The Interview Process

Both parents and Childminders will want to establish if there is a fit with each other. As a Childminder, you need to ensure that the family understands your policies, procedures and fees. Have your questions for the Family prepared!

Prepare an information pack for parents to review during your interview

Prepare an information pack for parents to review during your interview. This typically includes a parent handbook with details of fees, policies and procedures, a parent and child information sheet, a contract agreement and a business card.

Schedule the interview outside of your regular operating hours

Schedule the interview outside of your regular operating hours to ensure you are free of potential distractions and can focus on your meeting with the family.

Encourage parents to ask questions

Answer all questions as fully and positively as you can to alleviate any concerns they may have.

Go through your pack with parents

Go through your pack with parents in detail to make sure they fully understand your expectations. For example, you may want to clarify the range of hours you are available, what happens if a child is sick and when and how payments should be made.

Thank the parents and invite them to visit during regular working hours

Many parents are eager to see how well you interact with their child as well as the other children in your care.

Conclude your interview by confirming booking

Explain how the process will work: bringing the child for some settling in visits, completing the forms, signing the agreement and agreeing a start date.

What Parents Want to Know – the Phone Interview

Parents want to know if your Childminding service will meet their basic requirements: location, cost and number of children. Parent queries usually start with a phone call.

If you can't talk because children need your attention, let the parent know and arrange a time to answer their call.
Initially, parents will typically ask:

  • How long have you been a Childminder? If you are just starting out, say so. Parents don't always go for experience.
  • Where is your service located? Give a specific area but only give your exact address when arranging an interview.
  • What are your opening hours? State your regular hours clearly. If you are willing to be flexible, say so.
  • How many children are you currently caring for and what are their ages? Keep a list by your phone so you can answer easily.
  • How much do you charge? Try not to answer this until the actual interview: i.e. 'It depends on what you need.' However, many parents narrow their search based on fees. If it's the first question asked, give a straight answer. It will either fit in with what they want to pay or not.
  • Are you registered? If you are registered with Tusla, great. If not, be prepared to explain your status.
  • Do you have pets?
  • Are you a smoker?
  • Do you have references?
  • Do you have back-up care? If you do not provide this, make sure the parents are aware of your policy right away.
  • Are you willing to sign a contract? Because you are a professional Childminder with a business, it is important that you treat it as such. Some parents may bulk at the thought, but it is the only way that you have to protect yourself.

What Parents Want to Know – the Home Interview

The biggest question that parents want to establish an answer to is, if you are the best person to mind their child.

Some Childminders have a fairly structured service, but others are more free-flowing. First and foremost, parents are looking for a safe and nurturing environment for their child.

Your parent handbook should cover your policies in relation to parents’ most common questions:

What You Need to Ask During the Interview

The questions you ask the parents during the interview are just as important as what the parents ask you. You want to find out if the family would be a good fit for your service.

Here are some suggested questions:

  • Has your child been in childcare before? If so, for how long? Why are you changing?
  • How long do you expect to need childcare?
  • Does your child have any known health issues?
  • Does your child have any special needs (allergies, etc.)? Most often, parents will tell you right away, but make sure you ask just in case.
  • Are you (or a designated person) able to pick up the child in case of accident or emergency?
  • What is your child interested in? What type of eater is your child? These are questions the child can answer, if they are old enough
  • What type of sleep schedule does the child have or not?
  • Does your child have any behavioural problems? Most parents will tell the truth, although some may not.
  • What do you expect of a Childminder?
  • Do you have back-up care? If you do not provide this, make sure the parents are aware of your policy right away.
  • Are you willing to sign a contract? Because you are a professional Childminder with a business, it is important that you treat it as such. Some parents may baulk at the thought, but it is the only way that you have to protect yourself.