Top Tips For Interviewing Childcare Candidates Successfully

Recruiting successfully is one of the hardest parts of running an Early Learning Centre.

If you are tired of trial and error, work with a Recruitment Agency that harnesses the power of Expert Interviewing to attract the right workers into your Early Learning Centre.

Due to the Primacy Effect, an oversight occurs where interviewers often make decisions about the candidates based on their looks, initial presentation and ability to make small talk. However, it’s critical you don’t let first impressions over-ride your objective candidate choice. 

One of the most effective and simple ways is to ensure that during each interview, notes are taken for a thorough comparison. Especially when candidates are both strong prospects, minute details count.    

So, in this article, we’re providing some interviewing tips to make sure you get the best information possible out of your candidate interviews.



Interview for motivation

You don’t want people who are just looking for any job. 

You want candidates who are highly motivated to participate in the children’s developmental growth and to work towards your overall vision. Candidates who are highly motivated will have already looked up your organisation and learned one or two obvious things about you. They will also have thought about why they want to work with you.

Let’s look at some suitable questions:

• Why do you want to work with our service specifically?

• What traits do you have that might apply to our unique approach?

• If we were to offer you the position, what is one area we can help you work on?

• Looking back at your progress, pick one area of achievement and of its importance to you?

• Do you have any questions for me? Often the questions that candidates ask you will give an extra insight into how suitable they will be.

• Why are you leaving your current role, and why do you think our role will be a better fit?

How do you know if the candidate is highly motivated? Candidates who are highly motivated will have already spent some time researching your organisation and this will help them to give thoughtful answers.



Be conscious of the kind of person you are looking for

Interviewers need to be aware of how candidates respond to interviews depending on their personality.

Introverts may feel more comfortable with one or two interviewers, but an extrovert will have no problem addressing a large interview panel.

Introverts might exhibit signs of tension and nervousness which will in turn leave a negative impression initially – but they will get much more comfortable as the interview progresses. Or, they may answer exceptionally well in a one-on-one interview. 


Interviewing for experience

When you are looking to hire someone with practical experience, it is a good idea to ask process-based questions and situational questions.

At times, situational questions can even call for some role play.

As a candidate answers these questions, you will be able to weed out people who will end up disliking the role later, or don’t think as creatively or proactively as you would like. You want to know if they have the personal qualities required for working with you as a Director, as well as your team.

Here are some more examples of operational and situational questions:

• How do you know if you are effective as a teacher or educator?

• Tell us about how you have resolved issues with unhappy parents in the past?

• How do you help new parents to feel like their children are getting the best care?

• What do you categorise as a child’s challenging behaviour? How would you handle the challenging behaviour?


Look for self awareness

Emotional Intelligence is a skill that is important for nearly every role.

Ask your candidate questions that will help to reveal something about their emotional intelligence. For instance, you might ask to hear about a conflict between them and a colleague or a supervisor and how they handled it. Or how often they had conflict?

By paying attention to what they tell you as well as their non-verbal cues, you will receive a good picture of their conflict resolution skills.

Do they take responsibility? Did they come to a common understanding? Are they proactive about resolving conflicts? Do they have a good sense of humour? What does their body language, tone of voice, and facial expression reveal?


Interviewing for professional drive and career aspirations

If you are looking for a candidate who has the potential to work with you long term, it is definitely a good idea to get to know whether their long term goals are in line with yours.

Questions like ‘Where do you see yourself in three years?’, or asking the candidate to describe what they would consider an ideal work environment, are great examples. Or, what would excite you in your role as an educator? 

In the MH Recruitment process, we will also work through similar questions to make sure we are putting forward potential long term candidates only.


Achieving a right fit

Ask the candidate general questions like ‘Why do you want to work with us?’

A motivated candidate will talk about mutual benefits such as how their skills, personality, and track record of achievements are a good match for the job requirements as well as what they want to gain from working with you.

Just by allowing the candidate to speak with relative freedom, you’ll get an excellent impression of their personality and their likelihood to fit in with your brand and your personality.


Wrapping it up …

Contact us if you’d like to find out more.

We offer consulting solutions to make sure you get the most out of your Early Childhood staff and business. Or we can handle the recruitment process for you and make sure you get the absolute best candidate’s possible for your unique centre.


Ready to discuss your Early Childhood vision?​

Let’s talk. Give us a call or contact us online and tell us about your needs. We’ll follow up for a friendly discussion about how we can help you hire the right talent.