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Interviewing tips for picking the best au pair

Families switching from daycare to an au pair will need to hone in on their interviewing skills. Picking the right au pair for your family is so much different than picking a daycare. 

I’m an au pair expert of sorts, because after a lot of online research and more than 200 interviews with au pairs and host families, I have gleaned a lot of great advice. During my hundreds of hours interviewing and writing about the subject matter, I have narrowed the field down to a few key tips for new parents hoping to interview and select the right au pair for their family.
The highlights from my conversations with host families are figuring out the “must haves” from “would like to have” when selecting profiles. Next, when interviewing, let the au pair do the talking. You can review your long list of rules, but that only tells them about you. Finally, wait. Wait, for the minute during the interview you get that “gut feeling.”
Figure out the “must haves” from the “would like to have”
The best way to narrow down the right au pair is scour the profiles, then move on to the interviews at the top of the list. When the must haves aren’t in the profiles, interview the au pair and lean more heavily on their references. This helps you from being so selective that you weed out some really great au pairs in the process.
Host mom, Jenifer Simon always searching for au pairs who are teachers, “We want someone who is proactive takes initiative and goes above and beyond the call of duty. Our last Au Pair had been a teacher in her home country- she was able to teach our daughter and tutor her and she was her swim instructor and taught her how to swim.”
Let the au pair do the talking
Take the time on Skype trying to get to know the au pair. Way too many host moms and dads want to make sure they get an au pair who will conform to all their rules. They start the interview off with telling the au pair how to tidy their kitchen, and how early they want the au pair home on the weekends, and all about their kids allergies and favorite foods. This is a backwards way to interview. The more you let the au pair talk the more you can get a sense for what they do on the weekend, or how organized they are. And if they aren’t just automatically asking about your kids and what they like to do than you may have a problem.
Of course it’s ok to ask some questions more serious questions, but don’t make them all heavy. Rotate between lighter conversation and more critical concerns/questions. The more you get to know the au pair and stay involved in their life during the interview throughout the year the more likely you’ll be to have a great match.
Wait for the “gut feeling
I’ve heard it said so many times – it has to be a thing. You have to feel deep down inside that this is the one, the right au pair for your family. That gut feeling that so many successful host families had mentioned to me, really does have some bearing on how well the year will go.
Natalia Kanevsky, a host mom from California knew right away with Esmira, that she was the right au pair for them. “The minute we interviewed Esmira on Skype, we knew that we wanted her to join our family.  The day she moved in, I knew I’d want her to stay with us for the second year.  We got a new family member, a friend and a co-parent all in one.” 
Finally from all the conversations I’ve had with host families and au pairs, the ones having the best au pair/host family experiences are friends. Close friends, who can trust one another and learn to communicate really well together, even when times are tough. After all of the research, and questions and trusting your feelings, interview the au pairs with a mission to find a life long friend.
Child Care Aware “5 Steps to Choosing Child Care”
Au Pair Mom, “Choosing the Right Au Pair, Expert Advice from CalifMom”

Posted: 6/1/2017 8:00:09 AM by Summer Blackhurst
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