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Is anyone else using au pair world at the moment?

(44 Posts)
sazerashez Tue 09-Aug-16 07:33:33

I've been using it for the last two years. The first year I was swamped and had something ridiculous like 500 applicants. This year: 10 applicants in a month. I've had a snoop on similar host family profiles and it's the same for them. I live in London zone 2, am offering £100 pw, plus travel and gym membership but I can't find anyone and I need someone to start in 3 weeks!

Is au pair world the wrong place to look these days or are there fewer au pairs out there? I'm wondering whether to just use an agency but it's fiercely expensive!

BlackAmericanoNoSugar Wed 10-Aug-16 17:12:54

Somebody else on here was saying that she thought there were far fewer candidates on APW then there had been. Our current au pair has been with us for two years so it's been a while, but there was plenty of interest back when I recruited him. I think our au pair will be able to get a proper job in the next few months (his English is good, but he's doing an internship in the mornings to get his business English up to standard) and I'm a little concerned about recruiting the next one.

PinPon Thu 11-Aug-16 07:19:23

I used APW earlier this year and had a reasonable number of candidates (probably 30 or so). Have you tried approaching potential au pairs on the website and letting them know you're interested? Might also be worthwhile trying local au pair Facebook group. Good luck.

nottoallyenjoyingit Sat 13-Aug-16 19:30:04

I had no luck this year on aupairworld. I messaged literally hundreds of people and got a handful of replies. In desperation I turned to Facebook- "au pair in *shire" and got three replies- one of whom is starting in a couple of weeks.
Good luck!

OhThatThingAgain Sun 14-Aug-16 00:47:20

I set up a profile last week, I've had 30 applicants, all seem reasonable and fit what I requested. I'm only offering £90 a week for 20 hours weekdays plus a zone 1-4 travel card (and car if over 25). We have a cleaner and I've stated that as it seems important to them. We also speak Spanish so we're attracting Spanish girls as we can swap languages easily.

I'm going to narrow them down and start Skyping next week. But I have one I really like, she is my top choice so far. She's just so sweet and keen. She's probably got 30 families after her!

I'm also offering gym membership, a separate living room for entertaining friends and the usual TiVo, phone and unlimited wifi.

The only one who's been odd asked if I could provide her with a laptop and said she didn't work evenings (I only asked until 6pm???). I thought that was taking the piss.

I'll see what Skype turns up, they are probably all bonkers and I'll be back to square one next weekend. It's my first time, I have no idea what to expect confused

MahaChandran Sun 14-Aug-16 17:57:39

Hi,
I started searching for an au pair for the first time a month ago in childcare website. No luck yet. One girl seemed very keen and then it all went silent !!

I have got only 3 weeks. Im so worried whether i will find someone. So planning to turn to an agency tomorrow. Could someone please suggest some good agencies please.

Thanks,
Maha

sazerashez Mon 15-Aug-16 10:04:34

Hi

We eventually found someone on gumtree. Thank god. It was so stressful!

Maha: before going to an agency I would go nuclear on au pair world. Put in your ad in big capitals ' must be ready to start work on...'so you avoid any time wasters who can only start later. Then just mail as many girls as you can. Have you tried gumtree?

MahaChandran Mon 15-Aug-16 10:42:03

Hi sazerashez,
thanks for your comment. I havent used gumtree. I was solely depending on the childcare webite. Its only the premium waste and nothing happened. Let me advertise in gumtree and also update my profile with capitals on start date.

Thanks again.

- Maha

OVienna Mon 15-Aug-16 17:57:54

Our Spanish au pair to be is very concerned about Brexit. Apparently the papers there have been publishing stories about anti foreigner feeling. She's been what's apping me about it to the extent I am a bit like: way to make this about you. But I appreciate she is concerned. I am wondering if there needs to be some sort of statement about the position of foreigner workers like au pairs in the UK on apw. But God knows what they'd say. Anyway OP I don't know if this is your issue but I am expecting it to be hard to recruit going forward.

OVienna Mon 15-Aug-16 17:58:00

Our Spanish au pair to be is very concerned about Brexit. Apparently the papers there have been publishing stories about anti foreigner feeling. She's been what's apping me about it to the extent I am a bit like: way to make this about you. But I appreciate she is concerned. I am wondering if there needs to be some sort of statement about the position of foreigner workers like au pairs in the UK on apw. But God knows what they'd say. Anyway OP I don't know if this is your issue but I am expecting it to be hard to recruit going forward.

MahaChandran Mon 15-Aug-16 22:48:52

Hi Ovienna,
I agree with the concerns in getting an au pair after the Brexit. Im searching for 2 months now( childcare, apw etc ). Its proving very tough now.

Although nothing is changing for atleast 2 years, it has started showing the pressure already atleast with respect to getting an au pair !!!

- Maha

OhThatThingAgain Tue 16-Aug-16 15:15:54

Well as suspected, three Skype interviews arranged this week. None of them have picked up the call at the allotted time.

Despite confirming via Skype text message an hour before hand.

I think I'm going to have to go nuclear on APW too. If they can't take a call arranged a few days beforehand, then messaged an hour before I'd not be trusting them to get the children to school on time.

Damn, may have to rethink this shock

thisismeusernameything Tue 16-Aug-16 23:05:16

I went through all of this last year. I used an agency in the end. I've used the same agency again this year without issue but friends using other resources APW/other agencies have struggled. There is a definite shortage this year.

OhThatThingAgain Wed 17-Aug-16 22:17:14

Can anyone recommend any agencies in London/South East?

Thanks in advance.

I'm guessing if they are willing to sign with an agency they are serious about it, APW seems full of people who just think they can chat about a year abroad (or it's a social media forum?), not about the practicalities of 20 hours a week light work in exchange for a family experience, (about £12 per hour plus a language course, bed and board) as well as mutual exchange of cultures?

I did manage to talk to one, who said she had a very good understanding of English (not a requirement as we are multi-lingual and said basic English - although I'll be conducting interviews and my skills are limited, but she couldn't speak any English on Skype and I had to speak in my limited Spanish (I started with Hola, buenas tardes, cómo estás, my Spanish is really poor, I asked can we speak Spanish and English? I'm not the Spanish speaker in the family, another family member is fluent). Maybe she was nervous, I'm not expecting amazing English skills, but would expect us both to get a conversation going using both languages with our own limited shortcomings? She asked if I could use text or whatsapp which made me think she's using a translator app?

I do not need an English speaker, just a willingness for us all to learn and honesty about language skills. My children speak better Spanish than me, they speak four languages as fluently as 3 and 4 years olds can. They speak English, French, Spanish and Punjabi with our immediate family. I'm a O- Level Spanish and French speaker and pretty crap TBH. I explained the Skype would be in English beforehand.

The others just didn't pick up the Skype call at the arranged time. I'm naive, I thought this would be a nice chat and arrange a trial run.

Kick my ass and tell me how this is done in the real world!

thisismeusernameything Wed 17-Aug-16 22:39:51

We used Pebbles again this year. The candidates have a varying degree of English capability. You just tell them what you want. The girl that handles the calls is fab and will make sure she gets to know you well. They deffinately struggled to find me somebody more than they did last year however and I don't think they'll allow you to do a trial run but do have a guarantee period for exchange if you don't like your au pair. Busy bees are also very good apparently according to friends and millennium au pairs.

OhThatThingAgain Wed 17-Aug-16 23:42:20

Just to add I wasn't expecting a trial run in my home, just a couple of Skype sessions as a 'get to know you/us'. First chat with me, then with the Spanish speaker and then with the children. I'm not asking for the moon n a stick lol.

The one I did speak to texted me and asked for my Spanish speakers phone number. I thought that seemed a bit off, if you say 'a good understanding of English' then a 10 minute Skype just to do introductions should be ok? I had to conduct it in Spanish (very badly on my part) and felt that I was making the effort (idiot) and was embarrassed by my Spanish as I'd explained it would be in English. God knows what I said, I probably called her pet dog a pervert or something. Or worse insulted her, who knows, my Spanish is not very good shock She just smiled lots and said 'yes' a lot.

I'm a little put off and may try an agency.

OhThatThingAgain Wed 17-Aug-16 23:44:18

Looking up Pebbles now, thanks!

OhThatThingAgain Thu 18-Aug-16 01:46:21

Oh and after paying for premium membership and asking for a non-smoker my search profile has been made unsearchable because I've not replied to people who didn't fit my smoking criteria.

Lesson learned, just reply to everyone you are not interested in with a negative reply - immediately. Say non smoker, get a smoker reply. Just hit negative. Someone who needs a visa -negative immediately.

This seems like Gumtree Plus lol.

I think I'll pay an agency, at least I'll have some come back on T&Cs.

OhThatThingAgain Wed 24-Aug-16 20:40:49

Oooh dear, I had so many applicants I couldn't reply to them. So now 'Your profile has been selected for review'

Despite paying for premium membership. If you get 40 replies a day how are you meant to keep up? Agency it is, and I'll be asking for a refund. Bet I don't get one.

RyanSarah2010 Wed 24-Aug-16 21:38:25

That's only around 4.50 per hour?

OhThatThingAgain Wed 24-Aug-16 22:25:24

Add it up:

£90 a week pocket money.

An £200 a month travel card, bed, board and a paid for £1500 language course.

For 25 hours a week, more likely to be 20 if I'm honest as we work from home a lot.

Looks like about £6.50 per working hour to me. Plus free bed, food, phone, language course, TV, own sitting room l, bedroom and wifi. Is that unreasonable. I'm not asking for a nanny, I pay for my childcare. You can't get a room in London for £5 a day (which is what I'm reckoning for room and food), a hostel is £20 minimum and you'd be paying for your own travel and food.

Plus offering extra for babysitting, but not essential, only if they wanted too.

Not too bad if you're 18 and looking to live abroad and learn a language. In my sums that's about £200 a week bare minimum.

Why are so many applying if I'm asking for a skivvy?

MAsMum Thu 25-Aug-16 15:44:09

Hi
We've just used aupair world. We got 6 replies over the space of 10 ten days. I thought that our poor reply rate was due to us not living in a large cosmopolitan city.We don't live in London but a lot of the girls we looked at were 21-23 ish, Spanish and were either looking to improve English to become teachers or for Post grads and quite a few profiles were looking to live in London.

We did have two with whom we were due to Skype who did dropoff last minute. A lot of them seemed very nervous about speaking on Skype so maybe don't mention the second Skype until the end of your first call! smile

MAsMum Thu 25-Aug-16 15:47:30

Some of the ones we Skyped had people in the background eg one girl was talking she would then look up and it was as if someone told her to smile as she then looked at the camera with a massive smile!!

OhThatThingAgain Thu 25-Aug-16 18:58:10

Bless her smiling, yes we had a couple who disappeared too. It must be scary, it's bad enough interviewing in your native language.

AuPair world have said I need to provide copies of my passport, photo ID with address and a recent utility bill. Erm no, not if they are not asking the same of the au pairs?

As for Skype, I'd guessed they'd be nervous and as I was looking for someone specifically Spanish I'd arranged my Spanish speaking family member to be there too (we are a multi lingual family). As it's scary to Skype a complete stranger, these interviews were arranged after many emails and Whatsappimg in Spanish. The Spanish girls seem to need their B1 to graduate, which is why there are so many looking.

I'll be using an agency now to save the hassle. I've not got the time or the energy to wade through tons of profiles whilst having to provide APW with my own credentials. It's been an eye opener for sure.

MAsMum Thu 25-Aug-16 19:34:58

We were looking specifically for Spanish too as friends have said that there is a good social network of Spanish Aupairs in our area.

That's rubbish re the additional documents. I have a funny feeling that the aupair world website had tech difficulties and I suspect that your additional checks could have been triggered by those. Both our aupair and I experienced difficulties trying to send messages and I kept getting messages saying "You cannot send any more messages to that aupair!" when I had simply hit reply to one of the aupair's messages but when I reloaded it corrected itself.

I hope you find someone soon.

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