Everyone who is in the childcare profession is going to have to conduct an interview at one time or another. In order to obtain new clients, it is necessary to facilitate an interview with the prospective clients. This should be a positive experience, one which you can meet the parents, go over your contracts, policies, and procedures. It is also a good time to meet the child or children to see how they will fit into your existing program.
I have participated on list servers for childcare for a number or years, and one of the common complaints that I hear about are from the childcare provider. They prepare at length for an interview, only to have a parent not show up. This is where good communication comes into play.
To avoid no shows, it is best to contact the interviewee the night before the interview to confirm. When they call to make the appointment, tell them you will call to confirm the night before. Some providers may think it is not their responsibility to make that phone call, however, it is good customer service to do so. Consider yourself in the service industry, you provide a service to your clients. By making a reminder phone call, you not only set yourself apart from other childcare providers as a professional, but you will also find out for sure if the interview will take place.
There have been some comments lately on the list servers from Resource and Referral personnel that are sending clients out to interview at various childcare homes. The interviews take place, but the parents are extremely unhappy at what they find. Safety and cleanliness issues are generally those that are complained about.
What type of preparations do you make when you have an interview scheduled?
By answering the following questions, you should be able to prepare yourself and your home for the interview process.
Do you make sure that your home is clean and tidy?
Do you make sure that your home smells fresh, and not like soiled diapers?
Do you make sure that the home is free of safety hazards (which should be done anyway!)
Do you make sure that you have forms, contracts, and miscellaneous other paperwork assembled ahead of time?
Do you have activities scheduled for the children already in your care? (This is to avoid children running in and out of the area you are conducting the interview.)
Do you invite the prospective client to bring their child(ren) with them so that you may meet the child(ren) and see how he/she may interact in your childcare?
Do you make sure you are “dressed for success” when the prospective clients arrive? (yes this makes a difference!) Are you clean and tidy? Fully dressed? It is not necessary to dress up, but you should make an attempt to look tidy. Not only is your home and program being observed, but you as well. First impressions to count!
Do you make sure that you are in compliance with health, and safety regulations as mandated by your state licensing agency?
Do you make sure that you are not over ratio?
Do you make sure that your credentials are in order? (First Aid & CPR, Childcare License, Food Handler’s Card…)
Do you prepare a list of references to provide the prospective client?