A well-written job description will help au pair candidates understand what your family expects of them. It also enables you to filter out those who are not a good fit. Parents should evaluate candidates’ answers to questions about how they would handle medical or childcare emergencies. Look for responses emphasizing calm and proactive approaches, like contacting emergency services or following family-established protocols.
When hosting an au pair, the experience is as much about cultural exchange as child care. Au pairs bring their home cultures into your family by cooking traditional recipes, sharing their language skills, and celebrating unique cultural holidays like Dia de los Muertos. Choosing the right live-in caregiver can be as challenging as rewarding, but taking the time to identify your childcare needs truly helps make the process less stressful. Consider what is most important to you and your family, such as childcare experience, language proficiency, personality traits, and other skills you value. A reputable agency can help you on how to find an au pair. They offer user-friendly databases that allow you to search by these metrics. You can also view photos and videos of au pair candidates, read their “Dear Host Family” letters, and evaluate the overall fit with your family. This information can help you narrow down the list of applicants and interview your top choices. Your agency’s community counselor will also help you make the final decision. Their role includes reviewing host family applications, interviewing au pairs, and helping them navigate the program.
Access to a Wide Range of Au Pairs
The fact that au pairs typically come from another country means they’ll have to adjust to a new climate, culture, and diet. It’s essential to find an au pair that is accustomed to these changes and has strong adaptability skills.
A good agency will walk you through finding an au pair. They’ll provide a database of au pairs that meet your criteria and can guide you through shortlisting and interviewing. This can significantly reduce the time it takes to find your ideal au pair. Strong communication skills are crucial for au pairs as they’ll spend a lot of time with children. In the wake of the Woodward incident, it’s worth noting that au pairs, given their precarious immigration status, can be more susceptible to abuse in their placements than nannies. Agencies, however, are required to protect au pair participants by helping them find a new order if their initial one doesn’t work out.
A host family must communicate with their au pair in a way that sets both parties up for success. It is essential to set clear expectations during the interview process and to reinforce these with your au pair throughout their time in your home. It is also helpful to communicate clearly about working times, vacations, and free time so you can plan accordingly. Agencies offer a support network to their au pairs, with area directors living within an hour’s drive of each placement to help with any issues or questions that may arise. Many area directors are former au pairs or host parents, so they know the program inside and out. This is a massive advantage over direct placement.
Pre-Employment Skills Testing
Once you’ve narrowed your candidate list, you can quickly filter candidates based on age, nationality, and language skills. Then, review the au pairs’ profiles in detail, taking note of their childcare experience, qualifications, and other attributes that align with your family’s needs. Pre-employment skills testing allows you to get a deeper insight into the candidate’s abilities than just a resume can do. You can choose tests focusing on specific skill sets (language, logical reasoning, or math) or personality traits such as integrity, openness to experience, or intelligence.
Hosting an au pair can eliminate the need to coordinate schedules with a babysitter or daycare, and working parents can get their lives back by not spending as much time stuck in traffic getting kids to school, practices, and outings. Plus, au pairs can help prepare lunches and dinners so working parents can spend more quality time with their children when they’re at home. Since au pairs are live-in caregivers, they can make themselves available to you as needed when your family needs it. This flexibility is one of the biggest reasons many families host au pairs year after year and consider them a permanent part of their household.
It’s important to discuss your needs and deal breakers openly with any au pair candidates you’re interested in so you can filter out those who won’t be a good fit for your family. This also gives au pair candidates an accurate sense of what to expect from the position so they can be prepared for it. That helps reduce the risk of miscommunication or misunderstandings that can be more difficult to resolve once your au pair has arrived.