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how to screen potential au pairs- mostly abroad

(2 Posts)
sagalsmith Wed 14-Aug-13 15:17:09

I just put an ad in for an au pair and got a whopping response within a few hours on au-pair world. 95% are abroad though. I've had live in help for a few years so used to it but not an au pair or classic nanny. Any suggestions on how to screen them? What questions to ask to screen candidates? My main concerns are someone who'll use my place for a few months as stepping stone to other things. I've already mentioned that I'm looking for 12-24 months placement. Prefer not too much partying (I live in partyland central). Not a lot of requirements really besides the usual- maybe that's why a lot of responses (>40 in 2 hrs)- I think I need to put more conditions in! Ideas?

happydutchmummy Wed 14-Aug-13 21:28:01


If you're getting that many responses you can change your advert and be very specific about your requirements. Have a sit down and think about what your perfect applicant would be like. Some things to consider would be

How well do you want them to speak English? It can be difficult living with someone who you and your kids struggle to communicate with. Or do you want an au pair that can speak a specific language and teach that to your kids.

What age would your ideal applicant be? Are you looking for an energetic teenager to be a big sister/brother type, or would you prefer someone older who has maybe lived alone and is used to doing housework, cooking, etc.

What level of childcare experience would your perfect applicant have? There are lots of candidates who have childcare qualifications, e.g who have worked as nannies previously but now want to experience life abroad for a year or two, or there are lots of Spanish applicants who have degrees in child psychology/nutrition/etc but due to economic climate can't get a job. Or you may choose someone completely new to childcare who hasn't got any strongly formed opinions on discipline etc and you can mould to your parenting style. Do you want someone with a first aid qualification?

Are your children really into a specific thing? Such as drama, or dance, sport, art, etc. our current au pair is a qualified swimming teacher and it turns out that my daughter loves spending time in the pool with her.

Think about the personality type that would fit in well with your family. Are you a nice quiet tranquil household that would feel uncomfortable around a loud and brash person, or do you want someone with oodles of energy and enthusiasm who will be actively playing with the kids?

Be honest in your profile texts about what your family is like, and what you are searching for. Describe your kids likes and dislikes, and feel free to state your ideal requirements.

You'll find that a lot of the messages are from applicants whose profile doesn't quite click with yours. I like applicants who write a personal message in their initial contact request, as it shows they think your family is worth the time to write to rather than just clicking on a button. I filter out the ones that don't match my requirement and then start a message conversation with the ones that stand out. After a few messages being pinged back and forth I then have an evening of Skype interviews, just to chat face to face. Go with your gut feeling on whether or not you like the applicant, and chose the one you have 'bonded' with the most. I'm not sure if its my awesome filtering process or just dumb luck but this system seems to have worked perfectly for me, and I love my au pair!

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