When looking to hire new childcare workers, you may put out a posting online or spread the word to other families and friends. Since it is unlikely you will have the time to interview every single applicant, you will need to narrow down the list to your top options. You can then move onto the next stages of the hiring process, as shown below.
1. Phone Interview
Conducting a formal interview for each and every candidate would be too time-consuming. That’s why a phone interview can help you go through your top list of candidates to determine who will be qualified for a formal interview. The phone interview should be fairly short (around 10-15 minutes) to get a general understanding of the candidate. Questions to ask include:
- What interested you when you first learned about this position?
- Why are you looking for a new job?
- Why is there an employment gap between these years?
- Do you have any questions for me?
After the interview, let them know that you will communicate to them if they will move onto the next round and allow yourself time to think if this person can potentially benefit your centre.
2. Formal Interview
The formal interview is a more thorough questioning process, where you can learn more about the candidate. Try to ask non-leading questions and scenario-based questions to understand how the individual will act in certain situations. Questions to ask include:
- Why are you interested in working in childcare?
- What do you enjoy the most about working in childcare?
- What are some accomplishments you are proud of?
- What did you least like about your past job?
- Give me an example of when a parent confronted you and how you resolved the situation?
In the current situation, in-person interviews may not be possible. Instead, use a video conferencing platform, like Zoom or Google Meet, to conduct the interview. That way, you can still see how the individual acts and comes up with answers to questions.
3. Checking References
While someone may be a great candidate on paper, they may not be in the actual workplace. This is where references come in. Try to check in with three or more references to see how the candidate was like in previous positions. Ask questions that will give you an idea of how the candidate will perform in a specific position as well as questions you may have asked during the initial interview process. For example, if you asked the candidate “how would your past employer describe you?”, ask that same question to the past employer (if possible) and see what they say. The references the candidate provides will most likely be individuals who will say good things about the candidate, so you need to pay attention to how they are answering the questions you provide.
4. Background Checks
This is very important for a position in early childhood education and working with children. You need to know that you can trust the candidate with children so a background check can give you an idea. If you decide not to do a background check and hire an individual with poor experience with children, then your centre’s reputation will be damaged and the children at your centre will be put at serious risk.
5. Trial Workday
If possible, once you narrowed down your candidates to three to five people, allow them to work at your centre for one day to see if they would be a good fit. This allows you to see the candidate’s abilities at work, how they deal with certain situations, and how they interact with other staff members and children. Make sure to provide the candidate with clear instructions on what to do and also inform the other members of your staff so that they can provide assistance if need be. Plus, you can ask your staff members after what they thought about the candidate.
6. Sending an Offer
After conducting interviews and doing checks, you have now (hopefully!) been able to find a suitable candidate to make an offer to. Let the candidate know through email or verbally that they have been chosen to work at your centre and send them any policies and contracts they need to go over. Communicate to them how excited you are for them to join your centre and what they have to bring to the table as well.
There is a possibility you may send out an offer and the individual declines, so make sure to have a backup list of candidates that you can contact. That way, you don’t necessarily have to repeat the hiring process.
Once the candidate agrees to the job offer, you should let past candidates know that they haven’t been selected for the position. This will leave a good impression of you and your centre on their minds as they don’t need to wonder if they have made it to the next round or not. Plus, if you decide to hire another centre worker, you can always look back at past candidates or see if any current applicants applied in the past. Overall, you don’t want to minimize the applicant pool just because you didn’t have the courtesy of letting previous candidates know the status of their application.
Once you are able to successfully hire an individual, you will need to train them to ensure they understand your centre’s practices and guidelines as much as possible. Even though the whole hiring process may seem long and overwhelming at some points, it is important to be thorough and make sure you hire the best candidate. The person you hire will work with multiple children, parents, and staff members and they will be a representation of your centre.