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Au Pairs - Best places to recruit an au pair please(17 Posts)
Am looking for an au pair for next year
have registered already on au pair world but would be grateful for other recommendations
I paid for GreatAuPair and Aupairworld. Did not like GreatAuPair - irritating messaging system and far too many Americans, Canadians, South Africans, all needing visas. I found Aupairworld much easier to find an EU resident AP on.
I only use aupair world. I get more responses that I can process as I live in London, as many aupairs want to live in London or a big city. Agree with Homer that it is great for finding EU aupairs, which are the only sort I consider because of the visa issue otherwise.
BTW, if you are looking for an aupair next year, it is pretty early to be looking. I normally start my search 3-4 weeks before the start date, maximum 6 weeks. The danger of hiring too early is that they might end up a no-show ... has happened to me before ... my first aupair did not turn up.
Opposite to blue shoes.. I start looking 6 months before the current ap is due to leave. I have found that girls who plan to come tend to really want to have a gap year here ( aus) and are better prepared. Not had a no show in 6 years.
We use au pair world too.,
Great au pair is where we found ours but you do have to get to grips with their filtering system. You can block messages from certain nationalities (so for us basically not EU got blocked).
Aupairworld every time... Agencies are a rip-off and do not carry out the most basic of checks.
Doing it yourself is harder work (we interview between 10 and 20 people before finding the one, and that's before the references etc) but we've found some great, really motivated people on that site who would not have dreamed of paying agencies to find a family. They too preferred the direct route.
Another vote for au-pair world. Easy to use, huge choice of good candidates, and cheap. It's only disadvantage is that it is time consuming due to the sheer volume of applicants you are likely to get.
Agencies are a waste of money. Their primary aim is to get the money from the candidate and family. I don't believe they care about good matches. They only have THEIR best interests at heart. Most don't even read the requirements eg I have pets and I still receive applications from girls with pet allergies! When I had to dismiss one AP for gross misconduct, the agency simply passed on her to another unsuspecting family.
Would also add - it is far more effective and cheaper to use Au-Pair world AND pay for a flight for any propective AP to visit you on a trial weekend. It works well for both parties as you get a good idea of what the AP is like, and the AP is happier as it is less daunting for her when she eventually joins you. ie you both have an idea of what to expect
We also use AP World. Last rime I also registered with Easyaupair but didnt get on with their filtering system as I was getting messages from APs in countries I had not indicated I wanted.
I too was unimpressed with my one and only experience of using an agency and felt that their primary objective was getting a family and AP to agree to a match and pay up. Therefore we were pressurised to make a quick decision, given only a choice of two or three APs at a time ( you had to reject them before you were sent more to consider) and once paid up contact ceased unless you chased them (eg when our AP hadnt informed us of her travel plans for ages after committing we started to wonder if she would be a 'no show' so asked them to chase her up). She did come (maybe persuaded to give it a try by the agency?) but stayed for one day only as she said she was missing her family too much! Replacement APs offered to us were rejects kicked out of other AP jobs or not available for months. No refund offered by the agency. From what I have seen I think girls who are confident and independent are likely to try the direct route through AP websites rather than pay an agency. I would be sceptical of any agency that tells you they rarely have an unsuccessful placement.
Metrobaby and any others who do trial weekends. It sounds like a good idea in principle but I'm interested to know what tasks you give the au pair to test him/her out? We tend to need an au pair for the weekdays (before/afterschool care mainly) and the first week for us is mostly showing them how to do the job, showing them around the area etc. therefore the real test of their abilities comes in subsequent weeks when we see how they are coping. Hard to know what tasks we could give them during a weekend trial so would love to hear what you have done! I guess at least you can find out more about their personality on a trial weekend.
I don't really place much store on physically meeting an aupair or a trial weekend. Not sure what you can find out in that space of time, besides personal hygiene (?), where everybody is on their best behaviour. Even my worst aupairs were sort of alright in the first few days, but I would say within the first week the niggles will be there.
Aupairing is an unskilled job but one which can easily be picked up with a little common sense and organisation. I would not expect an aupair to necessarily know how I like things to be done, without my first telling them.
However ... if I had to devise a test, for childcare, I would say leave them alone with the dcs (pretend to go out of the room to answer a call) and see how they interact with them. A good aupair - one that truly likes children - will try to engage them.
For house work, ask them to fold some clothes or hang clothes on a hanger. For some strange reason, the worst aupairs I had on the housework front (and they were also bad on the childcare front!) could not fold clothes to save their life. The edges and buttons were not aligned, it was not crisp, basically just roughly folded. Shirts were just draped onto a hanger, collars up and not down, buttons barely done. It shows a somewhat disorganised mind and lackadaisal attitude to standards, I believe, which flowed through into not particularly caring about doing a good job. A girl like that does not improve over time and needs constant managing ... which was not a good match for my family where dh and I were out of the house a lot.
Interesting Blueshoes.., our current AP is shaping up into one who needs constant managing and also happens to be terrible at folding clothes. I wasn't so bothered about the crispness of the clothes folding as I was about other things but its interesting that we are seeing the same pattern in overall performance as you!
Lol, MG. It is a red flag for the 'am I bovvered aupair" this folding of clothes, I tell yer.
Oh dear. I'm crap at folding clothes.... But I was a really good nanny! Honest!
I always think of an AP role made up of 3 areas: childcare, cleaning, cooking. I don't ever expect any APs to be good at all three, so for me the childcare aspect is the most important, and the other areas I'm prepared to be less fussy on. On the trial weekend I focus on the childcare aspect. I don't set up any specific tests as such. Our APs spend a weekend with us and we take them on a day trip to London. I observe how she is with the kids generally, how she interacts with them, how she is with them on the roads etc. I don't expect her to do any household jobs during the weekend, but if she offers to help, I consider it a huge plus and shows she has a bit of initiative and willingness. In my opinion, i think you can tell if someone has a natural rapport with children within a few hours. I make it quite clear that the weekend is an opportunity for us BOTH to get to know each other better.
Also, I think at a trial weekend is a good indicator of their attitude generally. I have had one that literally wanted to be waited on hand and foot, barely spoke to the children, hid in her room at every opportunity and woke up on the Sunday morning at 11am!! Needless to say we didn't take her on, but interestingly enough she decided later on that she didn't want to be an AP anymore.
It is far easier to decide if the AP is a no-go after a weekend rather than go through the inconvenience of having her arrive and decide after a few weeks she is not working out.
Blueshoes - I've had a couple of APs who were brilliant at folding clothes but actually quite useless with the children. My latest one however was very lackadaisical over the very little housework she had to do, and yes - I do agree with you, she was generally disorganised, needed constant reminding, and generally didn't care about doing a good job. I got rid of her in the end. An AP role is generally quite simple, so anyone who still needs constant performance managing after a month is never going to improve.
I use aupairworld.
But before I decide, I also google and check her on other websites (facebook, au-pair websites)...
I once had a response from a nice girl, spoke to her on Skype. She was claiming she came for 3 months (summer au-pair) and she wanted to extend her stay. On Facebook she wrote that she intitially agreed on a year and was leaving the family...
My previous au-pair came for a year, after a few weeks she was searching for a different family on facebook (claiming she deserves more money).
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