“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”
There’s nothing quite like landing the dream job in an industry you love.
The only thing slowing you down? Actually getting there!
Beginning a career in childcare is no different from any other industry. Before you can get started on finding your dream job, you have to run the gauntlet: applications, assessments and interviews… it never ends!
One of the most challenging and stressful steps in finding and landing a job in Australia’s booming childcare industries – the interview.
No doubt you’ve participated in job interviews in the past – some great, some not so good. That said, it for most of us it never gets easier, even for the most experienced of us.
Which brings us to today’s topic: with so much on the line, what can you do to ace your interview, wow the interviewer, and land yourself your dream job in childcare?
At Southern Solutions, we share your passion for childcare and understand how much is riding on your interview. So, we’ll be sharing some of our tips and tricks to help you land your dream job!
A knight doesn’t ride into battle without their armour and shield. Why would a potential employee be any different?
One of the most effective things you can do before any interview is to prepare. You can’t go to an interview with no idea of what you’re doing. Trust us when we say that it’s going to be held against you!
The best thing to do when it comes to prepping for an interview is anticipating the questions that will be thrown your way. Of course, there’s no guarantee you’re going to predict all the questions, but we hope the below will help get you thinking about some great answers.
In childcare you can be reasonably confident that a good chunk of the questions you’ll be asked will be about your behaviour/attitude around kids and your responses to the day-to-day challenges of life in childcare. Examples may include:
How would you manage a tantrum? (Bonus! We’ve already posted a blog on temper tantrums!)
Describe a time you dealt with / How would you deal with an unhappy parent?
What do you like the most and least about working with children?
What do you do to stay calm and manage frustration?
It’s not enough to just say “I handle tantrums well.” You have to prepare relevant stories, anecdotes and experiences to back up what you say. Think about past experiences and consider not only what you said, but the tone you used, the body language you displayed, the solution you created, and the outcome you reached.
You could talk about your work-experience placements and how you successfully were able to dissolve an outburst from disruptive children. Or, you share an anecdote from that time you babysat your troublesome nephew for a weekend.
It mightn’t even have to be childcare-related! You could even talk about some of your past work experience and tie it into some of the tasks involved in looking after kids.
The takeaway is this: words by themselves don’t mean much unless they have the evidence or stories to support them. The proof is in the pudding, after all!
Do your homework
It’s not enough to just show up and hope for the best.
Before your scheduled interview, you have to be familiar with the job you are applying for, the roles and responsibilities you may face, and some background information on the centre.
If you’re applying for a job at a childcare centre, it’s also best to do as much research as possible not just into childcare generally, but also into that specific center.
For example: what does this particular kindergarten value – do they approach their charges with a nurturing approach to care or do they encourage independence? And how do you fit into that?
Doing this shows that you care and that you want the position on offer. Who would you hire, the applicant who’s just turned up blind? Or the one who’s done all the reading, knows about the role and challenges and understands your operation?
Before others can believe in you, you have to believe in yourself!
Interviewers can sense self-doubt and discomfort.
Remember that you will be handling kids! If you can’t keep it cool and you don’t have faith in yourself, how will you be able to handle toddlers and young kids?
Projecting a confident image can go a long way towards making a good impression to your interviewer/s and selling them on the idea that you know what you’re doing!
A massive part of building confidence is a solid education and in-depth understanding of childcare from a qualified institute. Get in touch with one of our educators here.
There are many other ways of instilling confidence. Do whatever you need to do – rehearse, exercise or dress nicely – whatever works for you!
First impressions make a lasting impact
It’s scientifically proven now – you never get a second chance to make a first impression!
This is true in all aspects of life, and it’s especially important when it comes to job interviews.
The moment you walk in that interview room, you only have a few seconds to make a good impression. The first impression you leave can make or break your entire interview.
Make sure you make a good impression as soon as step inside the room. Dress to impress!
And more importantly, dress to match the place you’re interviewing at. Due to the nature of the work, most childcare places tend to skew more casual and won’t expect business formal.
But don’t take that as a given – you might even like to ask your interviewer beforehand!
Whatever you wear, make sure you are dressed cleanly and appropriately while still exuding professionalism.
First impressions are much more than just one’s physical appearance. The way you carry yourself, the way you speak, and importantly, body language, all build a first impression.
Upon seeing the interviewer/s, make sure you make eye contact, introduce yourself and give a firm handshake. And of course… don’t forget to SMILE!
Dreaming of landing a job in childcare? Southern Solutions can help you!
Before you even reach the interview stage, you must firstly have the right qualifications!
Southern Solutions can help jump start your future career in the childcare industry.
In addition to equipping you with the knowledge and skills necessary to be a professional childcare educator, we are strong believers in passion. Not just from us, but also nurturing a love for childcare in all the people that come to us for training.