During the pandemic, you may need to rely on virtual interviews when hiring a nanny to limit in-person exposure to applicants.
Eventually, you will want to meet your top two or three candidates face-to-face and have them interact with your children. But during the screening process, when you are narrowing down applicants to the few you think are the best fit for your job, virtual interviews are the way to go.
Virtual interviews are also helpful when an applicant lives out of town or your nanny candidate is hesitant to meet with you in-person for an initial interview or screening.
When hiring someone to work in your home and care for your children, you want to ensure you meet with all qualified applicants and virtual interviews will help you achieve that goal.
Here are nine steps to conducting virtual interviews during the nanny hiring process.
1. Choose a technology platform
You have many options when selecting a tool for your virtual interviews. Most of these platforms have a free option or a trial offer:
Test the ones you are considering to make sure they work with your computer and/or browser if the solution is web-based.
2. Give your candidate time to prepare
Do not schedule your virtual interview for the same day you speak with an applicant about the job. Plan it for later in the week so your candidate has time to prepare. They want to be confident and at their best when they meet you. Give them time to do that. It also allows them to download any software or test the technology you have selected to conduct the virtual interview. This is also a nice courtesy on your part and shows your thoughtfulness as a potential employer.
Once you decide on a date and time, send them an email with all the information they need to connect to your virtual interview. Include date, time, the technology you plan to use or a web link, meeting number, and password (if required). Provide any tips and information on using the interview platform.
Also, let them know how long you expect the interview to last.
Ask that they reply to your email to confirm that they received it and to provide a backup phone number in case you have trouble connecting with them on the virtual interview.
3. Choose a quiet spot in your home for interviews
Pick a location that is free from distractions and provides peace and quiet to conduct your interviews. If you have young children, see if a family member. friend or neighbor can watch them or maybe a babysitter can take them out for a walk or to the park. You want to be focused on your interviewees and not be interrupted.
The space you choose should also have a neutral background so your applicant is not distracted by what is behind you and can devote their attention to your questions. You could choose a virtual background if that option is offered by your virtual interview platform. As with a physical background, make sure it’s professional and not distracting to the interviewee.
The area you choose for the interview should be well-lit. It is best to utilize natural lighting that is facing you as much as possible. If that’s not possible, add a lamp to your desk or table.
Too little light can make you difficult to see, However, too much light coming through a window can also cause problems. If there are windows, make sure you can control the light by adjusting the shades or blinds.
Silence your mobile devices and turn off any computer notifications to avoid unnecessary distractions.
4. Prepare your questions ahead of time
Create a standard set of interview questions you will ask all applicants. That way you can compare responses when choosing your top candidates. It also helps you stay on track with the interview. You should also develop some questions based on your applicant’s resume perhaps related to specific experiences and qualifications.
5. Standardize your rating method
You would do this with in-person interviews and the same holds true when conducting them virtually. Evaluate each applicant based on their qualifications for the position. Take notes on how they perform during the interview process. This helps if you are considering several candidates and may lose track of how handled their interviews. Use your ratings “scorecard” to provide an objective assessment of applicants and determine the best candidates for further interviews.
6. Test your technology
Test your Internet connection from the room you plan to conduct the interview. Is the signal strong enough to handle a virtual interview? Is the video smooth? Or is it chopping? You could practice with a family member, friend, or neighbor. During your test, make sure your webcam and microphone are working properly too. Close any other applications or programs running on your computer to help performance. If you plan to share your screen (maybe you want to review the job description), test that functionality as well.
While testing can remove most potential technical issues with a virtual interview, there could still be a lag between your question and your applicant’s response. Give them time to respond. If they cut out during their response, politely ask them to repeat their answer. They may also need you to ask a question again.
7. Be professional and positive
Not only are you evaluating your applicant, but they are also assessing you as an employer. Even though you are home, dress appropriately for the interview. Virtual interviews can seem more casual. You can be personable but be professional in your language and mannerisms.
Sit up straight and make direct eye contact with your interviewee by looking at your computer’s camera instead of the screen. Your computer should be placed above eye level and tilted slightly down. This will prevent your camera from pointing at your neck or nose and help you appear more natural as if you were in a face-to-face conversation. Use books to elevate your computer if needed.
Speak clearly and acknowledge that you are listening to your interviewee by nodding your head and smiling. It may be difficult to pick up signs of engagement during a virtual interview. Body language still matters to emanate a professional demeanor.
Displaying professionalism shows you are taking the interview process seriously and will help your candidates feel more confident in working for you.
Expect a few flubs and fumbles along the way for both you and your candidates. This is likely a new experience for everyone. Always remain positive throughout the interview process.
8. Explain next steps
At the end of your virtual interview, let your applicant know what they can anticipate going forward. Give them your timeline for hiring a nanny and when they can expect to hear from you if they are one of your top candidates or if they will not get the job. This is also the time to ask for additional information from the interviewee if needed (references, proof of certifications, etc.).
When your applicants know what’s coming next, they will feel respected and valued.
9. Learn and improve
After you conduct your first virtual interview, note what went well and could have gone better. Did you choose the right virtual interview platform? Maybe a different room in your house would be better.
Hiring a nanny?
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