How to Have a Successful In-Home Interview

1504852-1-300x199You found the posting for the perfect job. You sent your resume in. You passed all the initial screening. Now it’s time for “The Interview.” Interviews can be stressful but they are a necessary part of landing your dream job.

Interviewing for an in-home position can be even more challenging than typical corporate job interview. For jobs like Nanny, Family Assistant, Housekeeper, Estate Manager or Chef, not only do you need to have the qualifications, skills and experience, you also need to show that you will be the perfect fit to work in this person’s home. With good preparation and thoughtful follow-through, you can succeed in your interview, and in this blog post we’d like to give you some guidance for how to do that!

Preparation is key. It might feel like over-kill, but make sure you know ahead of time exactly how you’ll be getting to the interview, and how long it will take for you to get there. Map out your trip at least a day ahead of time. Take heavy commute traffic into account if your interview is in the morning or late afternoon. And give yourself a little bit of extra time just to be completely sure that you get to your destination on time.

Print out and bring an up-to-date copy of your resume along with you. Your interviewer already got a copy, but providing another copy will be greatly appreciated and helps show that you really want the job, you are prepared and you are taking the process seriously.

Do your homework! Make sure you have a really good idea of exactly what this job entails. If you are working through Town + Country, take the time to talk to your Counselor to learn as much as you can. Then, with this job in mind, look over your resume for experiences you’ve had in the past that likely fit this employer’s expectations or highlight why you would be a great fit.

Dress for success! First impressions really do affect the rest of the interview process, so make sure you are making a positive one! Your interviewer will form some strong first impressions based on how you make yourself look and how you dress. There is no “one outfit fits all interviews,” so for Town + Country interviews, talk to your Counselor to find out how to dress for this interview. If you don’t have an opportunity to get information ahead of time, the best bet is to dress simply, conservatively and professionally. Limit makeup, jewelry and especially perfume! A blouse that covers the shoulders paired with a nice pair of pants or khakis is a sure way to “wow” your potential future employer!

Start your interview with a warm, confident handshake and make good eye contact. Show interest in what they are saying, keep a nice smile. Keeping a friendly conversation going about the job, your experiences and their needs will help you make the personal connection with the family that shows you can be the right font in their home.

And whatever you do, make sure to avoid two very common mistakes:

  1. Never, ever bash or criticize a former employer. The family interviewing you will get the impression that you may bash them later after you leave their job, and no one wants that.
  2. Never, ever lie or exaggerate about your prior jobs, experiences or education. Speak about your experience in complete truthfulness. Dishonest claims will usually be discovered, and even if you only told one little “white lie,” it will tend to undercut everything else you’ve said. After all, if you were dishonest about that one thing, what else are you being dishonest about? For in-home positions, families need to be able to have complete trust in you before being comfortable having you work in their home.

Finish your interview the same way you started it. Emphasize your interest in the position, and say good-bye with a confident handshake, a warm smile and good eye contact.

Follow-up! Send your interviewer an email or, even better, a handwritten note thanking them for their time and again expressing interest. Double check that all names are correctly spelled and that you don’t have any typos.

Prepare, dress for success, show respect and follow-up afterwards – give yourself the best chance to succeed!

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How we find your match

The experienced Placement Counselors at Town + Country have made tens of thousands of mutually beneficially matches between in-home professionals and household employers. Although no two searches are exactly alike, there are important steps in the process of “finding you the one” that we use for every Candidate.

We’re pleased to share some highlights with you. And if you’re a professional with excellent experience, we’d love you to get started by filling out our online application. We’d love to find the right match for you.

  1. We learn who you are. What is most important to you? How does work fit into the rest of your life? What are your hobbies and interests? Learning who you are helps us to find an employer who will appreciate you and where you have the opportunity to excel.
  2. We learn exactly what kind of position you are looking for. What do you enjoy? What are you good at? What kind of employer will you work best with? We want to make sure you are happy in your next position.
  3. We write your resume and create a customized profile to present you in your best light. We understand what employers are looking for and how to communicate your strengths.
  4. We carefully match the criteria you are looking for with the jobs our clients are looking to fill. Once we know you are looking for a new position we’ll be on the lookout for jobs that become available that would be a good fit for you. We will give you honest feedback. We will let you know if your experience fits what our clients are looking for. And if we don’t have something for you at this time, we will provide you with suggestions about what you can do to get additional experience.
  5. We introduce you only to employers that make sense. Our goal is to make the process as easy for you as possible. Some clients like to see a range of possible employees. Others keep the number of interviews they conduct to a minimum. We will always respect your time as a professional.
  6. We guide you through the interviewing process. We help you to prepare for interviews by sharing the questions that are likely to be asked and reviewing the key points that you should stress to employers. We’ll coach you on how to make your best first impression.
  7. We arrange all of the logistics for you. We’ll make sure you know where you need to be, at what time, and make sure you know how to get there. Creating a positive experience and a favorable impression with every client you meet is important, even if any given employer is not right for you.
  8. We help you make a good decision about your next position. We want to place you in an assignment where you will thrive. We’re in the business of creating lasting matches and we want you and your new employer to be happy in the long run.
  9. We help you to review your employment agreement. Ensuring that you and your employer are clear about responsibilities and expectations is the best way to set you up for success in your new position.
  10. We’re here, for as long as you need, to help you with any questions that may arise and ensure that your relationship with your new employer is a productive and happy one.
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What’s Appropriate for the Internet?

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat … we’re online all the time. Although social media can be a great way to keep in touch with friends and family, your work life should be kept off the internet. When you work inside a family’s home, the list of things you should never put online grows.

Pictures of your charges. While Mom and Dad are away it’s your job to keep their child safe. Posting pictures of your adorable charge for others to “ooh” and “ahh” over might not be okay with them. Background details in photos and give clues as to the kids’ location, items in the family’s home and other personal information that they may not want shared. If the parents have asked you to keep them updated throughout the day with pictures of their cutie, send the photos directly to them, but keep the pictures, stories and kids off of social media.

Big milestone. There’s nothing worse than a parent learning about a big milestone through reading it online in a public or semi-public forum. Let the parents experience the first steps, first words or first solo bike rides before anyone else.

Never post how frustrated you are with your employer or their children. There are few things that can put you among the ranks of the unemployed faster than going online to complain about your job or your employer. Your current employers – as well as potential future employers – will take your comments to heart and may be seen as ungrateful or disloyal.

Curse words or crude memes. You’ve worked hard to build trust and a good working relationship with you employer. One offensive slip and your reputation can be ruined. What may have seemed like a funny post when you were out with friends may look awkward and offensive in the light of day.

Remember, if you wouldn’t want it published on the front page of the New York Times, it’s probably best not to post it online or on your social media.

Posted in childcare, domestic employment, family assistant, household employees, Job Tips, nannying, Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Where Germs and Bacteria Hide in Your Home

A little cleaning goes a long way in terms of staying healthy.

You want to avoid catching a cold, but keeping up with high traffic, high germ areas can seem like a full time job! Focus first on wiping and disinfecting these common areas that are known for harboring and spreading germs.

Handles and doorknobs

brassFrom high traffic areas like bathrooms and kitchens, to the front door and everything in between, knobs and handles collect germs at an alarming rate. Disinfect these surfaces at least once a week, and more if someone in your household is ill.

germsjpg-f1f869557e9e57d9_largeLight switches

Not only can light switches start to look grimy over time, they are also a germ paradise! Light switches can easily fall off the radar, so make cleaning light switches a part of your weekly chore list.

germs-on-cell-phones2Phones

You probably clean your office phone, but how often do you sanitize your cell phone? Your phone travels everywhere with you and collects germs along the way. Wipe your phone down with a sanitizing cleaner and allow it to dry. Make sure your cloth is only lightly damp so you don’t cause water damage to your device.

germs_purse_makeup_090910_wmainPurses and bags

From diaper bags to our everyday purses, we easily toss them aside at grocery stores, restaurants and more — even placing them on the floor! When was the last time you wiped down your bag? That can be a scary answer! Using either disinfectant wipes or a recommended cleaner for certain materials, sanitize your purse, diaper bags, reusable grocery bags and any other similar items on a monthly basis.

electronicElectronics

Think laptops, tablets, computers, remotes and more. With everyone in your household sharing these common items, germs can easily be passed from one person to the next. Clean and sanitize these items weekly.

Keeping up with germs can be tough work. Focusing on problem areas as part of your normal weekly or monthly cleaning routine helps cut the spread of germs and other pesky bacteria in your household. Many professional cleaning services will integrate these tasks into routine cleanings, but be sure to confirm.

Do you regularly clean these items and areas in your home? What other germ hot spots do you make sure to hit? Tell us in the comments section.

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CPR in OAKLAND

CPR-Certified-Hard-Hat-Label-HH-0064Keeping your CPR Certification up to date is important for many reasons and it’s necessary when accepting a position through Town + Country Resources. In order to help you get or stay current with your CPR training, Town + Country continually holds CPR Certification courses. This month, the course will be held at the Cascade Training Center, Suite P100 of our office building at 1333 Broadway, Oakland, on Tuesday, March 29th from 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. This will be a Heartsaver course with infant, child and adult CPR. A skills assessment will be done to confirm rediness of certification. REGISTER NOW

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How to make a good impression on a Skype interview

Skype BlogSkype interviews combine the best of both worlds – if you don’t live locally, you get to meet a prospective employer virtually while saving time and money on travel. However, it can be difficult to express your interest in the position and connect with the employer if you’re not careful. Here are a few things to keep in mind so you can rock your online interview.

  1. Dress appropriately. Just because the interview isn’t in-person doesn’t mean you should be more casual with your approach. We would suggest dressing a step up from how you would for an in-home interview. You won’t be getting down on the ground and playing with children in this interview, so save your more casual wear for the trial.
  2. Look at the camera, not the screen. It’s tempting to watch yourself or your interviewer during a Skype session, but looking directly at the video camera is the only way to maintain direct eye contact with your interviewer.
  3. Watch your body language. Have good posture and try to relax. Not all body language cues are translated over the computer, so that make the ones that do even more important.
  4. Have your resume in front of you. You want to be prepared with your dates of employment, ages of children and responsibilities so you can focus on the employer and easily relay your background and experience.
  5. Close other programs on your computer. You want to be present, focused and making a good first impression. If reminders or text messages pop up you may get distracted. Simplify your screen so you can keep full attention on the interviewer.

Good luck!

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Car Seat Safety

carseatHaving your child driven by someone else is one of the most fraught scenarios for any parent. As a Nanny, it may help the parents you work for to know that you have a clean driving record, a safe vehicle and the complete knowledge of car-seat safety and law.

Buckling up is the single most effective thing you can do to protect yourself and your passengers in a crash. It is extremely important to make sure all children riding in your car are properly secured before every trip. Most collisions occur within a mile of the home – so buckle your child in a safety seat for every trip, no matter how short.

If you’re not confident of how to properly secure your child in a safety seat, ask your employer to provide a demonstration for you. You can also contact your local CHP Area Office, and ask to speak with a child passenger safety technician. Click on this link to locate a local area office anywhere in California.

  • Children under the age of 8 must be secured in a car seat or booster seat in the back seat.
  • Children who are either (i) 8 years of age or (ii) have reached 4 feet, 9 inches in height may be secured by a safety belt in the back seat.
  • Passengers who are 16 years of age and over are subject to California’s mandatory seat belt law.

A new law to be aware of is that effective January 1, 2017, children under 2 years of age must ride in a rear-facing car seat unless the child (i) weighs 40 pounds or more or (ii) is 40 or more inches tall. The child must be secured in a manner that complies with the height and weight limits specified by the manufacturer of the car seat.

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