The first meeting is your one and only chance to make the right first impression with the family you’d like to work for. They’re trying to figure out if you could not only take care of their baby but can you fit well into their home?
Meet and Greet
When you greet the parents, use your impeccable manners: smile, make good eye contact and shake hands. These three little gestures make a big statement—it’s a great way to show the parents that you are confident and capable. Being on time or even better, five minutes early, will give parents even more of a reason to like you.
The saying is true about never getting that second chance! It’s also important to think about what your clothes, hair and make-up may add or take away from that critical first impression. A clean, casual outfit is always best. For example: khaki pants or pressed jeans and a simple collared shirt. Stay away from tight-fitting clothes or a plunging neckline. Hairstyle does matter. Big hair is okay, only in a ponytail. Neat hair is necessary. Limit hair accessories to thin simple headbands or a hair clip or two, and don’t arrive to the interview with wet hair. Parents are picky and will consider something like wet hair as a strike against you. Also consider your nails. It’s important for nails to be neat, trimmed and clean. Long fingernails can scratch a baby and moms will be thinking that. Keep your makeup light. Avoid perfumes, including body lotions with a strong fragrance.
While the small details such as hair and nails may seem petty, they communicate how you care for yourself, and in turn, how you care for babies. For example, something like bright red chipped nails can speak volumes to a parent. No matter how easy the interview feels, you should put your best foot forward. By the way, if your potential client has children at home during the interview, this is a good opportunity to show your stuff—don’t hesitate to interact with the children in a friendly way!
Invest in a simple “black portfolio” that you can buy for $15 or less in a store like Staples. In the portfolio, bring extra copies of your resume, the directions to the home, and a list of your questions. Write the questions before the interview on the pad that the portfolio provides. Also important to bring are: your background report, reference letters and of course, your certification. Make copies of these items before the interview and offer the copies to the parents in a new folder that has your name on it.
During the interview, the parents should tell you exactly what you’ll be doing for your job. In addition to childcare, some parents will expect you to clean bottles, fold baby clothes or accompany them to the baby’s doctor appointments. It’s important to understand the parents’ job expectations on the interview. Are their expectations realistic? If you’re unclear about something, ask questions.
If the baby has a special health condition, most likely the parents will have already made that known to you. Make sure you find out all specific duties related to the baby’s health concern. Note: If the parents need you to administer medicine to the baby, both you and the parents need to sign a medication permission form if you are not a registered nurse.
Find out how the parents want to communicate about the baby. If you are working at nights, do the parents want you to keep track of everything in a journal, including feedings, spit-up behaviors, diaper changes and how the baby slept? If they work, and you are caring for baby during the day, they might want to connect with you using text messaging or email. Some parents like to call midday to check in. Find out what is comfortable for them.
If the parents need care for older siblings as well as the baby, find out about the parents’ household rules and discipline strategies. How is misbehavior managed? It’s also important to discuss how caring for several children will affect your rate.
In Case of Emergency
Do the parents have an emergency readiness plan or first aid kit for their household? It’s your job to be prepared in case of emergency. Find out exactly what they would want you to do.
Night nurse set up
If the parents are hiring you to work at night, find out about logistics. Do the parents want you to stay in the baby’s room? Can you bring a book? Is there a comfortable chair in the baby’s room? Can you store a night’s supply of bottles in an ice-packed cooler in the nursery?
Sick Days/Vacation days
How will you and your client plan for your time off? It’s important to feel good about vacation days and to know that there is a plan in place should you get sick.
What they’ll Ask
Parents will want to know if you are a good match for their family. They’ll probably have done their homework and will have a list of questions that you’ll need to have an answer for. Here is a list of questions that you may be asked on an interview. Prepare these answers in advance so you can impress your potential employer with your confidence and professionalism.
- Can you tell me about yourself and your family?
- Why did you want to be a baby nurse/newborn care specialist?
- How did your certification program help you?
- What career did you do before becoming a baby nurse?
- Are you CPR certified? When did you receive the certification?
- Would you consider helping with older children and the baby’s laundry?
- My wife and I supplement breast-milk with formula. What are your thoughts on this? (They want to find out if you feel strongly against this practice.)
- Are you able to get our baby on a sleep schedule?
- Are you able to properly care for my baby’s circumcised penis/umbilical cord?
- What is your work schedule like around my due date?
- What hours/days are you looking for?
- How much do you charge and how do you like to get paid?
- Would you be okay with keeping a detailed journal on the baby’s day?
- Have you worked with children before?
- Will you read and talk and sing to the baby?
- Do you believe in letting a baby cry?
- How would you feel if we kept the bassinet in our bedroom?
- Do you have experience in baby proofing?
Phew! Yes, there is a lot to know but with a little prep work, you can do an amazing job on an interview! Tip: Practice answering questions aloud with a friend or family member so that you’re feeling comfortable and have answers at the ready.
Good luck! You can do it!