Host families must clearly articulate what they want from an au pair and clarify that in their interviews. This helps the au pair to understand their responsibilities and expectations so there are no surprises later.
It also prevents host families from wasting their time on au pairs who don’t meet the most critical criteria.
Know What You Want
When looking at applications, it can be easy to get caught up in details like if she has a driver’s license or what level of English she speaks. But remember that she will live in your home and do much more than just childcare. So it’s important to know what is most important to you (like being comfortable with her driving the kids or doing major housework) and to make that your priority in evaluating her.
An excellent place to start is to list what you call your “non-negotiables.” These are the things that you are not willing to compromise on. Knowing these can help you narrow down the thousands of au pairs available to find one that fits your family.
It’s also good to ask for references from experts like Go Au Pair. This will give you a better idea of what it’s really like to live with them. Be bold and ask a lot of questions, though! It shows that you care and are invested in finding the right match.
Once you’ve narrowed down the candidates, schedule video interviews with them. This is an opportunity to see how they interact with your children and get a feel for their personality. It’s also a chance to tell them more about your family and what you expect from them.
Searching the internet for “au pair” is enough to make your head spin — so many agencies are touting different facts, promises, and proposals. It can be daunting, but it’s essential to take your time and choose an agency that will deliver on what they promise. This will ensure that you have a smooth au pair year and an experience that will make your children happy.
When interviewing au pairs, you should have a list of what I like to call your non-negotiables: things that are critical in the match for you and your family. This could include child-rearing philosophies, household rules, or even conflict management. The more specific you are in this process, the less likely there will be issues.
Another consideration is the au pair’s personal life. If they’re in a breakup or a relationship, moving abroad for a year may be more than they’re ready to commit to. It would help if you used your interviews and intuition to see whether they could stick it out.
Suppose they can’t trust your gut and move on to someone else. It’s better to find the right match early on than to wait and end up with an unhappy au pair or a host family that needs to treat their employee better.
Getting the right au pair isn’t always about finding one with all the perfect qualifications. As host families across the country have learned, sometimes a more critical factor is choosing an au pair whose personality meshes well with your family’s.
This is why being honest during the interview process is so important. During interviews, it’s essential to talk about how your family works, your expectations, and any challenges that may come up. By being open and honest, you can help ensure that the au pair is prepared for what’s to come and can be a good fit for your family.
It’s also essential to be truthful when asking questions about the au pair’s background and experience. For example, if the au pair says they love children but doesn’t mention that they have any of their own or any previous experience working with kids, it would be wise to clarify this in the interview process.
It’s also essential to be truthful about what you expect from your au pair during the interview process. Not being honest about what you expect from your au pair can lead to misunderstandings and frustration for both parties and may cause the match to end early.
Searching for an au pair can be overwhelming at first. Agencies give you option after option, and sometimes it’s tempting to pick someone to get the process over with. But take your time with a decision you’re uncomfortable with, especially regarding child care.
Take your time and carefully review profiles and ask questions on video chat. Then, trust your gut instinct regarding the person you want to invite into your family.
During interviews, ask candidates specific questions about your family’s daily life. For example, if you have very active children, determine whether the au pair is comfortable taking them to and from extracurricular activities such as soccer practice or music lessons.
Additionally, ask the candidate if they are willing to work with your children’s special needs (e.g., autism) and any allergies the kids may have. This is important because only some au pairs are familiar with or comfortable supervising children of different ages, and some may feel they need more confidence in handling exceptional circumstances.
You can also check if the au pair is open to living with a single parent and a dog, as not all au pairs are accustomed to these situations. It’s also good to clarify what other responsibilities you want the au pair to undertake, such as housework, driving duties, and cooking.