Negotiating skills
  • Describe your computer skills and list which programs you are proficient with.
  • Are you willing to work in a home with a child? What ages? How many?
  • What is your personal style of service?
  • What is your style of management?
  • Describe any experience you have working with contractors.
  • Describe the kids of household duties you are not willing to perform.

We’re here to help with your interview questions and the application process. Feel free to call us at (800) 929-9213 or email [email protected] about hiring an employee for your home.

Also, download The Complete Guide to Household Payroll. It will help you every step of the way and explain everything you need to do. There’s even a handy checklist and payroll calendar at the end of the guide to use as references.

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