Type “au pair” into Google, and you’re bound to be overwhelmed. Many of the top results are agencies; they all claim to have the best au pairs.
Finding an au pair is different from any other job. It’s a family member you will be living with, so it pays to be picky!
Know What You Want
When searching for an au pair, knowing about au pairs and what your family needs from them is important. The more specific you can be, the better your chances of finding the perfect match. This can include driving ability, childcare skills, cooking experience, and a level of English or other language. It can also be helpful to list any different expectations or deal breakers you may have.
For example, if your family only speaks their native language at home, you should clarify this in the interview. Most au pairs are there to immerse themselves in English and don’t want to be constantly speaking their native language. This can cause them to become unhappy and ask to be rematched.
Knowing what your family needs from an au pair can also help you to filter out candidates who aren’t the right fit. For example, if you want your au pair to care for children under five, you should avoid looking for experienced individuals who manage teenagers.
You should know whether you will get along with an au pair throughout your interviews and follow-up contact. After all, you’ll spend a year with this person, so select someone you love spending time with!
It’s important to ask candidates questions that give you a sense of their personality. For example, ask them how they would handle a challenging situation, such as when kids are hungry or angry. Listen to their responses, and see if they match your expectations. If they don’t, looking for another candidate might be a good idea.
Another question to ask is about their family life. This will give you an idea of how much they enjoy being a part of a family. For instance, if they only spend time with their host family on work-related activities, they might not like being a household member. On the other hand, they might feel too disconnected from home if they always ask to go out with the host family and spend their off-duty time with them.
It’s also good to request a reference from the au pair’s former families. This can help you better understand their commitment level and whether they will likely stay for the entire year. It can also be a great way to see how they interact with children and their experience as au pairs. For example, you should reconsider your decision if they’ve had trouble coping with homesickness.
Look for Reliable Au Pairs
It is important to look for reliable au pairs who will follow through on their commitments. Ask your potential au pair about their prior childcare experience and ask them questions about their family. You will put your faith in them to look after your children, and you want to be able to rely on them.
Make a list of your “non-negotiables” to help narrow your choices and locate the best fit for your family. Keeping this in mind will make you less likely to get caught up in the minor details and wind up with an au pair who may be a better fit.
If you know that a specific skill is important to your family, such as a driver’s license or childcare certifications, mention this in the interview process and request proof of these qualifications. If you’re unsure about a particular skill or question, ask the au pair to explain it further in private messages or phone calls.
It’s also a good idea to call the agency and check what other families have to say about their au pair experience. During the email and video chat interviews, you may learn a lot about an au pair, but it’s vital to pay attention to the times you and the au pair connect.
Look for Au Pairs Who Are Compatible With Your Family
When you meet with au pairs, ask questions and listen to their answers. Please observe their body language, tone of voice, and interactions with your family. These indicators can help you assess whether they match your house and lifestyle.
It’s also a good idea to ask an au pair if they’d want to learn more about your culture or try a new meal. This might be a terrific way to meet new people and make your match feel less formal.
Finally, feel free to express your expectations of au pairs. By outlining your expectations, you may avoid misunderstandings and ensure that all sides understand what the au pair will do daily.
Finding the right au pair can be a process, but it’s worth the extra effort to find someone who will be a wonderful addition to your household. By following these tips, you’ll be able to find an au pair who will make your family’s year abroad the best one possible. Good luck!