Thriving Childcare

How to Hire a Childcare Assistant

Often times when a provider decides they need help and decides to hire an assistant, desperation for immediate aid can lead to hasty decisions.  In short, we might just pick the first person who walks through the door. Here’s how to hire a childcare assistant that is an asset to your daycare business.

Believe me, I’ve been there!  

Overwhelm can turn a rational, thoughtful person into an impulsive employer.  Well, before you hire the mailman, let’s get a process.  Today we are going to actively avoid the desperate inclinations and plan just how to hire a childcare assistant.

How to Hire an Awesome Assistant

Have a Hiring Process

Years ago when I had gotten to the point that I needed an assistant (it was actually way past that point), I didn’t really have a plan.  I didn’t know what questions to ask.  All I knew is I NEEDED HELP!

I once hired an assistant that was so unhelpful that I actually worked harder when she was there.

That was definitely not the way to hire a childcare assistant, certainly not an awesome one anyway.  Years later, after some dismal hires, I realized I needed to put a lot more thought and method into the process.

Have your assistant take the bests notes with this

My Process

  1. I now have an application with specific work-related questions that I email to an applicant to complete prior to our interview.
  2. I schedule either one or two working interview sessions.
  3. Prior or after the working interview I conduct a one-on-one interview.
  4. Choose the best fit for the childcare needs and hire an assistant.

Hiring an assistant can often give more credibility to your childcare business.

Application & Written Questions

Instead of taking up precious time waiting for someone to fill out an application at the interview, send it to them in an email to complete ahead of time. They can either return it in an email or bring it with them to the interview.

I also include a certain amount of written questions along with the application.  These questions are more specific to what I am looking for in an assistant.  

Questions To Find The Right Person For The Job

Questions like “What Child Development college course(s) have you taken?” or “How are your reading and writing skills? ” or “Would you have a problem changing 16 or more diapers a day?”.  

Again, these questions like the application are to be completed ahead of time.  I review the application and questions during the Working Interview.

Ask lots of questions!  This person will be a surrogate for you and your business.

The Working Interview

If you are not familiar with a working interview, it is exactly that.  I schedule an applicant to actually work a shift at the childcare even before deciding to hire them.  


Well, I have found it is one of the best indicators of how a person will perform in a job is by observing them actually doing the job.  Instead of concocting hypothetical scenarios, I think actually performing the job functions can reveal the true ability of a potential assistant.  

By the way, I do pay the applicant for this shift as a further incentive to perform well.

How to Interview Like a Pro

One-on-One Interview

At the end of the Working Interview, I sit down with an applicant for a more typical interview.  

At that time I ask even more questions.  This is your opportunity to ask questions that specifically relate to the job at hand.  Ask questions that pertain to certain functions and tasks at your childcare.

Ask Lots of Questions! hire a childcare assistant

What type of Questions to Ask

In her book, The Ultimate Child Care Staffing Guide Jessica Johnsen of Child Care Marketing Solutions covers two areas to pay close attention to; the type of questions to ask and how to check references.

Here she talks specifically about asking behavioral-based interview questions to probe into an applicant’s abilities.  Questions that refer to “What you have done” rather than “What you would do” type questions are a more effective way of discerning a qualified applicant.  

She also talks extensively about why checking references can be very revealing as far as specific strengths and overall hire-ability of an applicant.

Choosing a Finalist

Hasty decisions have greater potential to be wrong decisions.

The next part of the process is to choose the best person for the job.  

Take your time!  

No matter how desperate you are for help, this should NOT be rushed.  Review the application, questionnaire, and any notes you have from your interviews with the applicants.  hire a childcare assistant

Here is how to narrow down the applicants

Ask yourself these questions

  1. Which person would be the best fit for your personality, clients, and the childcare?  Why?
  2. Is this someone you can see yourself working with every day?
  3. Can you trust this person to be in your home unattended?
  4. How will they be received by your clients?
  5. Do they have the qualifications you need in an assistant?

Hire Your New Assistant

After choosing the best fit out of the applicants, contact your choice and make a job offer.  If accepted, be sure to indicate a start date and time.  hire a childcare assistant

Don’t forget to notify other applicants (the ones you didn’t choose) that the position has now been filled.  I usually will send out an email indicating that it was a pleasure to have met them and that I will keep their information on file for the future, should a position open up (you never know).

Related Reading:

Final Thoughts

Just as with your clients, it is best to decern if your assistant is a good fit early on.

Be sure to consider placing your new assistant on a probationary period.  That way if things don’t seem to work out, you have an out.  A period of 60-90 days is usually pretty standard.

During that time, assess how your assistant is performing in their role.  At the conclusion of the probation, discuss with your assistant what you have observed and what will be the next steps.  Will you retain them permanently, do you need to extend the probation or do you need to part ways?  This is the crucial final step in the process.

 hire a childcare assistant

Related Reading:

After deciding to hire an assistant, the process of hiring one should be taken with thoughtful, deliberate steps.  This person is a mini-you so don’t just take anyone who applies.  Take your time and find a good fit!

Want to remember this?  Save “How to Hire a Childcare Assistant” to your favorite Pinterest boards!


Have you decided you are at the point where you need to get some help?  Has this post helped you consider just how you will go about finding an awesome assistant?  Please leave a comment below and let me know if it helped.

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Adrienne Bradley Thriving Childcare

Hey there, I'm Adrienne. I help daycare providers like you create businesses they love!

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