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Au pair agencies - a negative experience, any advice?(3 Posts)
Hi, can anyone recommend an au pair agency that is professional and helpful?
I had a complete disaster with an agency called Scanaupairs, so I would advice you to avoid them. Our first au pair supplied by them stayed for a month, despite the agency singing her praises and the girl herself telling a good story about her skills & experience, she was hopeless... the agency then arranged a replacement, aggressively pushed me into making a decision on an Estonian girl this time guaranteeing that she had been personally interviewed & references checked and was 'fantastic'. I interviewed her while on holiday abroad but we were desperate to find someone - mea culpa. We had to fire her on the spot three weeks later because she had been stealing from us, and judging from the messages we found in the mobile phone we lent her, running a nice sideline in entertaining a number of older men... The agency - when finally returning our call, as they are rarely available on the phone - told us to go to the police and that it "wasn't their problem" to get the girl out of our house.
I am in two minds about getting a third au pair, so any recommendations on professional agencies would be very helpful.
We got our first au pair from an agency. The girls didn't really work out but I don't think I would blame the agency totally, although I think with more experience, I would have seen the warning signs.
I have since found my own au pairs via the Great Aupair and Aupair World. I'm thinking of going back to the agency (DH's company pays the fees) for my next au pair though as I am being inundated with applications, and it would be nice to have the agency to whittle them down.
I've used both agencies and web-sites, and to be honest there is not much to choose between them.
With the web-sites you have to do much of the shortlisting yourself, but you save a few hundred pounds in agancy fees.
I've found that agencies don't do much in the way of narrowing down the choice anyway. They just want to unload what ever girls or boys they have on their data-base to you, regardless of your requirements.
I've lots count of the number of agencies that have sent me CV's of teenagers when I have specifically asked for mature applicants, and even specified 23+.
There is only one agency I would reccomend, but I don't know if it is still going as I have not used it for a couple of years. It is called 'Sue's au-pairs' and was based in NW London, and was run by a sensible, mature, lady, whose first language is clearly English, called Sue.
The only tip I have found useful is to get an au-pair already in the UK who has worked for a previous familiy in the UK. That way you can talk to another family, in confidence, about her. In addition, you can then interview her face to face, rather than over the phone.
One of our au-pairs told me that a 'friend' of hers had someone else, with better English, take the phone-call from the family! Of course, this 'friend' did not disclose this fact to the family.....................
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