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Sifting Au Pair World replies - any suggestions?

(10 Posts)
RoseMT Wed 01-Jun-11 21:14:22

Well, my ad on Au Pair World worked well...maybe too well! Now have a large number of interested girls.

Does anyone have any suggestions about how to identify the stars from amongst a large number of applications?

The kids are 4, 5 and 7 (2 girls & a boy). It's pre- and post-school care and a bit of light housework (25 hrs total).

I think we're fairly laid back, but would like someone quite self-sufficient.

Am avoiding obvious pitfalls:
- over 21
- have lived away from home before
- no boyfriend
- pref some childcare experience
- reasonable english

But there are still quite a few who fit the bill on paper.

Any thoughts appreciated! Or do I just need to start Skyping....?

Julesnobrain Thu 02-Jun-11 00:31:06

I have found the best method is to send the ones you like the sound of a cheery email telling them more about you, your role, the hours how much you pay and then ask them why particularly they want the role with your family. I also ask them 1or 2 specific questions which might be important to me re their profile.

Once I get those back I send the ones I am now really interested in my Au pair schedule which details exactly what the role entails and ask them to reconfirm their interest

Then I present my short list to dh (usually 3) and get his view, then we jointly telephone interview and finally the last 2 get skyped by the kids to get their buy in

Phew who said it was easy to get an AP

Hope that helps

ConstantlyCooking Thu 02-Jun-11 09:37:44

When I have initial enquiries I send them an email with more details about us and repeat the important facts as many potential au pairs don't seem to read the initial add that thoroughly. Then see if they reply - quite a few drop out at this stage. Then send a typical day and ask more questions. Send photos etc. Then usually shortlist.
BTW the au pairs we have had with boyfriends at home have been fine - it saves having to have discussions about unscheduled overnight visitors!

RoseMT Sat 04-Jun-11 17:25:37

Thanks for that advice! I've put a 2 pager together describing the family & expected routine. I guess there aren't any killer questions that magically reveal your perfect match. It's like a blind date except you have to live together for 6 months, lol.

SybilBeddows Sat 04-Jun-11 17:30:06

are there photos? when I did it I thought the ones whose photos showed them interacting with a child were probably a better bet than the ones who were looking sultry and pouting.
Not because I have anything against a sultry au pair, just that a pic with kids seemed to show more awareness of what the job entailed....

DH thought we should go for the ones from cold and depressing countries because of the risk that ones from the Mediterranean would find England cold, damp and unfriendly and get homesick and want to go home! We ended up with a lovely Hungarian woman.

RoseMT Sat 04-Jun-11 18:02:03

Don't get me started on nationalities! I've had all my friends' 'helpful' stereotypes on who to/not employ! (Apparently the Dane will run off with my husband and the Finn will be depressed and leave....)

cheesetoastie Sat 04-Jun-11 18:21:08

Is checkable references on your list of must-haves? We insisted on references and found that it cut down the list a lot. Also you find that a lot of the au pairs will be in contact with several families at the same time and will suddenly go silent on you after accepting a job with a different family so that limits your choice further.
Of our au pairs, the ones with the boyfriend at home were slightly less of a worry than the one who didn't have a boyfriend but was sad because of that. We also chose the au pairs who had photos of them interacting with kids rather than the pouting at the camera types - mainly because we felt it meant that they had thought about the responsibility of the position.

tooposh Sat 04-Jun-11 18:24:53

DH wanted the 50kg 1m75 Brazilian whose greatest ambition was to be a model. I vetoed her without taking references wink.

On a serious note, ask about their own home life. You want someone from a happy stable home. Also, ask about what meals they might cook the children.

RoseMT Sat 04-Jun-11 18:28:55

Checkable references. That's going straight on the list!

I've kicked DH off APW after clocking his priorities.

Julesnobrain Sat 04-Jun-11 22:56:23

Actually I have found more attractive ones better, they are more likely to be sociable, make friends easily and be less homesick. We had one who was politely less attractive. She stayed in her room, got a crush on DH who was not flattered and wandered around in her underwear much to the children's bemusement! We had to ask her to leave in the end ... Not because of that for another reason.

However I don't select ones who pose and pout in their photo I think that shows a fundamental lack of understanding about the role they are applying for.

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