Extension candidates are a tough bunch. These au pairs already know the score… they know what it takes to be an au pair, they have already improved their English a bit, they know how hard it can be to take care of children, and they know the wide range of material situations that host families offer.
And, because many families would like an au pair who already knows how to negotiate the main parts of American family life, if you are looking for an extension au pair you will be competing with other host families. This time, unlike when you were competing with other host families for a prospective au pair who had mostly dreams and no experience, now you’re trying to attract an au pair who really knows what to look for and may even be savvy enough to have you compete against other host families…
Assuming that there are extension candidates available, and some of them (on paper) meet your needs,
- How do you interview an extension Au Pair?
- What would you concentrate on when looking at extension candidate?
- What questions specific for an extension AP would you ask?
Franzi starts us off:
- An extension au pair should certainly be asked about her year,
- her experience with the kids, their demands, the family,
- her travels,
- why she wants to extend,
- why she would want to move to your town,
- why she doesn’t start an education back home (valid question for western APs at least),
- what she plans to do after her second year.
- I would ask those questions in several ways to find out if you’d end up with a “marry anyone to stay” AP or with someone who really enjoys APing and is extending because it will help her in life (eg education back home, language skills).
- Pay attention to the way she talks about her current host family. It will clue you in on how she will be talking about you.
- How does she handle conflicts with the host parents? How is her level of communication?
- Does she have a blog?
- What about family and friends coming for a visit?
- How do they feel about her staying for another year? How does she handle homesickness?
I would be careful to signals that she has no attachment to home and sees the AP year as an opportunity to “run away”… But that goes for regular APs as well, not only those in extension.
Sunnyvah chimes in:
I would also ask her what she “learned” from her first year? What does she want to do different? Even when you had a great family and a good relationship- there are always things you would do different (same for HP, isn’t it?) I know my first experience definitely helped me to choose my second family.
- Look out for girls who say they want to extend only in California, Florida or NYC. Even though it is perfectly reasonable to want to change your location and see more of the US, this kind of preference may also indicate that a candidate is more interested in what she can do in her off duty time. You won’t be able to tell from her extension application, so ask lots of questions to get at her real reasons for these preferences.
- Look for ‘code’ in the evaluation of her by her current family….Faint praise is a red flag.
- Absolutely call her LCC and her current host family. This is the easiest reference to check! So, don’t be embarrassed, just call!
Other posts to check out:
In rematch again ? Why didn’t you call me?
Extending with your current au pair: A Bad Idea?