Why do you want to work as a daycare director?
Because you understand the importance of early childhood education, the impact it can have on the entire life of a child. You see the meaningful purpose in this job, and want to play a positive role in the life of children from local community.
And of course you love children, and have the skills and experience (or at least motivation and right attitude, in case that you lack experience) to successfully lead a childcare center (or a nursery school). This includes working with teachers and children, and managing the daily operations of the facility, including marketing and basic administrative work.
Do not forget to show some enthusiasm when answering this question. Interviewers should hear energy in your voice. They should get an impression that you really want to lead their daycare center.
Can you walk us through your resume?
Focus on relevant experience and education–if you have such. Most states in the US require a license, and to get a license you need few years of experience. Talk about your experience with love. They should get an impression that you have been enjoying your time with children, and now you are simply ready to move one step higher in childcare.
If you do not have relevant experience (in many countries around the world experience isn’t required), talk about any jobs you had before, and how they helped you to improve your leadership and communication skills, or your managerial skills.
You should also explain why you left your last job, and how this role of a childcare director aligns with your career goals and future plans.
If you apply for your very first job (and they invited you for the interview, which means that have an employee training program), ensure the interviewers that you are a quick learner, heard about their excellent training program for new directors of childcare centers, and look forward to learn more about their successful concept of childcare.
Judging by your experience with childcare, what do you consider the most difficult aspect of working with kids?
You have a few options for a good answer. One is referring to dealing with parents–can be tricky, since many of them have unrealistic expectations, or simply neglect their duties, such as picking children from the daycare at a certain time of a day.
Another one is discipline. Working with spoiled children can be a nightmare, and what parents neglected is often impossible to “repair” from a position of a teacher, or a nanny.
Anything you pick for your answer, do not forget to ensure the interviewers that you count with challenges, and over the years you learned how to deal with them, at least with some success.
How do you plan to motivate the teachers to provide engaging and stimulating environment for children?
First and foremost you will ensure you have the right people in place, since it is almost impossible to motivate teachers who do not like children or their job anymore.
Secondly, you will cooperate with your teachers in planning daily activities and making simple lesson plans for children, and you will also observe the reactions of the children to evaluate the quality of education, and find areas for improvement.
You will use your years of experience to mentor the teachers working under you, but you will also try to awaken creativeness in them, so they can find some self realization in their daily job.
Talk about a time when you had to deal with an unsatisfied parent, who complained about the care given to their child.
The key is to show empathy and tact. At the end of the day parents pay for the daycare, they are customers, and without their money the childcare center would not exist.
Ensure the interviewers that you investigated the case of poor care properly, trying to understand what went wrong. You apologized to the parent, and showed understanding for their emotions (even when they had no real reason to be angry), becasue you understand that parents love their children and want the best for them. And of course they pay for the tuition :).
At the same time, however, you stood behind your staff members, and advocated for the teaching methods, since they’ve been proven over time, and you know why you use them in the center.
You can also add that you always take each feedback from parents seriously, since you can make a mistake or misunderstand something. It can happen to anyone, and even with all your skills and experience you aren’t immune to making mistakes–at least that’s the right attitude to show in your job interview.
Five other questions you may get in your child care director job interview
- How do you imagine a typical day in work? (Try to describe the routine from morning to evening, emphasize your proactive approach and daily work with the teachers, but do not forget on tasks such as administrative work, or basic accounting tasks.)
- Have you ever led an interview with a teacher? How would you find new staff members for this child care center? (Refer to your existing connections in the field, and typical sourcing strategies, such as job ads and social media promotion. You can also list a few preschool teacher interview questions, so they get an idea about things you’d ask the job candidates.)
- What do you want to accomplish as a childcare director? (You can either refer to the children, and the positive impact the time they spend in your facility will have on them, or you can say that you’d love to build an environment where both children and teachers can thrive, and develop as human beings.)
- How do you want to market the day care center to local community? (You can say that great references are your best marketing weapon. Mothers talk to each other, and once a few of them are extremely satisfied with the work of your teachers, they will spread the news, and soon everyone will know about the quality of your daycare. Of course you can refer also to typical marketing strategies, such as distributing leaflets in the district, running a targeted campaign on social media channels, etc).
- How do you ensure that the facilities are safe for children? (You can say that you regularly review the latest changes to laws and regulations regarding safety and hygiene in daycare, and that you instruct all teachers on how they’d adhere to the regulations.)
* You can download the full list of questions in a one page long PDF, and practice your interview answers anytime later:
Conclusion and next steps
Interview for a job of a child care director belongs to easier job interviews. Once you have a few years of teaching experience under your belt, and got your license, you are just a few good interview answers away from a new job contract.
Think about a short answer to each question from this article, and do not forget to read also the following posts: