Host Dad Tom shares his insights on how to find the right Au Pair for your family.
Tom is the Host Dad to Jolin, 2019 #LoveMyAuPair Winner. Watch the video to listen to Tom’s thoughts on interview best practices. He brings up many important insights to consider when interviewing Au Pairs.
With any Au Pair placement, it’s important to find the right Au Pair for your family. A good match plays a huge part in a successful year.
Most families already know that screening, interviewing, and setting expectations are integral to success. Tom sheds some light on how they found the best Au Pair for their family, and also how to ensure that your family and location are right for the Au Pair.
Screening and Interviewing Au Pairs Helps You Find the Right Au Pair for Your Family
Hiring an Au Pair begins with searching and screening candidates.
“It’s a little overwhelming,” Tom says. “I mean, there’s a lot of people to choose from… This is someone you’re going to bring into your house for an extended period of time, it’s not something you want to take lightly.”
Taking your time to screen Au Pairs
Many families feel that the screening process seems daunting at first. However, Go Au Pair’s database helps families search for the skills and traits that are important to them.
Tom stresses the importance of using this to your advantage. “If you really do your homework and do your research and get into the information that’s on the profile… it’s worth reading all the feedback and reviews.”
Dedicating time to do video interviews with Au Pairs
Next, it’s important to interview candidates via Skype, Google Hangouts, or WhatsApp. This helps families get a true sense of each candidate’s personality and English proficiency.
“The Skype video interview is really important,” Tom says. “There were some that, honestly, on paper were pretty good… But after a while, you start to get the sense that… they don’t have the English level or proficiency that you’re looking for. Unless you do that video interview, you’re not going to know.”
English proficiency might not seem like the most important thing for your family. But many families, Tom’s included, feel that it’s important for the Au Pair and Host Parents to be able to communicate. “We didn’t want any of our instructions to be misconstrued.”
After the video interview, most families have a pretty good sense of whether an Au Pair feels right for their family.
“If you don’t feel the chemistry there, then there’s other folks to choose from.”
Post-interview assessment of Au Pair candidates
Parents can also evaluate each candidate after the interview. Go Au Pair recommends ranking Au Pairs (A, B, C) based on the way you feel after speaking, and their ability to meet your childcare needs.
Tom stresses the importance of the connection between the Au Pair and Host Parents. “It’s not just how they are with the kids,” he explains. “It’s also how they’re going to be with you.”
Setting Expectations in Advance Ensures a Good Match
You can start setting expectations as early as your Host Family profile. But anything that doesn’t fit on your profile can also be discussed during the interview.
Thinking through the things that could impact your placement
For Tom and his family, transportation was at the forefront of their minds even before they started hosting.
“Be upfront with your location & accessibility to public transportation… It may not come up in conversation. I think it’s an important thing to cover.”
Tom explains that without a car, it can be difficult to get to major tourist areas from their house. Even with a car, it’s still a bit of a drive.
Considering how an Au Pair will feel in your city & your home
“We were very upfront with anyone we spoke to,” he says. “Because we understand that part of the program is for them to get out and do things and immerse themselves… If you’re in a place where you can’t get to a bus or a train easily, I’m not saying that’s a non-starter. But you owe it to them to be upfront about like, ‘Hey, there are some limitations on getting to some of the tourist sites in our area, because of where we live.'”
Having the ability to get around, go out with friends, and experience life in the U.S. is a vital aspect of an Au Pair’s experience. Families who understand this and enable their Au Pairs to get out are generally more successful in the program.
Tom also emphasizes the importance of how your Au Pair feels during their stay. “If you feel like you are marooned, I mean, that’s depressing. It sort of puts you in a bad spot, you know? I mean, mentally. And then you feel like, ‘Oh, I can’t get out of here.’
Thinking of Hosting an Au Pair?
It’s hard to overstate the value of having a childcare provider who loves your kids as much as you do.
Jolin and her Host Family have had a successful experience because they respect each other. They think about how the other feels, respect each other’s boundaries, and recognize each other’s autonomy. Tom and his wife treat Jolin like an adult, not another child, while also supporting her and enabling her to have a great experience in the USA.
If you think this type of arrangement might be right for you, log in and find the right Au Pair for your family now!