Recommendations for finding one and what to look for...(4 Posts)
OH and I may look to hire an au pair in the next 6 months for two DC, would really appreciate any tips or otherwise about what to look for and recommendations for searching for one...
I use Au Pair World. I think its about £30 for a month and we have always managed to find an au pair in that time. We don't live in a city, so we aren't the first choice for many au pairs either.
I think my biggest mistake with the first au pairs was being too flexible on when they can work. I am a SAHM, so I said that I don't mind what hours they do, so long as it totals 30 hours in a week. However, it meant that they were always half looking after the children. I felt that they never really started work and they felt that they never really stopped. So that would be my first piece of advice; give them a schedule and stick to it.
The second piece of advice is that what they write in their profile seems to be a poor indicator of what they are really like. We have had ones who have looked great on paper and those who have seemed to be terrible, these first impressions havn't been reflected in their work as an au pair at all! Their ability to write good profiles/introduction letters has little to do with their ability to be a good au pair. Also they may write that they have loads of childcare experience, but I take it with a pinch of salt. There is no way to verify it, even asking for references is tricky as their parents/friends may well have written them.
The au pairs who have fitted in best with the family have been those who have been honest about the little things during the skype interview, as opposed to always saying the 'right' answer. For example I asked one if she was in her bedroom (she was sitting on a bed), she said no she was in her mother's bedroom because her bedroom was too messy! That was a good sign for me because it meant that she wasn't being guarded and trying to say the right thing, but was being herself.
Hope that helps
I'm on au pair number 5 and it's not an exact science! I would state that you should go with your gut. The two we had that didn't work out were head choices as they looked good on paper, however they just didn't click with us and I sent them both Home. And don't be afraid to say no to applicants. If you interview them and you just don't sense that you could live with them then don't. You wouldn't move a boyfriend in straight away if you were dating, no matter how amazing they seemed; au pairs should be no different (forgive the random analogy but for me it was a similar process to Internet dating). I'd also make sure they are happy to provide you with references and a photocopy of some kind of identification . I hope this helps a little. It's not an easy thing to do but can be a great experience x
I can only echo the previous post. With our first au pair I clicked immediately and we had a lot of common interests and stuff to talk about. When we got our second au pair it was really difficult finding someone, or even have people turn up to an interview, that I ended up giving the job to someone who was ok but my gut feeling said she is not quite right. I ended up giving her notice after 3 months because we had just not gelled with her, she had no energy with the kids and I found it difficult to have a normal conversation with her, she was not very talkative.
Because you will be sharing your house with that person you have to really get on with them to make it work. I should have really taken more time finding the right one.
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