You’ve found a job description online you love, the family has seen your resume and thinks you could be a great fit, and now you’ve scheduled an interview. What’s next? Today, the team here at British American Household Staffing is sharing our top tips for preparing for a successful interview.
Do as much as you can ahead of time to prepare for the interview. Make sure you’ve read the job description carefully and asked the recruiter in charge of the role any general questions you might have. Confirm the date, time, and method of interview (in-person, FaceTime etc.). If it’s a digital interview, we recommend doing a quick test the night before to be sure your device is working properly. Plan to be in a well-lit, quiet space during the call where you can focus; avoid doing video interviews from a vehicle, while at another job, or in any busy, loud area.
For in-person interviews, map out the directions ahead of time and allow yourself plenty of time to arrive. If you arrive much too early, we recommend waiting in a nearby park or coffee shop then meeting the employer 5-10 minutes before the agreed start time. If possible, bring a hardcopy of your resume, reference letters, and any other relevant documents.
Interview lengths vary widely depending on the type of job, the family’s schedule, and other factors; we recommend blocking off at least an hour for your scheduled interview. While many won’t last this long, it’s better to have the time than to be forced to cut an interview short when it’s going well.
Think About Your Answers
We absolutely suggest reviewing common interview questions for the type of job you’re applying to and giving some thought to your answers ahead of time. However, be sure you’re listening carefully to the questions being asked and don’t give rehearsed responses. It’s important to be present and engaged with the interviewer.
Whether the interview is in-person or virtual, it’s critical to present yourself as polished and professional. Be thoughtful and practical in your choices – for example, if you’re meeting a family at a park, you’ll want to look professional but still be able to play with the children if given the opportunity. Avoid extensive jewelry, high heels, or anything else that could hinder your ability to perform your job.
Share Your Talent
When the right moment arises, let your passion show! The interview is a chance for the family to get to know more about you and see you as a full person, not just an impressive resume. It’s great to bond over common interests if they come up during the course of the conversation – for example, if the family mentions their child is interested in baking, it would be the perfect time to tell them about the pastry courses you took last summer and share the recipes you’d be happy to teach the child. Be open about your relevant interests, talents, and experience. If you recently took a new certification or class that isn’t on your resume, the interview is the time to mention this, as well.
However, be careful to never embellish or lie about your skills – for example, it’s much better to let an employer know during the interview that you can’t swim than for them to find out poolside after they’ve hired you. Some families can be flexible about these types of requirements and will adjust them for the right candidate; if you can offer a solution to the problem, such as taking classes, that’s even better and a great way to show you’re serious about the role.
We recommend trying to keep the interview as positive as possible. Avoid complaints about previous experiences or negative stories. When speaking about past jobs, be honest but don’t overshare. Discretion is key – if you speak poorly about a past employer or divulge personal information, it will reflect badly on you. If you’ve been fired or let go in the past, prepare yourself to talk ahead of time to talk about it calmly, even if it was an emotional situation; focus on what you learned from the experience and what you would do differently going forward.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Prepare a few ahead of time and then see what others come up naturally during the interview. Make sure you’re clear about the hours and travel expected. If it’s live-in, ask about the details of the accommodations. We also recommend asking some relevant questions to get to know the family better- a nanny might ask what activities the child is currently interested in; a chef might ask what some of the family’s favorite restaurants are. Be sure to never ask an employer about religion, politics, or anything too personal.
Know Your Rights
Never answer a question you aren’t comfortable with. Remember, employers can’t ask you about your race, gender, age, or family status. However, they can ask you about vaccination status or Covid-19 test results. If you’re vaccinated, it might be a good idea to bring proof of vaccination to any in-person meetings.
Find the Right Fit
Finding the right fit is as much about the details on paper as it is about a personality match. Sometimes a job with slightly different hours or a bit more of a commute than you expected can turn out to be a great fit. The opposite is true too – sometimes a job that looks perfect on paper may not be right for you. We recommend trusting your instincts. An in-home trial is a great way to spend some time with the family and see if it could be a good long-term fit.
If you’ve been in direct contact with the potential employer, it’s wise to send them a thank you after the interview indicating your ongoing interest in the position. If not, reach out to the BAHS recruiter who arranged the interview and ask them to pass along a thank you. You can also ask the recruiter any remaining questions you may have, give feedback, or get clarity on anything that was unclear in the interview. The recruiters at British American Household Staffing are here to help and guide you through the process. Get in touch now.