Budapest Nanny – Interviewing Potential Babysitters

by Barbara Petri on February 9, 2012

Finding a babysitter you trust can be difficult, and as we discussed last week, this is especially true if you are an expat unsure of how to go about it in the foreign country you’re living in. Our resident super nanny, Barbi, has been through quite a few interviews herself. This week she’s covering interview basics: What are the best questions to ask? What information is most important? and more. Read on for some great tips!

Interviewing a nanny is usually preceded by a few phone calls and/or emails. When you get in touch with a potential sitter for the first time, you should clarify the following points:

– how many kids
– how old they are
– how often you would need them to work
– any kind of house keeping required

If you agree on meeting for an interview, choose a time when your child is awake and, if possible, not during the most tantrum-prone part of their day. This way your child(ren) can also meet the candidate and you will be able to see how the nanny approaches them, and vice-versa.

Ask any potential nannies to send you their CVs ahead of time via email, if that doesn’t happen they should definitely bring it for the interview. The nanny’s CV should give you a good idea of her background, any studies, any medical/first aid training, previous employment, experiences with children and references from other families. If your first impression after the interview is satisfactory, you should contact the families referenced and ask for personal feedback about the candidate.

During the interview you should make sure to cover these topics:

– duties regarding the child (e.g. daily routine, required time spent outside, mealtimes, nap times, any special dietary requirements)
– duties around the house (cleaning, ironing, laundry, shopping, cooking, what, when, how often)
– salary (hourly or average monthly salary? when payment would happen (at end of each work day, weekly or monthly?)
– salary during Hungarian holidays
– salary when your family goes for holiday and you want to take the sitter with you
– salary when your family goes for holiday and you’re not taking the sitter
– overtime on weekdays or working during weekends
– termination period

It may sound strange, but it’s also a very good idea to ask the sitter about potential situations, e.g. What would she do if the child had a tantrum on the playground? What would she do if the child doesn’t want to eat or sleep when they are supposed to?  Think of things that are important to you, that may have happened with you.

After all this, if you like each other, you might agree on a trial day or trial week to see how things go in everyday life and if the child(ren) also like the new babysitter.

Next topic is not an easy one – salary.  Payment terms should always be defined early on, way before you set up a trial period.

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I`ve been a nanny in Budapest working for foreign families since 2006. I have met people from many different backgrounds, babysat for kids of all ages and have experienced a lot about what it means to become part of a family, and having the patience to handle not only many different types of children, but their parents too. Since 2011 I`m a blessed mom of a precious little boy, and have come to know firsthand `the other side of the coin` (to directly translate an expression from Hungarian). Now I`m back to work part time with my son tagging along. I`m happy to answer any nanny- or baby-related questions. I’m also happy to help moms find cleaning services, drivers, gardeners or any other help around the house.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Monika March 16, 2012 at 6:36 pm

Hi Barbara,

I am writing to you since at the very end of your article you have mentioned you could asssist with finding help.

I am single full-time working mom and need a reliable person to pick up my daughter from the kindergarden and stay with her at home until my return (5-7PM) plus weekends and some evenings during the week are possible as well. Since i do not speak Hungarian, I would need someone with English (my daughter is fluent in HU).

Looking forward to your reply to discuss in more details.

Apprecaite any support.

Best, Monika

Reply

Catherine June 2, 2014 at 3:30 pm

Hi Barbara-
I noticed that you mentioned that you are willing to help, so I’d love to take you up on that! We are moving to District 2 in Budapest next month from the US, and we are looking for a Full Time Nanny who can help us take care of (2) children. We have a daughter, Hannah, who is 3.5yrs old, and a son, Matthew, who will turn 2 shortly. Hannah will be attending the British International school during the week, 8:30- 3:30pm, and I plan to send my son to a pre-school nearby as well. The hours that I would need someone would be 7:15/7:30am- 5:30pm, monday-friday. We plan to be here for (4) years. We love (!!!!) our current Nanny in the US, so thus moving to Budapest was a very difficult decision for us. We are hoping to find someone with the same warm and loving spirit as our current Nanny. We are looking for someone that would have their own safe and reliable transportation as well. Do you know of anyone who might be a fit? Please let me know! I am here in Budapest this week interviewing candidates. Thanks so much! Cheers, Catherine

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