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No applications for au pair role... what am I doing wrong...

(69 Posts)
fromheretomaternity Tue 12-May-15 20:32:21

I advertised a few days back for an au pair on Au Pair World and haven't had a single message or enquiry. I'm new to the whole au pair thing and wondering if I've made some kind of faux pas? or narrowed down the countries too much (Germany and Scandinavia)? or maybe left my recruitment too late? My ad is below - I've taken out a few location details here to anonymise. If anyone could feed back on it I'd be most grateful (ps not fishing for applicants - genuinely bewildered as to why we've had no interest):

Dear Au pair
Our family in London is seeking a responsible, energetic and caring au pair. You would be looking after our two lovely boys who go to the local school a few minutes walk away.

You will have a good-sized room in our house, with wifi, TV and a desk. We live in [area], a very safe and pleasant area of London, close to local shops, cafes and parks and a short walk or bus ride away from the tube, taking you into central London. There is a good local network of au pairs and many local language schools.

About us
We are a family of four - both Mum (42) and Dad (44) work full-time in central London. Our two boys are aged 7 and 4. They are energetic, fun-loving, funny and caring, and love football, our local park, and art; our oldest is learning the piano. They are very happy at the local school and have a good network of friends. At weekends we like to visit family, do trips out with the children and spend time at home.

We are a friendly and relaxed family and are looking for someone who will fit in with us, but also have their own time and space to be able to enjoy life in London.

Expectations
We are looking for someone aged 19-24 with a very good standard of English, experience in working with children, and a mature and calm attitude. Enthusiasm for caring for two lively, outdoor-loving children is essential. A driving license would be highly desirable, as would cooking skills; you must be a non-smoker. References will be required.

We would need you to work 30 hours per week, plus up to two nights a week babysitting; we are looking for someone who can be flexible with their time and occasionally help out a little at weekends. Duties would include getting the children to school in the morning; picking them up from school / after-school clubs and entertaining them after school, including play dates with their friends; and making their evening meal. We may need some overtime in school holidays. We would also expect some light housework such as the laundry (we have a cleaner).

We can offer full board and lodging and pocket money of £120 per week. Our ideal start date is 8/9 August 2015, and we’d like to find someone who can stay with us for 12 months.

If this sounds like it might suit you, please get in touch!

Karoleann Tue 12-May-15 20:50:41

You'll get more responses if you have some photos on of the children and your family.

You can also contact au pairs you like the sound of, you're not asking for anything unusual for an au pair and most of your wish list - age, driving licence, cooking etc will be mentioned on a prospective au pairs profile. I would also state what type of experience with children you want, if its just something like babysitting then if you put that in more candidates will come forward.

Also make sure you log in regularly and answer any messages quickly and then your profile will appear as one of the first when searching.

OutragedFromLeeds Tue 12-May-15 20:53:26

Are you sure that your ad is up and displaying correctly?

It sounds like you want someone of a very high standard (a nanny?) for a fairly low wage, but that doesn't explain why you haven't had any interest at all. People will respond to the most insane requirements!

The country and age limitation seem a bit pointless to me (but I've had people on here in the past tell me it's fine to arbitrarily decide you don't like people from e.g. Spain!), so again doesn't explain no message at all.

I think the ad is wordy for someone who is supposed to be coming to learn English, but then you say you want someone who can already speak English well....so that's ok.

I don't know. All I can think is a technical problem. Have you tried looking at your ad having logged out of your account?

berri Tue 12-May-15 20:54:38

I have no experience of this whatsoever but my friend who has had a series of successful au pairs always uses an agency called Rainbow Au Pairs (or something similar) and think it's all young-ish German ladies who are highly vetted.

I think your ad sounds great btw.

VodkaValiumLattePlease Tue 12-May-15 21:00:05

30 hours a week, PLUS 'Upto' 2 nights babysitting (4/5 hours?) PLUS helping out at weekend AND light cleaning? You do realise its a cultural exchange, so they need free time to experience the county?

Hoppinggreen Tue 12-May-15 21:33:00

You use the words " energetic" and lively a lot - might suggest the boys are a bit of a handful?

Monica101 Tue 12-May-15 21:42:51

Too many hours I agree, 30 hours plus two evenings is full time hours for £120.

I don't think German or Scandi girls will like the look of it.

I think you need to drop the hours and open up to more countries.

Karoleann Tue 12-May-15 22:00:48

Hours are completely standard for an au pair plus role - all written down here on the bapp website

www.bapaa.org.uk/displaypage.asp?page=41

The light housework would be included in the 30 hours, pay is above average and 2 babysits is completely standard for an au pair.

Viviennemary Tue 12-May-15 22:02:26

It's a minor point but I'd cut the Dear Au Pair out. It's far far too long. Cut it down to a quarter of the length. No need to give your ages. Agree with not using words energetic and lively people will think they will be run off their feet.

And hours are very long 30 hours plus two evenings could amount to a nearly 40 hour week for £120. That's not really acceptable. It's not really an Au Pair job more a nanny or full time mother's help. I think you should also mention the area of London you're in. I agree with trying an agency. They will have a good idea of what wages are acceptable.

fromheretomaternity Tue 12-May-15 22:07:25

Thanks. Hoppinggreen well spotted.... the boys are very lively... want to be fairly upfront about that but maybe it's over the top. I wouldn't mind saying 1 babysit and paying overtime for anything else so I could change that.

I've had one application now so the ad must be live. Need a good selection to choose from though - I might end up turning to an agency.

Viviennemary, I do specify the area of London in the ad itself, just didn't want to plaster it over mumsnet!

Any more ideas... maybe I should not be so picky on countries...

Laquila Tue 12-May-15 22:17:03

What's the logic behind German/Scandi only? If you can open this up you'll doubtless get plenty more responses. Agree that your ad makes your boys sound liek a bit of a handful, even if they're not! (I'm sure they're lovely!)

QuintShhhhhh Tue 12-May-15 22:20:35

Why Scandinavian, if I may ask?
Is it a Cultural need?

fromheretomaternity Tue 12-May-15 22:22:58

There are a few other Scandinavian au pairs in the area so thought it would be good socially, also understand they generally have a good standard of English - but I don't feel especially strongly about it.

New to this whole au pair game so quite possibly I haven't got things right first go...

crymeariverwoo Tue 12-May-15 22:28:33

Another one who thinks the hours are a bit much! although admittedly I don't know a great deal about au pairs! I am a nanny and basically work those hours! so before and after school. .. I pick up extra work during the day to make up the money! but even on weeks that I don't, I still feel tired out by the end of the week. If you can cut it down a few hours by letting the boys go to after school club one day or something then I think it may be more appealing!
other than that I think the ad looks good!

SavoyCabbage Tue 12-May-15 22:30:30

I think you are asking for quite a lot from an au pair. Good English, ability to cook and drive in London (daunting), experience with children, light housework, babysitting.

Then there is the lively boys that want to play football. They sound great but I think it all might be a bit much.

QuintShhhhhh Tue 12-May-15 22:31:31

I would not narrow it Down like that unless you need Your children to have Language support from communicating in Norwegian/Swedish/Danish particularly. Your au pair will get to know other nannies and au pairs through Your childrens School, irrespective of her own nationality.

I hate to tar anybody With a brush, but Norwegian standard of living is in general so high I would not particularly want a Norwegian au pair unless I was very wealthy and live in a big house, as she would not respect you, but feel superior. I am Norwegian and made the mistake of getting a Norwegian au pair, after 3 lovely Polish ones (husband is Polish). There is nothing worse than welcoming an au pair to Your home and see her heart sink as she puts a brave face on - then regaling you With tales of her 4-5 bed detached home With 3 lounges, etc. Sorry, feeling old rage resurfacing.

I hope you find a lovely au pair!

Haffdonga Tue 12-May-15 22:34:47

Why would someone with very good English want an au pair job? Most au pairs are wanting to improve their English skills so probably wouldn't rate themselves as very good. I'd be satisfied with good and an offer to pay for English classes.

fromheretomaternity Tue 12-May-15 22:44:05

Hm, I'm used to recruiting nannies, not sure I've quite grasped the differences with moving to an au pair. Will change the wording of the ad so my boys don't sound quite so much like uncontrollable monsters (which they're not, well not most of the time). And open up the nationalities.

OutragedFromLeeds Tue 12-May-15 23:07:13

Have you grasped the difference between nannies and au pairs? It's more than just fewer hours and they live with you.

When I was reading your OP I was thinking 'this sounds like an ad for a nanny' so maybe that's the problem?

I'm a nanny not an au pair, but I immediately dismiss any ads that want a specific age range or nationality where there is no reason for that requirement. It just screams 'short-sighted and judgemental' to me. I know you do have a reason for the nationality bit, but if that wasn't included in your ad then they wouldn't know that. That's quite possibly something that doesn't bother anyone else though!

LtGreggs Tue 12-May-15 23:10:51

I'm currently recruiting on ap world and have an advert up that mentions my lively boys :-) If you search for 'stirling' you can probably find it on there. It's been up two days and had about 30 applicants - with the search criteria set as Spain and Male/Female. This is our third year recruiting - ime the quality and fit of male candidates is generally better than female (lots of sporty trainee teachers?) - have you considered that? There's also lots of good Spanish candidates due to (a) economy and (b) requirement for good English skills to get in to eg state teaching posts. So think about that?

Also - site has been crashing loads last couple of days so could be that has caused problems for your applicants.

LtGreggs Tue 12-May-15 23:16:05

I'd also cut down the length of your ad - don't mention things like references until you get further down the path (most good candidates would expect to be asked, so no need to add words up front)?

LtGreggs Tue 12-May-15 23:21:07

We are profile no 2890342 if you want to compare. But no nicking my applicants smile

eeyore12 Wed 13-May-15 06:32:37

Also you mention a driver would be good but want someone between 19-24 you do know that adding anyone under 25 to your car insurance is probably going to cost a lot more than someone over 25 would it worth making the age range bigger?

SweetGrapes Wed 13-May-15 10:17:25

Agree with the driver part. I got loads more responses when I took out the age range, made driving optional (the kids are anyway walked everywhere) and extended the country list to all EU ( I don't want visa issues and I want to be able to afford a flight home as a Christmas perk)

MezleyM Wed 13-May-15 11:23:44

Broaden your search criteria! I have two boys also and I actually prefer to have a male au pair...I was on au pair world a couple of months ago looking for my 3rd au pair, and had over 100 applicants...mainly Spanish males, mainly graduates. If you have 'lively' boys, someone who can play football with them is ideal. I'm about an hour from London.

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