Jobs in Child Care: Interview Tips

Performing well during your child care interview is essential when you want to get a job. Experience and sound references will get you in the door for an interview, but it's up to you to convince your potential employer that you are right for the job. Below are some key interview tips that will help you maximize your presentation.

Make an Impressive First Impression

Regardless of the industry you are interviewing for, first impressions can make or break an interview.

  • Dress to impress - In child care, that doesn't mean a suit and high heels, nor does it mean jeans and a t-shirt. Your appearance should be business-like, clean and professional.
  • Be organized - Keep all of your samples and materials organized in a binder or folder.
  • Make eye contact and give a firm handshake.
  • Don't chew gum or mints.

Take Your Time and be Positive

Trust is an important quality of a child care worker. Take your time when discussing your qualifications, experience and child care-related skills. Don't rush to fill silence between questions. If your interviewer asks you a question that makes you uncomfortable or that you're not sure how to answer, take some time to think about it and be truthful but concise. Stay positive, calm and don't use slang terms or conversation fillers like "and" or "uhm."

Bring Recommendations

Don't wait for your employer to ask for recommendations of your child care experience. Assemble and bring with you some samples of your best references, preferably from past employers. 

Do Your Homework

Show your interviewer that you've taken the time to do some research on their company and the job for which you're applying. Prepare a few questions you can ask your interviewer, like the samples below:

  1. Why is this job open now?
  2. Does this position have any particular challenges?
  3. What are the possibilities for advancement from this position?
  4. What results would you like to see from this position in the next six months and one year?
  5. How much independence will I have in decision-making?

Prepare and Practice Possible Child Care Related Questions

The best way to be confident and comfortable in an employment interview is practice. Ask a trusted mentor to practice interview questions specific to child care jobs with you. Some sample questions to include in your session could include:

  1. Tell me about yourself.
  2. What are you strongest assets you'll bring to this job?
  3. Have you ever lost your temper with a child?
  4. How do you handle a disagreement with your manager?
  5. How do you handle an angry parent?
  6. Do you consider yourself a team player or an independent contributor?
  7. Why do you want a job with this company?
  8. Why did you leave your last employer?
  9. What are your biggest weaknesses?
  10. Where do you see your career progressing from here?

A balanced combination of humility and confidence are most appealing in an interview. So prepare your answers to be as short and simple as possible. Practice delivering them with matter-of-fact confidence and be gracious. Thank your interviewer for their time at the close of the session and exit with a warm smile and handshake.