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advice on hiring au pairs please

(13 Posts)
trixibellamum Fri 26-Apr-13 14:31:07

Thats a fantastic response! All the advice above has given me a great start! I'm planning my questions and things gradually and hope to get more productive in my search now.

Does anyone else have an 'aupair manual'?

@ annieapple7 I'm on the suburbs of a large town - but just 15 mins drive from the peak district - we also have a dog and like horse riding and outdoor pursuits so that is kind of important that they like both town and rural pastimes.

thanks again - and keep the advice coming! smilethanks

Hello - I am an Au Pair smile
I look after 3 wonderful little girls.

I got my position through http://www.aupair-world.co.uk/
I set up a profile and had responses within the 1st hour that I had created it.

My advice being the one who was on the other end being hired is that we get lots of offers at the same time and chose our host family too, it's not all about family choosing an Au Pair. I had 3 families offer me a job on the same day - I Skyped them all lots but at the end of it, I had to choose the one who I thought were genuinely nice people and where honest, no hidden secrets and were themselves. Make sure they have a valid CRB check too! I can't count how many dodgy people could be on there. Make sure they have Skype so you can meet that way, or if they are close then get them to meet you for a coffee or something without kids so you can have a chat that way... makes it more personal.

Make sure you know all bout them and have read the profile thoroughly, I was let down 7 times because people did not read my profile correctly and expected me to be able to drive when I can't. The family I am with now have had several Au Pairs from abroad who don't speak English well, so I would make sure they do so that you can all communicate effectively. I am their first English Au Pair and they said it's a completely different and stress free situation - the kids aren't shouting to the Au Pair to get them to understand them and vice versa... the girls got so so stressed!

^ Someone above said speak to Parents - That's a good idea, unless they are old enough (One girl the family I'm with hired last year was 14 and running away from her parents claiming to be 18) So I would always be cautious and get them to scan in passport or birth certificate for evidence, as well as the CRB.

Make sure the Au Pair knows ALL the rules, don't leave things out. Get the kids to think of appropriate questions and get them to ask over Skype. As for contracts, if you search on google there are contract templates you can use/ modify to your needs.

I hope I helped :D

Good Luck xx

blueshoes Tue 23-Apr-13 23:00:36

Sample aupair questions. I normally pare these down and tailor it to the candidate. I look for aupairs with good English and if they can/are prepared to answer this questionnaire, I know 2 things from that - their English is good and they are keen!

1.Why do you want to become an Au Pair?

2.Why do you want to come to [ where you live ]?

3.Do you have any friends/relatives in the UK?

4.If so, where do they live?

5.Have you looked after children before? If so what were their ages and were they boys or girls?

6.Have you had sole charge of a [ ] year old?

7.What was your favourite part of looking after them?

8.What aspect of children’s behaviour do you not like?

9.[ Describe an issue with your children for example, they stall at getting ready in the morning, and ask how she would deal with it ]

10.When you look after [ ], can you describe the types of activities you did with them, particularly when they were below 5 years' of age?

11.What references you able to provide? Are they in English? Also, contact telephone numbers for these references. Do they speak English?

12.What do you plan to do in your spare time, evenings and weekends when you are with us?

13.What are your plans over the summer and can you stay to look after the children during their school holidays from mid-July to first week of September (for extra pocket money)?

14.Do you have plans to go home or on holiday over Christmas/New Year or any other part of the year?

15.Are your parents happy with your decision to become an Au Pair?

16.What do you plan to do after you finished au-pairing?

17.Do you have a UK bank account?

18.Do you have the funds for your flight to the UK?

19.Have you had any first aid training?

20.What food do you like?

21.What food do you not like?

22.What is your favourite meal?

23.Do you have any allergies or health or mental health concerns?

24.Do you have any phobias?

25.Describe your health in the past year.

26.What is your current level of English - conversational and written? Can you, for example, chat on the phone, understand simple instructions?

27.Do you intend to take English language lessons when in UK?

28.Do you have a boyfriend? Don't need to answer if you feel this is private.

29.Do you do cleaning and housework at home?

30.Can you do ironing?

31.Have you lived outside your parents’ home before?

32.Do you smoke cigarettes?

33.What interested you to the role we are offering?

34.Are there any aspects of the role that you need further explanation on?

chloeb2002 Tue 23-Apr-13 22:28:19

Hi, we hire au pairs, one thing i have learnt is to get in early! generally girls/boys thsat really want to come are the best. After a few years of ap's living with us I can say we have the following system..

1/ we use ap world, only look at germans.. we have had one danish ap that dh thought was ok but i speak german.. one sweede,,, never again!
we used a uk agency first time, total nightmare on both counts of ap they sent. they had done no checks and one girl got here and decided kids were not her thing. one was happy to drink drive.

2/ my criteria are black and white.. keen, enthusiastic. know what they want to see and do while here
able to swim well.
happy to look after young children.
able to drive
not smoke
open a tin of beans.

3/ personality.. not look like they work as a hooker on a weekend!
outgoing and keen to get out and about meet people etc.
polite friendly.

4/ we don't go overboard with references. we speak to the parents. they are after all mostly 18 year olds! a reference from some random person is less helpful. The parents need to know what their child is doing/ going/ planning etc.

5/ we have an aupair manual they are given, detailing what we do and when why etc.. i have it in english and german.

There are sample interview questions and reference check lists free to download at www.universalaupairs.com/family/au_pair_interview_form.html.

annieapple7 Mon 22-Apr-13 22:07:03

I am in the same position...have registered with AuPair world. The Facebook idea is useful. Is there anywhere you can find template contracts? Where are you, Trixi? Ill be out in the sticks and need someone who likes dogs and horses as well as children!

trixibellamum Mon 22-Apr-13 08:27:30

Thanks ladies. That gives me a bit to go on. I've started looking on Au pair world but will widen my search now.
If anyone else can give me ideas for vetting questions/contracts I'd be very grateful grin
Thanks!!

NoRoomForMeInMyBed Sun 21-Apr-13 20:59:44

Snowrose that is very reasonable! In a way its worth it to get references etc done.

RE Aupair world and Great Au pair I have used both to canvass for suitable candidates. THey are both cheeky sites in the way that you have to pay to contact the au pairs other than by standard message.
Great Au Pair have been rubbish at filtering out what we need, we only want au pairs from a certain country as we need the language being a bilingual family. Great au pair have not flagged up a single suitable candidate only lots of lovely Spanish girls and boys who dont speak our selected language....
Aupair world have been great only throwing up suitable candidates after our selected preferences.
Both sites do not check any details so anyone could pretend to be a suitable candidate it is up to you to do the legwork.
Instead of paying to contact the girls I liked I googled them and facebooked them, and if they have a fairly unusual name I found all the girls on facebook and contacted them that way. I made sure I explainded who I was and that my family profile was on Aupair world so they could check who I was.
My shortlisted girls I friendrequested on FB, which is quite good as it gives you quite an insight in what kind of girls they are. The one I have decided on is wellspoken, funny and quite a character on FB, which I like. She was exactly the same speaking to her on skype so I am hoping my gut instinct is right. I have googled all the things about her family she told me about and it has all checked out too. I am just suspicious by nature and just hope this will all be allright!!

Snowrose1311 Sat 20-Apr-13 22:42:22

Hi Mendi, I paid £240 incl VAT for the agency fee to get my summer au pair, I did not think it expensive as they've done all the filtering, collated relevant information, checked references etc. The agency also provided a lot of useful advice (it is my first time to get an au pair) and they have a follow up service to smooth out any potential little difficulties once the placement has begun.

NoRoomForMeInMyBed Sat 20-Apr-13 17:44:24

Marking space will come back later

Mendi Fri 19-Apr-13 17:12:18

Jumping in as am also looking for an AP for first time.

There seem to be quite a few websites. Childcare.co.uk, APworld, GreatAuPair... Which is best?

Is it expensive to find one through an agency? I quite like the idea of some help with filtering and checking references, but not sure if this is worth it?

Snowrose1311 Thu 18-Apr-13 22:29:14

Hi, years ago I had nannies/ mother's helps and now I'm in the process of hiring a summer au pair - it'll be the first time I've had help with childcare for a couple of years.
I am hiring through an agency so some of the work has been done for me, the agency fee was quite low so I think it's worth it.
For questions I suggest you think about the issues that are really important to you, maybe make a list to work from when you do the telephone interview.
Examples:
-My kids are both sporty, so I asked the applicant a lot about which sports he plays, can he swim well etc
-I asked if he has lived away from home before, how he'll cope with missing his parents / friends / girlfriend
-I asked if he is a fussy eater, asked him to give examples of foods he likes, how he thinks he'll get on with British food
- We live in a village so I asked if he'd be happy staying in the countryside instead of a city, how he'd prevent getting bored esp on rainy days
- We are keen on the cultural exchange aspect so I asked a lot about this, can he teach us a bit of Spanish, can he show us how to cook some Spanish dishes etc
- We are also keen for the au pair to really be part of our family, so we discussed that, e.g. would he like to join us when we go for meals out
- We have dogs so I checked that he is OK with pets, I asked if he can walk the dogs & do basic tasks such as feeding them
- Lastly, I checked that the salary + benefits I had in mind were acceptable, I'm paying £75 pw + food & lodging for a standard au pair in the countryside.

One thing that worked really well was 'do you have any questions you would like to ask me?' - the applicant asked me questions which told me a lot about him. For example, I discovered he was keen to explore at least 2-3 cities during the course of the summer.

Hope this helps

trixibellamum Tue 16-Apr-13 22:39:15

Hello ladies, is there anyone here who has experience of using Au pairs? I need some advice on questionnaires, interviews and contacts. Thanks in advance! grin)

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