What to Look for When Hiring an Au Pair – A Comprehensive Checklist

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Choosing the right au pair is an important decision. You must ensure they fit your family’s values and lifestyle well. It would be best if you also considered the cost. You must provide housing, a weekly stipend, and one-time fees for the au pair. Online au pair platforms can be a great way to find au pairs that are right for you.

Personality

Au pairs are young adults spending the year with a host family. Selecting an au pair with a happy and positive outlook on life is essential. This will affect how she treats your children and her general demeanor. A great place to gauge personality is through video interviews. The more granular you can be, the more likely you will find an au pair that matches your family well. Listen to how the candidate answers questions, pay attention to her body language, and look for moments of personality alignment. If you notice a candidate seems upset or angry during the video interview, don’t feel obligated to keep her as your au pair. It’s also a good idea to ask for references from previous families. Listen to how the au pair describes her past experiences and how she handled conflicts and challenges. Parents should also expect au pair candidates to explain how they would handle a child’s misbehavior and defiance.

Experience

As your au pair becomes accustomed to your family’s rules, child-rearing philosophies, and routine, you must be transparent and open about your expectations. This will help her to understand why specific rules exist, especially if those rules might be unfamiliar in her own family culture. For example, if you want her to refrain from using her phone or social media during work hours, ensure that this is clear during the video interview so that she knows what she is getting herself into. It is also helpful to set out a schedule of when she is on and off duty to ensure everything is clear. This is an excellent opportunity to talk about other house chores and tasks that might be important for your family, such as cooking, laundry, and driving. 

Language Skills

Often, au pairs come from other countries and have to adapt to your family’s lifestyle. This can include different weather conditions, food habits, and the family’s daily operations. Au pairs also need to be able to communicate with the rest of the family in English so they can stay on task and do what’s needed around the house. This includes communicating with the children in their care and being able to explain complex concepts to them. Host families need to consider how they would feel about the candidate’s communication skills when preparing to interview them. Use a pre-employment skills assessment to quickly evaluate candidates and identify the best talent. This saves host families valuable time and effort during the hiring process.

Communication Skills

Au pairs need to be able to communicate clearly. They will need to be able to tell you when they have kids home, if they are sick or need to leave early, and more. This is a big part of why it’s so important to have a thorough interview process. Each au pair brings their unique background, culture, and history to the job. You may find that your children connect more with one au pair than another or have different interests. This is okay, but discussing it in the interview is essential, and getting a feel for how they will interact with your family. Also, ask your au pair if she is comfortable having children around her boyfriends or other people. This can be a huge red flag and is often why families break their match.

First Aid Skills

Your au pair will care for your kids during the day, so you want to ensure they have the right skills to deal with emergencies or accidents. You can ask your candidate about her experience with children and look for answers emphasizing her ability to stay calm in stressful situations. You should also find out if she has first aid training, which can help her treat minor injuries or illnesses. In addition, you can ask about her experience in keeping the home safe and secure for your kids. You can also take some time to find out if she has good organizational skills. This will enable her to keep track of her tasks and meet deadlines. She will also be better able to plan activities and prepare meals for her family. This is a vital skill that all good caregivers need to have.

Safety

When interviewing an au pair, it’s essential to consider how she might handle medical emergencies and other situations. For instance, she should be able to explain how she would respond in an emergency and have access to medical documentation like insurance cards and authorizations for treatment. When asking an au pair how she would handle misbehavior or other challenges, pay attention to their answers and look for positive and productive solutions. For example, host parents should look for au pairs with strategies like redirection, setting boundaries, and using logical consequences. Choosing the perfect au pair can feel like a big decision, especially since au pairs stay with host families for one year. But trust your gut and find someone you can comfortably invite into your home. Remember, you can always find a new au pair if your chosen one isn’t a good fit.