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Daycare Center and Family Home Forum>Your Interview Process?
DuchessRavenwaves 08:16 AM 04-30-2014
Hi everybody! You guys have been so very helpful to me in the past, both in my own threads I've started and just reading other things around the site. I'm so glad I found you all!

I am in the process of getting a parent handbook and other forms together. Until now, I had not really had any formalized policies and procedures. I'm just now, about 7 months after opening, starting to get my "stuff" together.

I have two kids right now and really, really need to get some more! I had an inquiry about an interview for an 8 month old boy, and I'm going to respond and attempt to set something up.

It would be really helpful if you could walk me through what you do at/during your interview process! I don't know what I'm doing here!
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Blackcat31 08:25 AM 04-30-2014
For me, the interview process is the key to whether the family and I will be a good fit for one another or not.

Most my interviews last about 60-90 minutes...sometimes longer.

I start by giving the parents a tour of my physical environment.
Then we sit down at the table and go through my handbook. I keep a master copy with highlighted areas that I want to make sure I cover with potential clients.

During this process, I will ask the parents questions about their home life, family traditions and beliefs as well as bed time, eating and discipline routines.

This helps me get a better understanding of how things work in their homes and what I can expect as far as support or feedback in terms of being able to work with the family when dealing with possible issues.

The number #1 thing mistake I personally feel providers make when interviewing is not giving themselves AND the client a 24 hour wait period.

I think it's important for both the family and the provider to understand that the interview is a two way street and that the provider is interviewing the family just as much as the family is interviewing the providers.

I end ALL my interviews with a statement like "I am currently interviewing for the open space and will get back to you on xxx day when I have completed the process. We can discuss at that time if you are interested in the space"

Not always those words but something that DOES let them know that I am interviewing others (even if I am not) and that I will communicate with them in a day or two about MY decision at which time I expect them to have a decision for me too...

In another thread, I posted an interview checklist (I'll find it and post it here) ...just a basic outline of the interview and something providers can tweak to fit their needs or work off of if interviewing is not their strong point.

Hope that helps.
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SignMeUp 09:17 AM 04-30-2014
Most people initially contact me by phone. I do a lot of "weeding out" then.
I wait until a bit into the conversation before I ask for exact details about ages or hours because it gives me an easy "out" if I don't want this family.
If ages or hours don't fit, or if I had unusual difficulty with the family who referred them, or anything else that is a red flag, I decline the in-person interview.
I have an interview form that I made, to keep track of all contact info, child info, b/d, etc., as well as any handouts I have given them, and what rates I have given them. This one piece of paper is where I record everything about this family until they enroll. It keeps my life so simple

Then we proceed to the interview. I prefer to do an evening interview first. We can speak more easily when I don't have small children to supervise.
And it lets me observe their child more easily. I give them a tour, inside and outside and mention some of the current activities that we are doing in each space. Then we sit down and go over my policy and contract, as well as briefly go over all required paperwork.
I send them off with a brochure that has pictures of my space, contact info and some of what I consider to be my "selling points", my strengths, and tell them that they can call if they'd like to continue by setting up a daytime visit.
For all of this, it can be done in an hour, but usually takes 90 minutes or a bit longer. Sometimes that's because it's a personal referral and they talk about the previous family.

The daytime visit is brief, because my dcks get my undivided attention, and I tell the prospective family that in advance. 30-45 minutes, but it does sometimes stretch a bit. I also let them know that this is an observation both ways, and that I may or may not be able to talk to them much.
As they come in, I let them know that we will all be able to tell if it's time to finish up, by my dcks getting a bit needier. Then, when/if they don't make a move to leave, I can let them know that my dcks need me now. If they have asked for references, I give them this paper now. I try to give them a little something at each meeting point, to remember me by

My final pre-enrollment visit is for registration, and usually takes an hour plus. I encourage any questions. Then I have them sign the contract first, so that if they are going to balk at the last minute, I haven't wasted tons of time and paper.

I encourage prospective families to email me with questions or concerns before their start date. Might as well get it out now And for babies, I take them for one short evening the week before their start date. It helps us learn a bit more about each other without interruption, and seems to help our first day go better.

All of this for the low price of $Xx.00 which is the registration fee that I never used to charge.
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midaycare 10:22 AM 04-30-2014
I am opening in a few weeks, so I am in the process of doing tons of interviews right now. Summer is full for me, and Fall has a few openings that I'm currently interviewing for.

First, people contact me by telephone or email. I agree with the previous poster about weeding people out on the telephone. If contacted by email first, I then move it to a phone conversation. It's easy to weed out people right away who won't be a good fit. The ones who pass the telephone interview are then scheduled for an on-site visit.

At the on-site visit I first show them my home (not the bedrooms). They will probably never see it again (daycare is downstairs and separate), but I want them to feel comfortable with me. Then I take them on a tour of the daycare - inside and outside - while explaining everything in the daycare.

I am going to have a curriculum so I show the parents the curriculum and we talk about that for awhile. I also have a very large lending library and the parents love that. I go over what a day will look like for their child, what my basic policies are, money, discipline.

Then if I think it's a good fit, I hand the parents the handbook. I tell them to go home and read through it, and if everything looks okay to them, we will proceed and make an appt to go over the contract in detail.

If only one parent/guardian shows up to the on-site interview (assuming there are 2 of them), I require the other parent/guardian to meet with me, also, before I will sign a child up. I actually have a parent right now that is taking her ex to court because she wants her girl to attend her in the Fall, and he refuses and won't even come to the daycare. I won't hold a spot for this, and she knows it. She just wants in anyway. This is one of the reasons I make sure BOTH parents/guardians sign paperwork and are okay with the daycare.

At the signing of the paperwork, I go through everything step by slow step. This takes about an hour. This whole process - from phone to signing of paperwork - can take 2-4 weeks for me. I'm just starting to get my first sets of paperwork in for the summer. It's been a lot of work, but I have ended up with really great kids/parents (I think - we will see when I open in a few weeks).
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MarinaVanessa 11:38 AM 05-01-2014
Here's how I do my interviews...

First Phone Call
First In-Person Interview
The Playdate
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