Childcare can be a highly rewarding field to study and start your career in, but the interview process can be quite daunting. There are certain steps you can take to prepare for a childcare interview in Australia and make a great impression on potential employers, including learning the common childcare interview questions, how to answer them, and what to bring with you to your interview.
What to bring to an interview in childcare and how to prepare
Research the child care centre
Look up the child care centre’s website, mission statement, and values. Familiarise yourself with their policies and procedures and take note of any unique features or programs they offer. If they follow a certain educational style in their centre, such as Montessori or Reggio, you can ask questions about how they apply it in each room or age group.
Review your qualifications and experience
Make sure you have a clear understanding of your qualifications and experience, as well as how they align with the position and the needs of the child care centre. Do you have an up-to-date blue card? Is your qualification in childcare suited to the role?
Carefully read through the job description and requirements and make sure you are clear on what the role entails. Take note of any specific skills or qualifications that are required and be prepared to discuss how you meet those requirements.
Prepare answers to common interview questions
Practice answering common childcare interview questions and personalise them to your own experiences. Try to give specific examples of your qualifications and time spent in childcare settings, and think about how you can demonstrate your ability to handle difficult situations and support the growth and development of children.
Understand the regulations and legislation
Understand the regulatory and legislative requirements for working in the child care industry in Australia, such as the National Quality Framework and the Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF). Knowing and familiarising yourself with these will help show your interviewers your commitment and knowledge in the field, as well as your interest in developing your skills.
Prepare any materials you may need:
Some childcare centres may ask you to bring along a portfolio of your work or specific examples of lesson plans or activities you have created. Be sure to have any materials you may need with you for the interview. Be cautious as to not share confidential information of previous employers or children you’ve worked with.
It’s important to dress professionally for your interview and make a good first impression.
Be prepared to ask questions
Prepare some questions to ask your interviewers about the centre, the role, and their expectations for the position. This will show your interest and enthusiasm for the job and align with the centre’s expectations.
What common childcare interview questions could you be asked?
It’s important to highlight your relevant qualifications in childcare courses, such as a Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care or a Cert III in Early Childhood Education and Care, as well as any relevant experience you have working with children.
Many childhood courses offer hands-on experience in childcare centres, which you can mention to help demonstrate how you’ve applied your learning in the past.
This is an opportunity to express your passion for working with children and your enthusiasm for making a positive impact on their development.
You can explain why you chose childcare as a career, and why the centre your applying for is appealing to you.
3. Can you tell us about a difficult situation you faced while working with children, and how you handled it?
This question is meant to gauge your problem-solving skills and ability to stay calm under pressure. It’s important to provide a specific example and explain the steps you took to address the situation.
This question explores your ability to manage challenging behaviour, which can happen with any age group. Emphasise positive reinforcement, active listening, and being consistent with rules.
This question will measure your ability to design engaging and developmentally appropriate activities for children. It’s important to mention the importance of different types of play and learning, and the balance between activities.
You can study your area’s current resources, such as the EYLF, to find relevant information that you can reference.
This question is meant to gauge your knowledge and understanding of inclusion and diversity, and how you would apply it to an early childhood setting.
Be honest, and emphasise your understanding of the importance of respecting and valuing each child as an individual, regardless of their background or abilities. You might like to give examples of activities you’d encourage children to take part in to include everyone, or how you would handle a situation where children aren’t being included in activities.
Effectively communicating with parents is very important in early childhood education as they’re trusting you with their child’s education and care. Emphasise your openness and willingness to communicate regularly and proactively with parents to ensure the best outcomes for their children.
Questions you can ask during your interview
Asking about daily responsibilities will help you understand what you’ll be expected to do on a day-to-day basis, and whether the role aligns with your skills and experience. Remember, an interview for a position in childcare isn’t just about securing your position, but finding out whether the centre is a good fit for you.
This will give you insight into the bigger picture of how the role you’re interviewing for fits into the organisation’s mission, and it also allows you to understand the organisation’s priorities. This will also help to understand your expected responsibilities if chosen to fill the role.
More than demonstrating that you’re keen to keep learning and growing, this will help you understand the centre’s commitment to helping their staff to grow and improve. If developing your professional career in childcare is important, this question will be as well.
4. How does the centre ensure compliance with regulations and legislation in the childcare industry?
This will give you an idea of how the centre handles the requirements of the National Quality Framework, Early Years Learning Framework and other legislation specific to the centre and the location. You can ask about the centre’s latest assessment and rating process, as well as how they expect staff to prepare.
Practising for an interview for a childcare centre
Practising for an interview can help you feel more prepared and confident on the day of the interview. You can prepare your responses to common childcare interview questions and invite a friend or family member to roleplay with you to practice. Find additional childcare and study resources to explore and learn.
And remember, the most important thing is to be yourself, speak with confidence and show your enthusiasm for the role and the centre. If you’re excited about the opportunity, be honest, and give it your best!