How to rock a parent interview.
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  1. #1
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    Default How to rock a parent interview.

    I was wondering if we could have a discussion on how to have the best parent interviews. I usually do okay in mine, but today I have just completely stuffed one up. My brain went completely blank, absolutely no words came into my mind at all, not even irrelevant off topic stuff, just completely blank. The parent I was interviewing was very shy too, and I had no other children here, so there was a whole lot of silent standing and watching her little one play. Little one was very shy and wouldn't talk to start with so sitting down and playing with her would have only made it worse. By the end I was playing with her, but only after a lot of uncomfortable silence.
    I know I can't be the only one to have a crisis of confidence during an interview (not a crisis of my ability, but a crisis of adult to adult skills lol) so how about we all work up a cheat sheet for parent interviews.

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    I often have a digital photo frame running with photos of activities and outings we do to help conversations along and they can see photos of children muddy and wet in puddles or up to armpits in gloop and paint and decide if I'm the right childminder for them. Quiet parent are hard work, I hate silence and find myself waffling trying to fill it and sounding like an idiot.

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    Good idea!

    Although I do feel that these first impressions are vital. I once had a lady round who hardly spoke a word to me, I was very uncomfortable with her body language and decided not to take her on. The next parent I had round a week later was lovely, chatty, bubbly and we got on from the word go.

    I felt at ease with her where as the other one I wish the ground would open and swallow me up. I understand that she may have been nervous but we just didn't gel. I couldn't see how we could work together. Not every parent visit goes well.

    Time Out.. The perfect time for thinking about what you're going to destroy next.

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    I agree, if you don't 'get on' and find each other easy to talk to then it is probably a sign you are not a good match anyway.
    It can help to prepare beforehand a few questions to get you started if things go quiet (if you have a note book during these meetings to jot down the info you are gathering like days/hours etc it can help to put a few prompts in shorthand in the corner of the page) like 'have you lived in the area long?' 'how are you feeling about going back to work?' 'Do you take xxx to any of the local baby groups?'... etc. Good conversation starters and also good information gathering!

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    I agree with all the previous posts and have to say I have had a couple of cringe interviews in my time. As everyone has said usually the parent doesn't come to you as there was no connection and they do better elsewhere but I think we all know when the situation isn't right. Saying that I have also been very surprised a couple of times when as I shut the door my thoughts were 'well that's that' and then they ring to say they want me! sometimes it worked (even then) and sometimes it didn't.

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    I've also felt uncomfortable in my own home during some interviews. I now invite perspective parents when I am working. I choose a day when I feel confident that the mindees on that day will 'interact and play' nicely with the perspective child as oppose to 'play up' when I'm chatting to another adult. I also choose the time. I text/email/say a time that suits me and give the interview maximum 30 minutes by saying something like ' 10.00 OK? We have to be out of the house at 10.30 for a blah blah appointment'. It cuts everything to be much neater. I finish off by saying that I have other parents interested also and one is coming later in the week (my get out clause if I think we're not compatible). But everyone interview is different. I just be myself.

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    I have found having my own kids around can go either way. At times they have been beautifully behaved showing the potential mindees their toys and talking to parents. At other times they have been a nightmare. It seems to have depended on the time of day - earlier is better, and how long the parents/child stay.

    It's not great when you don't have much to say. I have only had a handful of interviews but the ones with parents who are quiet have been most difficult - I hate small talk at the best of times!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ellisha View Post

    It's not great when you don't have much to say. I have only had a handful of interviews but the ones with parents who are quiet have been most difficult - I hate small talk at the best of times!
    Oooo, it's hard when you get a non talking parent, who, not only doesn't ask anything, gives one word answers!

    And it's hard if you haven't any minded children for a prospective mindee to play with. I try to have out suitable toys/activities for the age of the child visiting.

    I have a form that I ask all prospective parents to fill in with name, address, contact details, child's name/dob, what days/hours/start date they want .... then I scribble other notes on it such as if they go to toddlers, what they do/where they work etc.

    But sometimes it's just hard!

    xxx

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    I have been know to cheat and to invite new parents in the afternoon so I knew they would still be there when 2 other parents were collecting - I could rely on these parents to sing my praises and it never failed in getting new parents signed up - unfortunately these parents have now left as children have started school.

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    Quote Originally Posted by singingcactus View Post
    I was wondering if we could have a discussion on how to have the best parent interviews. I usually do okay in mine, but today I have just completely stuffed one up. My brain went completely blank, absolutely no words came into my mind at all, not even irrelevant off topic stuff, just completely blank. The parent I was interviewing was very shy too, and I had no other children here, so there was a whole lot of silent standing and watching her little one play. Little one was very shy and wouldn't talk to start with so sitting down and playing with her would have only made it worse. By the end I was playing with her, but only after a lot of uncomfortable silence.
    I know I can't be the only one to have a crisis of confidence during an interview (not a crisis of my ability, but a crisis of adult to adult skills lol) so how about we all work up a cheat sheet for parent interviews.
    I find I'm the other way if people are shy I suffer from verbal diarrhoea. Honestly you would think I had never had a adult conversation in my life. They must leave the house needing paracetamol
    When someone tells you nothing is impossible, tell them to go slam a revolving door

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