Advice for Your First Childcare Job Interview
Attending an interview for your first childcare job is an exciting opportunity, but it can also be nerve-wracking! While there will always be an element of nerves, by developing some expectations and practising what you’re going to say, you’ll have a much higher chance of being successful.
This post will cover all the advice you need for your first childcare job interview!
Understand the Centre’s purpose and values
Before going into your first childcare job interview, try to develop an understanding of the centre’s purpose and values. Potential employers will be able to tell that you’ve researched their centre and that you’ve taken the initiative to gain an understanding of their values.
If you genuinely know these things about the centre you’re applying at, you’ll be able to answer questions much more strategically and with more confidence. Take a look through the centre’s website to see their accomplishments, awards, history, and the team’s experience. You could also scroll through their social media accounts to look at their core values and how they display themselves to the public.
Practice answering common questions
You’ll appear a lot more confident and professional if you know what you want to say as soon as the interviewer asks you a question. Instead of tripping and stumbling over your words, you can provide a clear and concise response that will position you as a much stronger candidate. A little bit of practice and preparation is all it takes.
Tell me about yourself!
Although it’s one of the more frequently asked job interview questions, answering it can be a challenge. A good approach is to talk about your out-of-work interests and hobbies, as this provides the employer with some background about your personality and values.
Share hobbies that express yourself as hardworking, trusting, and confident in dealing with difficult tasks. You can also touch on your future professional goals and your current life situation. Consider discussing some of the reasons why you love working with children, how this career inspires and motivates you, as well as what qualities you can bring to the role.
What are your strengths and weaknesses?
If an interviewer asks this question, it’s probably because they’re looking to see if you can deal with some of the common challenges you’ll face working in their childcare centre. They can identify what you will be able to cope well with and some potential situations when you might struggle. In your response, try to avoid describing weaknesses that present you as unmotivated or lazy. Instead, think of something that shows you’re hardworking and passionate about your career.
Your strengths are where you can really sell yourself. Consider some of the positive feedback you’ve received from previous employers about your work performance. It’s a good idea to have a credible source or some strong examples to back up your strengths. Try to choose some strengths that highlight qualities of confidence and ambition, too. Demonstrate what skills and attributes you have, such as a positive attitude and a passion for supporting children’s learning and development.
Why do you want to work for us?
This is your chance to show you’ve researched the centre. Discuss some of the values you share and talk about some of their goals and achievements that you admire. If they’re a small business, mention that you support the small team culture, or if they’re larger, that you appreciate how they’d allow you to grow and share ideas.
Explain why you’d enjoy the responsibilities that come with a role in childcare and what unique skills and qualities you can bring to the role. Remember to also outline your experience and qualifications and explain how they make you an excellent candidate to work in childcare.
What is your experience?
When discussing your previous work experience, try not to confine yourself to your employment history. While you can mention previous job roles, don’t forget any volunteer positions and community work that present you as a strong candidate. If you can, stick to experience that relates to childcare, or at least talk about specifics that make it relatable.
In preparation for your interview, familiarise yourself with the position so that you can share the most relevant skills and experience. In childcare, anything that conveys your skills of patience, teaching, planning, leadership, and communication are well worth mentioning.
Outline your work history and what was expected of you, including how you met these expectations. You’re also welcome to provide data that shows how well you performed in these roles.
Do you understand the National Quality Standards?
The National Quality Standards are seven areas to provide better outcomes for children in the health and education sectors. As an early childhood educator, it will be critical for you to understand not only what the National Quality Standards are, but also how you can implement them in your work.
Share your knowledge of these standards with the interviewer. Talk about your understanding of these standards, including their importance and how you can meet them in your new role.
Have some questions in mind for the interviewer
At the end of a childcare job interview, a potential employer may ask you if you have any questions for them. Instead of saying ‘no’, you can increase your chances of success by asking a question that shows you are ready for the role and all its challenges.
What are the next steps in the hiring process?
This question shows your interest in the role and that you’re serious about moving forward. Understanding the hiring process can provide you with insight into how they are going about choosing the right candidate, so you gauge whether your interview was successful.
How is performance measured in this position?
By asking this question, you show that you’re confident in your abilities and are willing to measure your performance to continually improve. Even if you don’t have everything the employer is looking for in your interview, asking this question positions you as a strong candidate since you’re coachable and willing to learn.
You can follow up the interviewer’s answer by acknowledging that you like that performance management strategy and that you’d be a good fit to develop your skills based on that model. The interviewer will see that you’re passionate about doing the best job you can, and this may help you get the job.
Focus on making a good first impression
It’s a good idea to go to bed a little earlier the night before to make sure you get plenty of sleep. You want your energy levels to be as high as possible during your interview, because childcare is a role that exerts a lot of energy. If you’re tired and depleted during the interview, the employer could take it as a sign that you’re not fit for the role.
Plan your outfit a few days before the interview. You want to appear professional, but also add an element of genuineness and personality. You should also allow enough time for travel (including parking) to arrive early and show you’re reliable and punctual.
Show your personality from the beginning, too! A handshake goes a long way. Working in childcare carries a huge responsibility, but being fun and energetic is a big part of your job, so don’t forget to smile and show your warm personality.
Prepare all your paperwork and documents ahead of time
Even if you’ve already submitted your resume to the employer, you could still print one and take it with you. You may also bring any certificates, qualifications, and awards that you included in your resume.
The interviewer might not ask to see this documentation at the time of the meeting, but by having everything on hand, you can feel more confident and prepared, which may reduce some of the pre-interview nerves.
Are you looking for a great future in childcare? Call us today on 1300 765 560 or take a look at our current vacancies at Guardian here.