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Any experienced parents got an au pair interview checklist

(15 Posts)
Welovecouscous Tue 04-Dec-12 11:28:23

A trial weekend to clinch it is good - we've done that with our last ap and she is great!

LadyHarrietdeSpook Tue 04-Dec-12 11:16:30

My current girl said she helped her mother around the house, but she has never lifted a finger before coming here. She struggles to use a tin opener, work the iron and even put a plastic sheet in the tumble dryer this morning. aaarghhh!

I can relate to this but I feel better at least asking...

ExLondoner1 Tue 04-Dec-12 10:43:48

We are on our sixth Au pair - some are great - some are a nightmare to live with and make you hesitant to move around your own house for fear of what you might find!

From experience, I would say you need to ask as many questions as possible before they start. Its up to you to find yourself a good match and weed out girls who are prepared to lie to get the job - many do! Are their answers credible?

My current girl said she helped her mother around the house, but she has never lifted a finger before coming here. She struggles to use a tin opener, work the iron and even put a plastic sheet in the tumble dryer this morning. aaarghhh!

Most Au pair / family breakdowns are due to a mis-match of expectations, so if they know exactly what to expect from you and what you are really like - and vice versa, it is much more likely to work out.

Don't be afraid to spend a long time interviewing - and always do a second or third one, ideally on Skype so you can read their body language.

If you are house proud and keep a tidy household, a naturally untidy/dirty Au pair will struggle, be miserable and make you miserable (that's me at the moment!). Ask her how tidy her room is at home.

If good table manners are important to you, an Au pair that comes from a family that doesn't sit down to family meals or observe table etiquette may cause you undue stress (that's me at the moment!).

If your job involves more cleaning and less housework, and your au pair hates cleaning, same again....

Good luck! I could do with some...

LadyHarrietdeSpook Tue 04-Dec-12 10:01:05

Do you have a detailed job description? What about house rules, which lay out how you see the relationship working?

I would start with this then work back into questions that arise from it. Even if you don't end up sending the candidates everything in that document, you will have a clearer idea of what you want.

My questions tend to be a bit more open ended than Couscous' although they cover the same sort of topics.

For example, I would say: what sorts of food are you able to cook? How often do you have to cook at home for your family or for yourself?

If they are still living at home, I would ask them what sorts of chores they have to do around the house and how often? (Or if it's their MUM that does everything...!)

I ask if they have any health or dietary requirements we would need to accommodate (although don't expect to necessarily get the full story, but it needs asking anyway.)

"How would you go about giving the family space and giving yourself space?"

REgarding this question, this is the area we always have issue with and I've resolved that next year we are going to spell things out more. I suspect an AP may not know how to answer this question although I'd be interested to hear what responses Couscous has had.

Welovecouscous Tue 04-Dec-12 09:52:29

I think you'd be fine if the older kids are sensible - she will need to concentrate on your toddler. I would go for someone older. We've always had 21+

Mosman Tue 04-Dec-12 09:38:32

They are 12, 10, 8 and 2.
I'd want her to cook something quick and easy beans on toast or something to keep them going til tea time.

botandhothered Tue 04-Dec-12 08:27:21

How old are the children? An aupair should be able to cope with 3 hours, although if you have four under 5 that may be too much for someone with no experience. An older aupair may suit you better. Also you shouldn't really be asking her to do anything else during that time, except maybe heating up an already prepared meal for the children.

Mosman Tue 04-Dec-12 08:13:15

It's a mine field though isn't it.

Honestly can an au pair have sole charge of four kids for three hours a day, am I kidding myself ?

Welovecouscous Tue 04-Dec-12 00:24:06

You can scrap that q then grin

Mosman Tue 04-Dec-12 00:22:50

They won't be using the car, everywhere is walking distance

Welovecouscous Mon 03-Dec-12 23:59:47

The car question is because it seems to make a big difference to insurance costs btw.

Welovecouscous Mon 03-Dec-12 23:58:56

Here are a few of our questions. We have toddler dc.

What do you expect from being au pair?

What skills make a good au pair?

Would you be interested in Language School?

Initially you won't know anyone other than us in the UK. How do you anticipate you would make friends and deal with the period where friendships are being formed?

Are you practical?

How would you cope with the children being demanding when you are tired?

How would you go about giving the family space and giving yourself space?

What do you like to do in your spare time?

Are you a good cook?

Are you vegetarian?

Ever had road accident/conviction for road offence?

What would you do in the following situation. DS is having a snack and is eating a piece of apple. Suddenly he goes red in the face and makes small choking noises. What would you do?

Mosman Mon 03-Dec-12 14:01:39

I have PM'd you, thank you

fraktion Sun 02-Dec-12 13:42:14

I have a few documents I wrote as DH's idiots guide to what I was doing that I'll happily send you if you PM me your email.

Mosman Sun 02-Dec-12 08:36:03

That they would be prepared to share.
It's our first attempt and we really want to get it right for the sake of all concerned.
Thank you

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