During the Au Pair search, the Host Family will and should conduct at least one Au Pair interview ideally through video calls in order to evaluate if the candidate will be a good fit for their family. No matter the search methods – through an agency or through an Au Pair matching websites – Host Families may spend significant time and arrange multiple interviews without finding the perfect candidate.
Feel free to read our guide for Au Pair interviews and ask any questions you may have in the comment section at the bottom of the page.
What do we need to prepare before the Au Pair interview?
Ideally you prepare a list of questions that came up while reading the candidate’s profile or email exchanges. There might be other important topics that you haven’t discussed or areas the candidate didn’t give much detail on that you want to raise during the interview.
Also, you should decide if your children join the first Au Pair interview or not. In our experience, it’s much easier to have a proper first discussion with the Au Pair candidate without children. Our children can be very dominant and love to “take over” the conversation (we often end up getting to know all the Au Pair’s pets by name ;-)). We often felt that we didn’t get a lot out of the interviews when the children are present. Especially with Au Pair candidates we really like from the first email contact and profile, we conduct the first interview without children.
If you have set a day and time for the Au Pair interview and punctuality is an important characteristic for you, you can already test the Au Pair candidate: If you switch on your computer and start Skype or alternative video calling service 10-15 minutes before agreed start time, you can check at what time the Au Pair goes online.
An Au Pair candidate, who logs on a couple of minutes before the interview wants to ensure that she/he is well on time, which can be interpreted as being motivated and excited to do the interview. We have conducted several Au Pair interviews during which we didn’t get the feeling that candidates were motivated to speak to us at all. They had no questions and didn’t say much during the entire time. This are important things we look out for.
You yourself can use the extra time before you speak to the Au Pair candidate to review her/his profile or emails and write down additional questions that just come up then. You might add a few more questions to your “general list of questions to ask the Au Pair candidate” which came up from a candidate you interviewed earlier.
What if the Au Pair interview goes really wrong right from the start?
This is a really good question and it depends a bit on your personality or creativity. A friend of us pretends to have connectivity issues with the Internet when she talks to a candidate who she just can’t imagine to become her Au Pair. This is certainly one way of ending an interview which will lead to nothing, however it’s definitely not everyone’s cup of tea…
You can also be honest and finish the interview early by telling the candidate that you feel that she/he would not be a good fit. It can be really time consuming to conduct a “full” interview and chat about the Au Pair job and your family. Therefore, it’s understandable that you may wish to cut the interview short if you decided anyhow not to proceed with the candidate. This might be a bit upsetting for the candidate unfortunately.
I personally follow a different approach. One reason is that I am really a bad actor and I would never be able to pretend internet problems or other emergencies if there are none. The other reason is that I am generally interested in Au Pair arrangements and want to help also candidates who might not be a good fit for us to improve their chances to find another Host Family. I normally go through the questions I had and finish off the interview and send them an email the next day explaining them why we wouldn’t hire her/him. If I still liked her/him to a certain extend I may add some advice what to do better in Au Pair interviews.
We have had several interviews in the last couple of years where we thought, that this candidate will struggle to find a Host Family if she didn’t change the way she presented herself. If candidates lack motivation, don’t have questions and never smile during the interview it will be hard to find a Host Family.
Are there any “no-go” topics that Host Families shouldn’t address in interviews?
The answer to this question highly depends on your personality and your desire to discuss topics upfront which are more specific to your family or where you expect that some Au Pairs might be surprised.
“Treating the Au Pair as a full member of the family” is an example for a more sensitive topic.
Some Host parents may want to spend time alone with their children when they come home from work. If you address this topic in the first interview, the candidate might get the feeling that this is something really important to you. She/he might think that you generally treat Au Pairs not like a family member even if you did.
Looking at it from the other perspective: Not every Au Pair wants to be treated as the big sister and may even be relieved to hear that. A very close and family-like relationship can lead to the Au Pair never really having time “off” if she is at home. The children might want to play with her/him when she/he is at home at night and on the weekend.
A good way of addressing things which are more specific to your family is to ask the candidate how she/he would like certain things to be and then try to figure out if this Au Pair could live with your concept. You can also address these topics when you discuss your daily routine and what you expect from the Au Pair candidate.
In any event, we recommend to discuss these topics upfront so that both the Host family and the Au Pair candidate have the same expectations before the start.