Interviewing Au Pairs – the Pooja approach

Interviewing Au Pairs can be exciting and daunting at the same time. I think that the best way to ensure that you have the right Au Pair for your family is to make sure that you really spend those first couple weeks screening your candidates for YOUR family’s needs. All of the candidates are wonderful, but your wonderful may be different than your neighbors. By sticking with this simple outline, I have managed to find perfect fits for our family. First things first, fill out your Application as much as possible. Your favorite candidate will move on to another family if you don’t have your application filled with all of the details, photographs, and welcome letter, that make your family great! If you are looking at in country au pairs for a shorter timeline, then check out this blurb for a list of questions to ask. Otherwise, scroll down to see my master list!

Here are my personal tips with interviewing:

1.) First, fill out your profile, add photos, and try to give as much of an accurate description of what it would be like living with your family! This is the best way to put your amazing family on top! Showcase the activities, personalities, and important rules you might have for your family!

2.) Once your application is complete, you can start adding candidates to your “likes” folder! Keep in mind that if I add a candidate to your account, you will be able to see a bright pink ribbon at the top of her profile! You can “like” as many candidates as you want, and the au pair isn’t alerted to any of the notes you put into each profile!

3.) If you are looking at a candidate you would like to interview, hit the “connect” button! You can connect with up to 10 au pairs at a time! The au pair will get an email that alerts her to your connection request. Don’t feel bad about getting declined. Remember, by the time you have clicked the connect button, you would have filtered through hundreds of au pairs, so getting declined is actually a good thing! The right matches are out there!

4.) Keep in mind that when you “connect” with an au pair, our system will prompt you to send a message to the au pair that she can read as a little welcome/intro note. Keep this message upbeat, personal, and informative! It is what will grab the au pair to check out your family. For example, many families might say:

“Hi Lucia! We really like your profile. Please take a minute to look at our application. Have a great day!”

While this is simple, an au pair may get six requests like this, so yours wouldn’t stand out. Try something that is more descriptive! For example, I would say something like this:

“Hi Lucia! We love that you are an avid soccer player! Our kids are mini Beckhams! Our neighborhood is filled with local restaurants, parks, and a lot of live music. We are so excited to welcome our 3rd au pair and have been looking forward to having a new member in our family! Our kids, 4 and 2, are very excited to have a big sister and we are excited to share your traditions with them! We can’t wait to talk to you!”

This is will let the au pair know that you have looked at her profile and that you have selected her specifically! You will have much better luck with engaging with an au pair! Here is a snapshot of what the au pair would see. Your message is placed in the little text box with a pink dot in the righthand bottom corner! When an au pair clicks the icon, your message will pop up like this one!

5.) Remember to log back into your account to check your “connections” tab often, to make sure that you are speaking with the au pairs that are interested and engaged, and that you eliminate (or X out) the au pairs that have declined your request or that are unavailable. All of those “declined” and “pending connection” au pairs take up your 10 precious spots. Give an au pair about 48 hours to respond, and if she hasn’t then move on to the next candidate!

6.) If you get a response, send my master list of questions via email or come up with your own set! The questions should be relevant to your needs: swimming with children, driving with children, social vs. homebody, etc. One important personal observation I would point out is that I always ask families to talk about what meals look like in your home. For example, in my home, we only eat breakfast together on the weekends. Never eat lunch together. And have a family dinner every other week. Here’s why: our schedules are so different. The kids wake up at different times in the morning and my husband is on his way to work by 7am. For lunch, I eat after I put the younger one down for a nap, so I can eat in peace, kid free! And for dinner, the kids all eat together at 6pm. My husband gets home around 7pm and we eat together around 8pm.

Here’s why this is important… au pairs want to feel included and welcome and food/meals are a big part of that culturally. If I matched with an Au Pair who has always had big family dinners together, they would feel very bad possibly eating alone because he/she was hungry before 8pm. Food is a big part of culture, and I think if you can explain how you eat meals, you will set yourself up for success! (I always cook enough food for our Au Pair to join us for dinner, but allow her to eat at her preference, with the children, by herself, or with the adults. Just in case you thought I was a horrible host mom!)

7.) If you still like what you get, then send them some basic household guidelines. For me, I sent them my whole Family Manual. It is very detailed and this way my Au Pair has everything written out clearly and can decide if they would want to live with us. If it was my first Au Pair, I may not have already had a completed handbook, so I would use one page to talk about the important stuff: curfew, rules about the car, and guests. Au Pairs are most interested in those things since the pay is all standardized.

8.) Still like the candidate? Then do a Skype/WhatsApp interview! I would suggest doing at least 2 to 3 Skype interviews. This way you can check out their English and possibly introduce one or all of the kids into the call to see how she reacts to the children. Is she animated? Welcoming? Does she understand what the child is saying? Does the child understand what she is saying? And so on.

The reason I use this method is that you get a better response through email since the time difference is pretty huge and when you are trying to find time for Skype calls, you really aren’t getting to know your Au Pair. Again, these are purely my suggestions and your Placement Specialist may have other ones or better ones!

The interviewing process is supposed to be enjoyable! I suggest taking at least 7 to 10 days before finalizing with your favorite Au Pair. It’s a huge responsibility and you want to make sure that everything is out in the open before you decide to spend a year together. The good news is, that it’s fool proof, follow this method and you are sure to know your au pair is right for your family based on your conversations. I would hate for you to feel unsure about a candidate because of the lack of appropriate conversations! If they didn’t love kiddos, then they wouldn’t sign up for this experience, but remember, it goes both ways, so make sure your candidate is also asking you the right questions!

thanks for reading! xo, pooja

Thursday, 17 January 2019 10:38 PM

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