10 Inappropriate Questions to Ask a Nanny During an Interview

10 Feb

I was recently contacted by Savannah from http://www.nannyinterviewquestions.com about helping to pass on some information that families may not know about during the interview process of hiring a nanny. Plenty of the families I have worked with have certainly asked some of these questions, and I have also been asked some questions not even on this list in my own past. Here I have copied the blog, as well as put a link to it at the bottom. 



10 Inappropriate Questions to Ask a Nanny During an Interview

FEBRUARY 7, 2013 

Hiring a nanny can be a complicated and confusing process, especially if it’s your first time through the ordeal. In addition to the overwhelming number of candidates to sift through and the stress of narrowing down the field, you’ll also have to make sure that the questions you ask your final candidates are both appropriate and in accordance with employment laws. While it’s natural to want to know everything about the person who could potentially be responsible for the care of your child, these are 10 of the things that you should never ask a nanny candidate during a job interview.

  1. “Where Were You Born?” – This question can be a slippery slope. As an employer, it is your responsibility to ensure that any nanny you hire is legally eligible to work in the United States. Asking about employment eligibility is both legal and completely appropriate. Directly questioning where a candidate was born, however, can open the door for accusations of discrimination. As long as you’re careful about the wording of this question and it’s posed only to determine employment eligibility, you should be in the clear.
  2. “What Religion Do You Practice?” – Under no circumstances should you ever ask a nanny candidate what religion she practices. Even if you plan for spiritual instruction in your own faith to be part of your children’s upbringing, you can’t discriminate against a nanny simply because she does not practice that religion. You can, however, ask if she is willing to accompany your child to religious activities and classes.
  3. “Have You Ever Been Married?” – There are several laws enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission of the United States that prohibit employers from discriminating against a candidate for employment based on their marital status.
  4. “Have You Ever Declared Bankruptcy?” – While the justification for asking this ethically questionable and potentially illegal question holds that a nanny who can’t manage her finances may not be the best choice to help manage a household, it’s completely inappropriate to ask questions along these lines.
  5. “What is Your Political Affiliation?” – Unless you plan on raising a preschooler whose idea of fun is a spirited political debate, there’s no reason for a nanny candidate’s political leanings to ever come into play during the hiring process.
  6. “Have You Ever Had a Substance Abuse Problem?” – Requiring a pre-employment drug screening as a standard part of your hiring process is one thing; outright asking a nanny candidate about any history of substance abuse may be considered another.
  7. “Do You Plan on Having Children?” – Finding the perfect nanny only to lose her for an extended maternity leave or because she’s chosen to stay home with her new baby is understandably frustrating, but asking a nanny candidate when or if she plans to procreate can negatively affect her perceptions of you and the position due to the invasive, personal nature of the question.
  8. “What is Your Ethnicity?” – Under no circumstances should you ever question a candidate’s heritage or ethnicity. In addition to being an illegal question that reeks of discriminatory hiring practices, it’s also highly offensive and will not make a qualified candidate likely to accept the post.
  9. “Were Your Parents Born in the United States?” – A nanny candidate’s nation of origin has no bearing on her ability to perform her job, and isn’t something you should be asking about unless you’re determining her eligibility for employment in the United States.
  10. “What is Your Sexual Orientation?” – Though some states may not recognize sexual orientation as protected under employment discrimination laws, the Federal government does. You could very easily find yourself faced with a civil lawsuit for asking about a candidate’s sexual orientation, not to mention difficulty in securing a private, in-home childcare provider should word of your discriminatory practices reach other nannies in the area.

Avoiding allegations of discriminatory hiring practices can not only protect you from the possibility of costly lawsuits and time-consuming litigation, but also preserve your reputation as a nanny employer in your area. The nanny industry can be a relatively small world, even in larger cities. If you establish a reputation of asking discriminatory questions, even if your intentions were good, you’re likely to have difficulty securing a high-quality private childcare provider in the future.




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