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12 Ways to Ensure Your Interview Gets You the Childcare or Education Job You Want

The interview techniques to guarantee you put your best foot forward


1. Dress smartly and look presentable


When interviewing with an agency or a potential employer, it is often a good idea to imagine you’re on your first day at work. Even when sitting in for a Skype interview, you want to show the other party your own professionalism and how presentable you can be. If you work as a nanny or governor/governess for a wealthy family, you are often an extension of that family. It is therefore a good idea to make sure you are clean and smell good, and that you are dressed appropriately for the role you are applying for. And if you are Skyping a potential employer, avoid the temptation to dress up your top half properly and sit around in your underwear for the bottom half, this is likely to cause problems if you forget something and have to stand up halfway through!

 

2.Bring supporting documents

The easiest way to show that you are well organised is to bring a small but smart folder along with you to your interview. This can include photographs from work, pictures of arts and crafts you have engaged in with charges in previous positions, copies of your own qualifications, or anything similar. In this way the family can see what you have achieved in previous positions and also that you are professional and have the foresight to bring along relevant documents that they may wish to see. It is also a good idea to always bring a pen to interviews or have one nearby in a Skype interview; the chances are you will need one and it’s another good opportunity to show that you are efficient.

 

3. Smile!

This may sound obvious, but you’d be surprised! Every parent wants their child to be happy, so they want to put him or her in the hands of a capable but positive person. Be sure to demonstrate that you will be fun for their child to be around as well as a pleasant member of staff for the family by smiling! This also goes for phone interviews; believe it or not you can hear somebody smiling even when you can’t see them. Make your interview a pleasant experience for both sides by keeping a happy face on - just remember to brush your teeth first!

 

4. Remember people’s names

Every person loves the sound of their own name. This is why you can hear someone say it even across the room at a cocktail party - your brain subconsciously picks it out. Take advantage of this by using names; not nonstop throughout your interview but just once or twice to show the agency or employer that you are a conscientious person who has good attention to detail. To remember someone’s name it is often a good idea to put an unforgettable picture in your head. If the interviewer’s name is Mike, picture his head as a microphone with his eyes and nose on and you will be sure not to forget it! Another technique is to think of a friend you have who has the same name and imagine them hanging out together.

 

5. Be on time!

This cannot be emphasized enough! Being late for an interview can undo all the hard work you have put into the application process. If you can’t be on time for day one, what attitude are you likely to put into the job in the long run? Better to arrive thirty minutes early and to sit somewhere, have a coffee and plan what you want to say than to be even five minutes late. Traffic or getting lost is rarely an excuse in this instance. Be organised! And if your interview is on Skype - be sure to test your internet connection is working properly in advance. A poor connection or a cancelled call can easily be the difference between getting the job and losing it.

6. Go in there knowing what you want

You are a lot more likely to get what you want from an interview if you go in there having defined it for yourself first! Be it schedule, salary, living arrangements or holiday pay - decide for yourself what is a deal breaker and what isn’t and avoid having to think about it on the spot. It is perfectly acceptable to take notes or questions into an interview; so take advantage of this! Negotiation of terms is best done at the end of an interview - let the employer decide they want to hire you and once you’ve got them interested tell them that you can do what they are asking for - now this is what you are asking for.

 

7. Be prepared to say ‘no’

And if the terms that are deal breakers for you cannot be accommodated - don’t be afraid to walk away. Better to keep looking than to sign up to a schedule or living arrangement that will make you unhappy. Accepting terms that you do not want will ultimately make you unhappy at work and keep you from working to your very best standard, which is pointless for all involved. If the schedule appears heavy, now is the time to explain to a family that in order to keep you happy and working well, you will need free time to socialise and keep in contact with your own friends or family. If they disagree, then that’s their loss not yours.

 

8. Be ready to talk about previous achievements

Some questions in a job interview are almost guaranteed. Two of these are: ‘What is your experience for this role?’ and ‘What qualifications do you have that are relevant to the position?' Have the most important answers to these questions lined up in your head along with the key details so you don’t forget anything. Remember to be concise and that, when discussing your previous work experience, the key is results; what did you achieve?

 

9. If your interview is with an agency - research in advance and tell them if there are any roles you are interested in

If the interview you are sitting is a general interview with an agency, another easy way to show them that you know what you are doing is to do a little background research. It will take less than five minutes to check what roles the agency currently has available that you might be interested in. Mention these roles as part of your interview and show the agency that you have done some research and know what you’re talking about. This also gives you the opportunity to find out more details about said positions, and to find out if any terms you are unsure of are negotiable.

 

10. Be professional

 

Ensure that you speak clearly in your interview. It is a particularly good idea to speak a little more slowly and clearly if you are interviewing to work for an overseas family or a family whose native language is not English - who wants to employ somebody they can’t understand? Avoid using slang and bad language at all costs. Believe it or not many candidates will feel relaxed enough to swear in interviews, immediately losing them the job in almost all circumstances. Keep to an appropriate register and stay professional.

 

11. Ask questions

At the end of an interview, it is generally a nice touch to ask a question or two. Even if you feel that everything you want to know has been answered, this is a good way to show that you really do have a genuine interest in the role, and that you aren’t just sitting the interview to fill time or keep your options open. Try to think of something that brings out your skills or shows your good work ethic. Questions such as: ‘Would the parents like to me help with schoolwork if necessary?' or ‘Are there any house rules I should be aware of?'  can help to demonstrate that you are careful and conscientious, and will behave that way with their children.

 

12. Send a follow up

After an interview, an easy way to demonstrate your continuing professionalism and organisational skills is to keep yourself fresh in the employer or agency’s mind as a candidate - so send a short but polite follow up. A simple email addressing the interviewer by name, thanking them for their time, asking them to contact you if there’s anything else they need and letting them know that you hope to hear from them soon is a nice touch that requires very little effort. Good luck! 

Looking to enhance your application by taking a great headshot for your CV?

Check out the blog here some some easy to action photography tips! 

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