Interviewing an Au-Pair

Preparing for a phone interview with a potential au pair can be daunting.The objectives for the interview are to find a person to care for your children and to live in your home, as well as to build rapport.Choosing the time for the interview and considering the challenges of language and telephone communication can help you create a situation more conducive to learning the true nature of the young person. A carefully planned process can lead to a competent individual who is also a good match for your family.This process will set the stage for a positive beginning and relationship.

Begin the interview process by thinking about the characteristics of your ideal au pair, as well as defining your expectations for the role.

  • What personality type do your children typically respond to?
  • Does she need to be a competent driver?
  • Does she need to have the same interests as your family, such as skiing or hiking?
  • Can you live with a highly social au pair or would you prefer someone who enjoys to spend time with family? Do you wish to be fully integrated in our family’s life or do you prefer to have more space and time for yourself?
  • Imagine you are given two hours to play with the kids. How would you keep them occupied?
  • Do you feel comfortable taking on responsibility and disciplining children per our instructions?

Other characteristics you may want to explore in the interview would be the au pair’s critical-thinking skills, ability to self start, willingness to learn, self confidence and professionalism, as evidenced by examples from their past work experiences.

Call the potential au pair to schedule an official time to talk.The first call is an opportunity to connect and get a general feel for the au pair as you introduce yourself and state your purpose for calling.You can ask her about her schedule and possible times to interview each other. Designating a specific time allows both parties to prepare properly and will provide privacy, quiet, and time during the interview which will help you both get a sense of each other.

Once you have determined a general sense of your expectations for your au pair’s role and have designated a time to meet, finalize a list of questions to explore with the au pair. Traditionally, people have been taught to interview using open-ended questions, such as “Tell me about yourself.”This line of questioning provides minimal accountability at best. A better alternative is behavior interviewing which is objective, and provides you with a sense of a person’s character.

Begin questions with prompts, such as:

  • How would you handle _______?
    Example: “How would you handle difficulty with a parent or manager? How did you resolve the conflict?”
  • Tell me about a time _______.
    Example: “Tell me about a time when you had to deal with a medical emergency.”
  • Describe a situation_______.
    Example: “Sometimes it’s easy to get in ‘over your head.’ Describe a situation where you had to request help or assistance with a child in your care.”

Be sure to follow up with questions to explore the au pair’s coping and problem-solving abilities.

  • “What were you thinking at that point?”
  • “Tell me about your decision process in that situation.”

Expect that this process will require more than one phone call.Both parties should have an opportunity to ask questions and discuss key issues.It is important to keep in mind that au pairs are adolescents and young adults whose skills are developing, and with some nurturing and training, these skills and traits will grow. By acknowledging our expectations, we can plan appropriate questions geared at learning the character and skill set of the au pair.This also provides a foundation for the first weeks of training the au pair through the identification of key areas pertaining to your child’s specific temperament, schedule, and needs.

Helpful questions you may ask a perspective Au-Pair are to follow;

Interviewing an Au Pair Candidate

Here are some sample questions you might want to use to guide you during your telephone interview.

General Questions about the Au Pair’s character and personal interests:

* Have you ever been to the United States before?

* Why do you want to be an Au Pair in the United States?

* Will this be your first time away from home?

* What will you do if you feel homesick?

* What do you think will be the most difficult part about spending a year in the US as an Au Pair?

* What do you like to do in your free time?

* Do you have any plans for when you finish your year and return home?

Questions about the Au Pair’s general childcare experience:

* What were the ages of the children for whom you cared?

* What were the specific responsibilities? (refer to one job in particular)

* What was the most difficult part of that job? What did you like most about that job?

* What do you like most about taking care of children?

* Children do not always listen to their parents or their Au Pair. What will you do if my child just won’t listen to you?

* How long have you been driving? How often? Where do you drive? Would you be comfortable driving the children to and from school every     day? (adapt the question to your own need, vehicle type and driving expectations. (i.e. local vs highway driving etc.)

* Mention that au pair needs an international license to drive in the States.

* What do you think children most need from an Au Pair?

Questions relating to the care of an infant (3 mos- 2 yrs):

* Infants sleep a lot, sometimes for several hours during the day. As a result, this job can sometimes be boring (assuming there are no other children). Do you think this will be a problem? What will you do to remain active and challenged by your responsibilities?

* What activities might you be able to do with a baby?

* Babies can cry a lot for no apparent reason. What would you do if the baby just won’t stop crying in his/her crib after ten minutes?

* What would you do if the doorbell or telephone rang while you were giving the baby a bath?

Questions relating to the care of a toddler (1-3 yrs):

* What do you think is the best way to handle a toddler who loves to explore into everything?

* What activities or games might you plan on a rainy day?

* We do not allow the children to watch more than one hour of television each day. How do you feel about this? How will you keep the children active and occupied?

Questions relation to pre-school and school aged children (4 yrs and above)

* On a day when school is closed (i.e. bad weather related), what kinds of activities might you plan with the children?

* Would you be willing and able to help with the children’s homework? Are you interested in helping the children learn phrases in your language?

* How would you react if the child says “But Mommy and Daddy let me watch TV after dinner,” even though we told you under no circumstances could the children watch television after dinner?

Sunday, 25 March 2018 9:16 PM


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