Updated on February 3rd, 2019 | Rachelle is a job search expert, career coach, and headhunter who helps everyone from students to fortune executives find success in their career.
Question 1 of 30
Name for me three activities appropriate for children age 3-5.
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It's time to show the interviewer that you have what it takes to be a thoughtful, creative, and active daycare professional. Your response to this question is what could set you apart from other candidates, landing you the job! Think of the activities that your previous little students have loved the most, and be sure to draw in the educational component. If you are new to the child care and education industry, here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Puzzles (age appropriate)
- Matching games
- Letter tracing
- Scavenger hunts
- Musical chairs
"I know that kids age 3-5 are curious about the world around them. They need to explore, keep their hands busy, work on their vocabulary, as well as master their hand-eye coordination. Some of the activities that my current class respond to best include jigsaw puzzles with images they are familiar with, the game eye-spy where we guess from colors shapes and sounds, and also musical activities such as musical chairs."
"The top three activities I like for kids age 3-5 include one math, one musical, and one reading exercise. First, I would have kids trace numbers, so they get used to how it feels to write them down. The second activity I would choose as age appropriate would be games about animals and the sounds they make. I prefer to teach this knowledge through the use of visual aids and music. Next, I would introduce easy-to-read words so they can gain confidence early on when it comes to their reading abilities."
Do you have any fun or unique talents that a child would love?
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This question is another way for the interview to inquire about how you stand out from other candidates. Why should they hire you? Feel free to have fun with this question. You see, a child doesn't care that you have an education in early childhood development; a child cares about the fact that you're good at making cupcakes with them! Discuss which unique talents you would bring to this daycare center.
"I have played musical instruments all my life and enjoy bringing new sounds into the center for the kids. Every week I will bring in a new instrument for them to learn. These instruments have included a keyboard, guitar, harmonica, flute, and even a didgeridoo! These musical experiences are always well received by the children and their parents, alike."
"Before going into child care as a career, I was training to be a pastry chef. We have a commercial kitchen in my current center and, once a month, I bake with the 5-year-olds. It's hilarious to see them try to measure and figure out a recipe. They are so proud to show their creations to their parents at pick-up time. These experiences are fun but are also teaching kids about reading, hand-eye coordination, following instructions, and even figuring out fractions!"
Why are you the best childcare worker for our center?
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Interviewers want to hear about that one unique skill that sets you apart from the other candidates applying for this job. Think of your answer as your 'elevator pitch' or your qualifying statement. If you can't think of ways that you are unique, ask a few friends or family members what they feel sets you apart from other people. Their observations may help you understand how you are perceived.
Perhaps you already know what sets you apart! This skill could include any additional industry related training, a second language, or how involved you are in the community. Don't be afraid to brag about yourself a bit. In an interview, you are your most influential advocate.
"In addition to winning the 'Employee of the Year' award in my current daycare center this year, I also bring an elevated level of education compared to most candidates. I have my Degree in Early Childhood Education and have also taught Level I FirstAid courses. I look forward to bringing this knowledge and influence to your esteemed daycare."
"I am known to offer creative solutions for educating preschool children, an approach many of the parents at my current center have praised. I have seen a ton of change in the early childhood education curriculum over the last few years and have adapted to every change or innovation with ease and excitement."
What has been the most formative experience you've had in your work with young children and families?
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The interviewer wants to know about an experience you've had, within your child care career, that has left a lasting impression on you. Perhaps you worked with a special needs child, giving them the confidence to read aloud. Maybe you helped a child with an issue surrounding bullying. Whatever your experience, briefly tell your story to the interviewer. Show the hiring authority that you have a genuine passion for your career path in child care.
"The most formative experience was when I worked with a child, one on one, who was 7 and could barely yet read. Professionals were throwing out a diagnosis that included dyslexia, ADHD and more. Her parents hired me to work with her for three months. The progress she made was astounding. I feel that my work with her saved her from embarrassment in school, and even potential medication. This experience truly was one of the most gratifying times of my career."
"During my internship, I was working in a preschool. One of the students there was so cute and affectionate with me. I didn't know why she was drawn to me so much, but it was endearing. At the end of my internship, she made me a homemade card and cookies. Later, I learned from the director that this child had lost her mom the year before. I believe she saw qualities in me that made her feel safe, cared for, and mothered. This experience made me reflect on the fact that we spend more time with these kids than their parents can, some days. This fact means that we have to be even more aware of our actions and the overall vibe that we are giving to the kids we care for."
What do you consider key elements in a high quality daycare operation?
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As a daycare professional, what tools and resources do you believe you should have, to be successful in your job? The interviewer would like to know what you expect from their facility, so they know that their offering will be a fit for you. Discuss what you think a high-quality daycare operation should provide to the families that choose them for child care.
"I believe that every daycare should have highly qualified staff, an excellent nutrition program, a formal curriculum, and a huge amount of accountability; whether that comes from a board of directors or regular assessments and quality checks. Every child should feel comfortable and safe, warm. I see all of these elements at your program which is one of the reasons I felt so compelled to apply here."
"Clear communication between the daycare center and the families are the top of the list. When communication is clear, the environment feels harmonious. Second, I believe every daycare operation needs to be incredibly tidy, clean, and organized. Third, hiring only the best of the best so that each child is receiving top-shelf care every single day. I see these elements here and am very impressed by your overall offering."
6. How would you react if a child was choking? Your training in CPR will teach you exactly what to do if a child was choking; however, the interviewer wants to see that you can recall your training under pressure.
When a child is choking you should:
1. Assess if the child can cough. Coughing is the best way to remove a blockage.
2. If the child cannot cough, call 911 and begin back blows and abdominal thrusts.
3. If the child cannot breathe, start CPR. Due to the blockage, the CPR will need to be modified.
4. Give chest compressions and rescue breaths until the item becomes dislodged and the child begins to breathe.
5. When emergency care arrives, let the professionals take over.
Walk the interviewer through these steps, showing that you have absorbed your CPR training to the point where you would be helpful in an emergency. Here is an answer example: "Only once in my childcare career have I had to help a choking child. It was so scary, but I knew what to do. It's amazing how quickly my instincts kicked in. I called 911 and, while waiting for the EMS to arrive, I performed back blows and abdominal thrusts. Luckily, I was able to dislodge the item, and the child was okay in the end." Here is an answer example: "I recently completed my CPR certification and learned a lot. I know the correct steps to take when a child is choking, and how to modify CPR should the blockage not become dislodged after administering back blows and compressions. I hope never to have to use this training; however, should the situation arise, I am ready to help."7. Are you currently certified in CPR and First Aid? Most daycare positions require certification in CPR, First Aid, or both. It's wise for you to bring your current certification with you so that the hiring authority can take a copy of your valid documents and keep them for your candidate file. If your certifications are not up to date, at the very least, you should go into the interview with a plan in place. Here is an answer example: "My CPR certification expired last week, but my First Aid is valid for another six months. There is a recertification course being offered next week, at the community college, and I am registered to attend. If you would like, you are more than welcome to take a copy of what I have, and I will send you my proof of recertification the moment I have it." Here is an answer example: "I recertified my CPR and First Aid just last month. I brought my certificates with me so that you could make a copy for my file. Are there any other certifications you like to see, in regards to health and safety?"8. We believe in regular professional development. What skills would you like to learn? This question means excellent news for you as you'll likely be offered chances to expand your education, helping you to push your career path forward. Think of the areas which you would like additional training and knowledge.
Perhaps you want to know more about early childhood education techniques. Maybe you would like to know more on the administrative side so that you can be a program director one day. Be specific about your learning goals and show enthusiasm for the opportunity to develop yourself professionally. Here is an answer example: "If I were to further my knowledge in any area, I would choose a course on child safety and security procedures. I believe this knowledge will help me to grow into a leadership opportunity down the road. I appreciate the opportunity for professional development and would eagerly participate in any coursework your facility recommends." Here is an answer example: "I would love the opportunity to help create a core curriculum one day. From the research I have done, that would mean further courses in early childhood education. I look forward to the opportunity to grow and develop with your organization. Thank you, in advance, for the chance at further education."9. Have you ever volunteered? Did you know that, according to LinkedIn research, 1 in 5 hiring managers prefers to hire candidates with volunteer experience? This question is an excellent opportunity to discuss how you are involved in your community and that you commit time to help others. If you have volunteer experience, you have a leg-up on other candidates.
Many non-profit organizations have a long onboarding process with background checks and references required so if you need to gain volunteer experience pronto, here are some options for a quick turnaround:
- Raise money for a cause, like the Red Cross
- Donate blood on a regular rotation or organize a blood drive
- Have a craft or bake sale to raise funds for a charity close to your heart
- Run in a charity race where financial pledges are required
- Advise high-school and University students on a crowd-sourced advice platform like CareerVillage
- Write articles for non-profit organizations, for free
- Sponsor a business owner in a third world country using a platform like Kiva.org
- Volunteer at your church camp
- Clean up a local park
- Volunteer to tutor a student
- Foster animals for a rescue society Here is an answer example: "I currently volunteer every Saturday at the local animal shelter. I help to organize adoption applications and also screen the applicants. It feels great to help out, and it melts my heart when we make a perfect pet-parent match." Here is an answer example: "After I completed High School, I went to build homes for Habitat for Humanity over one summer. This summer was when I realized the heart that I have for helping children to get a solid start. I owe my interest in child care and education to that volunteer opportunity."10. Do you have any plans for continued education? Daycare workers can enjoy a plethora of career choices within child care, and education, in numerous settings. Depending on the role, you may require a higher level of knowledge when it comes to teaching or child development topics. If you are interested in higher education, it is essential that you express your desire to work in tandem with your classes. The concern of the interviewer is that you will be hired, trained, and then want to leave your job to go back to school full time.
Some organizations will offer tuition support or a reimbursement program for their employees who wish to continue their education. If they do provide this type of perk, you can indeed show interest but make sure that your continued education aspirations are related to the industry and job. If you are a daycare worker, you want to avoid saying that you would like to take courses in zoology. Here is an answer example: "I believe that continued education is always a good idea. I like to expand my knowledge of child development whenever possible. With that said, my job would always come first. I understand that you have a tuition reimbursement program for your employees seeking related coursework. I would be interested in learning more about this down the road." Here is an answer example: "As a daycare worker, continued education is vital to remain up to date and effective when teaching and leading my students. I am very interested in continued education opportunities. My current center has a few opportunities for professional development throughout the year, in which I always participate. Could you tell me more about your professional development and continued education opportunities?"11. Would you consider yourself a creative person? Kids love fun, exploration, and creativity. Talk to the interviewer about any interest that you have in creative activities and how you have implemented your creative desires in the workplace. Even if you do not consider yourself to be a 'creative person,' there is a significant chance that you have made creative minded decisions as a daycare worker. Here is an answer example: "Having been a musician all my life, I do believe that I am a creative person. I grew up playing the piano and still practice a couple of times per week. The kids I work with love it when I bring my keyboard. They dance and sing, and it's so sweet to see them express their creativity through music." Here is an answer example: "Yes, I do consider myself to be a creative individual. I will often work with my students on hands-on projects. I believe in the use of multi-media to teach, and learn, which takes a great deal of creativity."12. Do you prefer doing work on a routine day-to-day basis or do you prefer mixing up your routine? The interviewer would like to know your preference when it comes to a predictable versus an unpredictable work routine. Working with children, you have a bit of both! You will have a set schedule in the daycare center, to provide structure for your students. However; kids' behavior is entirely unpredictable and no day will be the same.
Discuss with the interviewer if you are the individual who prefers to know what the method will be for the day, or if you thrive on the challenge and excitement of unpredictability. It's best to display a balance between the two, using the most current position in your answer. Here is an answer example: "No day is the same when you are caring for and educating children. I wouldn't have it any other way! I prefer to switch up the day, offer my students time to move around, have fun, and learn through exploration. With that said, the schedule is the same every day so that the kids have a routine. I do switch up the activities, games, and songs to keep it fresh." Here is an answer example: "No day is the same when you are in the child care industry. I prefer to switch up the day, offer my students time to move around, have fun, and learn through exploration. With that said, kids do need routine as well. I always let them know what to expect in their day, so there are few surprises present in that sense."13. Do people see you as a trustworthy and honest individual? Being a trustworthy and honest person is a significant requirement when you are working with other people's children. The interviewer would like to know how others see you. It is easy to say that you are trustworthy and honest, but it's best if you can back it up with a review or words from a previous supervisor. If you have a written performance review, talking about your character, even better! Here is an answer example: "I am proud to say that my clients, co-workers, and family all see me as trustworthy and honest. I take great pride in my positive reputation. I have asked my most recent employer for a written review, which they are crafting right now. I would be happy to send it to you once it's ready." Here is an answer example: "People see me as trustworthy and honest. I would not have it any other way. When you call my references, they will comment on my high morals and strong values. I pass these along to my students as well."14. What is your favorite age group, and why? The interviewer would like to know which age group of children you prefer to care for, and what your reasoning is behind your response. Some people love the baby stage, while others adore older kids who you can reason with and teach. Whatever your answer, be sure to avoid pigeonholing yourself into one age category. Be sure you understand the age of care offered by the hiring daycare center, before your interview. Here is an answer example: "I love kids of all ages; however, I would say that age 2-4 is my favorite. Preschool children, such as the ages you care for at this center, are so curious, inquisitive, and eager to learn. The attributes of preschoolers make it fun and rewarding to teach them the basics of math, reading, and socializing." Here is an answer example: "Kids aged 1-2 are so sweet and funny and, although more challenging to care for, I can't get enough. It's gratifying to work with children who are so young. I love helping them to develop a solid foundation right from the start. When your job advertisement asked for experience from baby to preschool kids, I knew I needed to apply!"15. Is compensation the most important factor for you when taking a new job? Depending on your region, the interviewer may not be allowed to ask you what you currently earn. This question will enable them to open up the compensation question without coming off too strong. The interviewer would like to know how much emphasis you put on pay when considering a new position. In addition to compensation, there are many other factors to a fulfilling career. These other factors may include:
- work/life balance
- overall medical and health benefits
- amount of vacation time
- the type of kids you would be working with
- the location of the daycare
- career growth opportunity
- the size of your new childcare team
- the center's reputation
- overall workplace culture
Talk to the interviewer about other factors that are important to you when considering a new job. If you are not sure on details for this role, you can ask! Here is an answer example: "Salary is important to me because I know that I am skilled and well educated in the child care space. With that said, I do look at the full picture which includes factors such as benefits and the amount of paid vacation time." Here is an answer example: "Several factors are important to me when taking a job. Compensation is a driving component but so is the daycare's overall mission, culture, benefits, and location. I am looking to have an easier commute than I currently experience, and I'd love to join a highly supportive team."16. How do you prevent stress from your personal life entering your professional life? One of the most significant problems between employees and employer is that outside influences, and stressors, begin to affect work performance and outcomes. Assure the interviewer that you understand the importance of keeping your cool, and your focus, in the workplace. Discuss the action that you take to ensure professionalism is present at all times. Here is an answer example: "When I have a healthy balance in my personal life and responsibilities, I am much better at handling work-related stress. I keep very organized and draw boundaries well. Rest assured, I do not bring my personal life to work with me. These children deserve to get the best of my time and attention." Here is an answer example: "Stress management in the workplace is an incredibly important skill to master. I am assertive, in both my personal and professional life which means that when a stressor comes up, I nip it in the bud before the symptoms creep into areas of my life that it should not."17. Tell me about a time when you improved communication between yourself and a co-worker, a parent, or a child. Excellent communication skills are top of mind for any interviewer looking to hire a new daycare worker. Parents want to be in the know, children are still learning how to communicate, and co-workers need to collaborate to create a harmonious emotional environment for the children.
The interviewer would like to know about a time that your communication skills improved a work-based situation. Possessing the skills to enhance communication in the workplace is a precious asset. Talk to the interviewer about a time when you used your excellent communication skills to improve a specific situation. Perhaps you helped a child to express their feelings better. Maybe you were able to smooth over a miscommunication, or you helped an internal change go over smoothly. Here is an answer example: "I work continuously on improving communication between myself and the parents of the children attending my daycare. I recently polled the parents asking them if they prefer that letters are sent home, or emailed. A whopping 87% of the parents said they preferred email communication, so I implemented a regular e-newsletter containing news from our classroom and any files that needed to be signed and sent back." Here is an answer example: "I am often the main point of contact for parents which means that my communication style needs to be crystal clear. Before onboarding a new family I have a set of questions that I ask. They are discovery questions, and I then pass onto my daycare director. This process has helped us better vet the families we are accepting, making sure we have new children that are a great fit with our existing community."18. Do you have experience with special needs children? Working with special needs children often requires additional special education training. The interviewer would like to know if you have the necessary training and experience to provide the love and acceptance that special needs children deserve. If you do not, you can express how your current level of care is excellent for children of any ability. Here is an answer example: "In my current role, we have some students who need extra care when it comes to behavioral triggers and educational approaches. I appreciate the opportunity to work with kids of all walks and embrace them all, no matter their level of need. I have taken a couple of courses in individualized education program building which is very applicable when it comes to working alongside special needs students." Here is an answer example: "I am new to my career in childcare; however, I am confident in my ability to run programs for children at all need levels. I am incredibly patient, kind, and innovative when it comes to approaches to learning."19. How do you keep your emotions in check when your patience is tested? Patience is indeed a virtue but can be challenging to maintain when it seems that situations continue to push your buttons, especially when you're working with unpredictable children! Show the interviewer that you possess the ability to keep your emotions in check during challenging conditions.
The interviewer would like to know if you consider yourself a patient individual. Impatience can cause a lot of stress and anxiety in coworkers and children, so it is essential that you can showcase your ability to remain patient and professional in a child care setting. Here is an answer example: "I am quite patient both as a daycare worker and a mom. I take my buttons being pushed, in stride, and always try to get the kids to explain what's going on and why they're having trouble. I encourage them to 'use their words' which often helps when miscommunication is the cause of frustration. If I am feeling an unwanted emotion arise, I make sure not to show it and take a deep breath." Here is an answer example: "I feel I'm very patient overall, but when I feel my limits pushed, I try to take a step away to regain the composure needed to approach the situation with a level head. If that isn't an option, I will take a sip of water and a few deep yoga breaths and try to approach the situation from another angle."20. Are you able to perform the physically demanding activities related to this role? You can keep your response straightforward when it comes to your ability to perform the work. If you do have restrictions when it comes to lifting, standing, bending, or more you should disclose this to the interviewer. Although legally, the interviewer may not be able to ask about physical hindrances or disabilities, it's in your best interest to be straightforward. Here is an answer example: "From reading the job description I believe that I can perform the physical activities in this role. Nothing is restricting me from playing with the kids, lifting them, or standing most of the day. I am sure to wear practical clothing and comfortable footwear so that I can keep up with the little ones all day!" Here is an answer example: "The only restriction that I have is my ability to lift more than 50 pounds. Seeing as most of the children in this age group will be under 25 pounds, I do not see any issues with my ability to perform the work as described in your job posting. I am active, fit, and energetic."21. What kind of people do you enjoy working with? Workplace culture is a significant factor when looking for a new position. Talk to the interviewer about the types of personalities with which you best work. Be sure to remain positive and avoid using this as an opportunity to speak poorly of previous colleagues. Think of a few traits that co-workers should have, and include that in your answer. Such as, motivated to succeed, enjoys collaborating with others, and passionate about child development. Here is an answer example: "I best enjoy working with driven individuals, people who are positive, energetic, and take accountability for their actions. I do have the ability to work with a large variety of individuals; however, these are the ideal traits I would like to see in future colleagues." Here is an answer example: "I most enjoy working with driven educators and child care providers who are focused and have an empathetic heart for their kids. How would you describe the environment and culture at your daycare center?"22. What do you most enjoy about working with children? What is the most challenging aspect for you? It's easy to discuss what you love about your job, but how do you approach the challenging aspects without sounding like a whiner? Everyone will have downsides when it comes to their career, but it's how you approach those challenges that matter the most.
Choose one thing you would change, if you could, and discuss what you do as a workaround. Then, finish on a high note by considering the best part of your role as a daycare worker. Here is an answer example: "Working with children can mean unpredictable situations all day long. As a highly organized person, I believe this is the most challenging aspect for me. However, the spontaneity that children love can also be a lot of fun. I most enjoy seeing the excitement on their face when we have a surprise activity, or they learn a new skill. Seeing a child so happy and excited to show off their newfound knowledge is truly the best feeling." Here is an answer example: "For me, the most challenging aspect of childcare is seeing a child who is not confident in who they are. I want every kid to feel like they can accomplish anything in the world! I overcome this by giving these kids lots of praise and encouraging them to try new things even if they think they will fail. My favorite part of working with children is seeing them flourish through encouragement, confidence-building, and opportunity."23. How do you handle working under very close supervision? These days, many daycares have cameras set up so that parents can log in and watch their kids play while they are at work. Technology has made it so that, if they wanted, they could have all eyes on their children (and you!) at all times. The interviewer would like to know if you can handle working under such close supervision. Here is an answer example: "In my current role I work closely with my boss, we have cameras strategically located around the center, and we have regular check-ins every day. I think these measures are great because they reassure parents while protecting the workers and children at the same time. Could you share with me the supervision measures you take here?" Here is an answer example: "I am a fantastic employee, so you will not feel the need to supervise my every move; however, I understand that a lot of supervision is required when working in childcare. When you speak of close supervision, are you referring to micromanaging or are you speaking of close working relationships with the parents and children at your daycare center?"24. Why did you choose a career path in child care? The hiring authority wants to know the basics behind your passion for working with kids. This question is an excellent opportunity for you to show your genuine heart and interests. Since this is an open-ended question, be careful to keep your response clear and concise. Talk about what sparked your interest in a career as a daycare worker, expressing your excitement for this opportunity. Here is an answer example: "I have always loved working with children. The moment I turned 12, I completed my babysitters' course. I couldn't wait! A path in child care is no surprise to anyone who knows me best. I enjoy guiding, teaching, mentoring, and exploring with kids, helping them to create a keen sense of curiosity for the world around them while building unshakable confidence." Here is an answer example: "I chose a career path in child care after realizing that neo-natal nursing was not for me. I took a year off after my first year of nursing school, traveled, and volunteered across the globe. Through that experience, I rediscovered my passion for teaching kids. When I returned from my travels, I immediately enrolled in early child care and education. Today, I am here, thrilled to begin my new path in child care."25. We hire only those with a perfect background check. Is there anything that would prevent you from passing these? Daycare centers are contractually obligated to run thorough background checks on everyone they hire, sub-contract, or utilize for special events and presentations. The Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 2014 requires criminal background checks for all staff members at child care centers, even if they do not directly care for children.
If you want to show high initiative, go to your local police station and request a background check, at your own expense. Then, bring the results with you to your interview. If you cannot do this, due to time or finances, at the very least, you should offer to take the first step. Background checks for daycares may include various criminal checks, drug screening, motor vehicle records, and a sex offender registry search.
Assure the interviewer that you are qualified to work with children and willing to comply with any background checks required. Here is an answer example: "I took the initiative to bring a recent criminal background check with me today. I understand that you are obligated to run a variety of checks on me, to which I am happy to comply." Here is an answer example: "My criminal record is clean, as is my driving record and drug screen. I will comply with any background check you require. I appreciate that your daycare center is so thorough and diligent when it comes to making safe hiring decisions."26. How do you prevent medical situations like a food allergy trigger in your daycare? Every daycare center must be responsible, careful, and diligent when it comes to protecting children with allergies and other acute medical needs. If you have training in health and safety or even nutrition for kids with allergies, be sure to mention this to the hiring authority. Discuss the steps you would take to ensure that all kids remain safe in your daycare center. Here is an answer example: "In my current daycare, we provide all the food to the children, so that we can ensure no allergy-triggering foods such as soy, peanuts, or dairy come into the center. The parents pre-approve a set menu every three months, so they have assurance their child is receiving the best nutrition possible. I believe the more you can control within the center, the safer the place can be for everyone." Here is an answer example: "I believe that prevention starts with educating the parents. We are very clear with parents that our center is a nut-free zone, for instance. My current team double checks lunches and snacks before they are given to the children as well. If a child has special medical needs such as an EpiPen or medication requirements, we train on the procedure until we are fully comfortable administering the meds."27. Have you ever identified signs of physical or emotional abuse of a child? If so, what action did you take? Identifying abuse in children, no matter the type, is a somber topic and one of reality for child care providers. Throughout your career you may have kids confide in you, tell you their secrets, or you may see unusual behavior or even physical signs such as bruises. If you have experience in childcare, you may have received training on what to do when you identify signs of abuse. If you do not have training on this topic, ask the interviewer what they recommend at this daycare center, but show them that you have the correct instincts. Here is an answer example: "Although I have not received formal training on this topic, my instinct would be to document the incident and hand in that report to my program director immediately. Then, I assume the program director would call the police or CPS. Is this correct?" Here is an answer example: "It's hard to imagine that someone would purposefully hurt a child. Last year I had one of my preschool students tell me that their mom slapped them. I reported the incident to my director and together, we called the police who then involved child protective services. It was a tough situation, but I felt it was my responsibility to protect that young child, by speaking up for her. Could you tell me more about your process here?"28. How would you reassure an angry or concerned parent that their child is receiving the best care? Parents can be an enormous challenge to daycare workers. Understandably, you are taking care of the most precious part of their lives! Discuss with the interviewer how you would go about reassuring a concerned parent that their child is having a wonderful time, and gaining the fruitful experiences they need and deserve. Some important steps include:
- Call an administrator or program leader to join in on the conversation
- Actively listen so that you can narrow down the real root of the issue
- Never argue, deny, or brush off the parent's concern
- Ask the parent what resolution they would like to see
- Set a plan for how the situation will be addressed and repaired
- Then, follow through on that plan and follow up with the parent
- Thank them for their honesty and for approaching you directly Here is an answer example: "It's important to address angry or concerned parents with two listening ears, and an open mind. There will always be a basis to their concern, and whether true or not, it feels very true for them. I like to ask what type of resolution they feel would be most appropriate, and then move forward from there. It's also important to have a program director present if the concern is serious such as bullying or a violation of conduct." Here is an answer example: "Parents want to feel heard, and that a course of action will take place after they express their concern. My method for handling parent conversations is to listen, repeat back, make a plan, follow through, and then follow up. I have yet, in my 6-year daycare career, have a parent remain unhappy after expressing a concern."29. What part of being a daycare worker brings you the most stress? Stress can often be a regular part of the day to day work experience, primarily when you work with the unpredictable nature of children and their parents!
Talk to the interviewer about which areas of your career as a daycare worker are the most stressful. Ensure that your answer does not include a factor that would make you appear unfit for the position. For instance, a daycare worker should not find mediating between children to be the most stressful part of the job. Here is an answer example: "I currently have a couple of delinquent team members who are on the brink of termination. I never like to see people leave, but you cannot force others to have a strong work ethic. The turnover in our daycare center and the uncertainty of people showing up to work is currently my biggest stressor." Here is an answer example: "Budget cuts are stressful for any child care provider; however, our program has been hit especially hard this year. I have to be very conscious of my day's plans and the materials used and have had to cut back on field trips which is an unfortunate fact for the kids. I feel they deserve more experiences than our center is providing; part of why I am looking for a new position with a better-funded program."30. How would you handle a physical altercation between two children? How do you address the issue of bullying? The topic of bullying is a significant one, and every child care provider should have firm processes in place to immediately deal with a situation surrounding bullying. Some ways that daycare address bullying includes:
- Talking often about playing nice, and being kind
- Reward empathy and kindness
- Have clear consequences for bullying such as timeouts
- Regularly praise good behavior Here is an answer example: "We know, as childcare professionals, that kids under the age of 3 have not yet developed the cognitive ability to be empathetic; however, we can teach it early on, and greatly encourage it by praising good behavior and having immediate consequences for behavior that is unkind. I know that kids imitate what they see so, if there were a physical altercation, I would have a meeting with both parties and their parents, to get down to the root of the issue." Here is an answer example: "Last month I had a similar situation arise, where two four-year-olds had a physical altercation that involved biting and pinching. I called in the parents for a meeting and explained the situation. The parents arranged a private play-date between the kids so they could learn to get along and trust each other. This response helped a great deal with how they got along, moving forward. I realize the importance of nipping this behavior in the bud immediately, and will not let destructive behavior to go ignored. If the situation persisted, I would recommend removal of the child from the program. Every child has the right to feel safe."
Author of Daycare Worker Answers and Questions
Rachelle Enns is a job search expert, executive headhunter, career catalyst, and interview coach. Utilized by top talent from Fortune companies like Microsoft, General Electric, and Nestle, she helps professionals position themselves in today's competitive digital marketplace.
Rachelle founded Renovate My Resume and Executive Resume Solutions, two companies focused on helping job seekers get their edge back. She helps everyone from new graduates looking for their first placement, to CEO's who want more out of their career.
Rachelle coaches students to executives on how to master the toughest interview questions and how to handle the most bizarre interview situations; all with confidence and poise.
Rachelle trains other career coaches, recruiters, and resume writers, globally. A big part of her job is also spent coaching HR professionals on how to bring the human touch back into their interview and hiring process.
First written on: 06/12/2013 Last modified on: 02/03/2019
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