The pool of au pair candidates (and host families) is deeper at some times of year than at others.We host parents have a sense that Spring (end of school year) and Late Summer (just before start of school) have relatively deeper pool of candidates. And, many of us prefer these times to match with au pairs, since we can orient the au pair to the upcoming change in schedule.
(I’d love it if some of you seasoned LCCs could jump in with any facts about surges and ebbs in the au pair candidate pool.)
Sometimes we aren’t able to time our au pair to meet a certain season. We end up back in the market at an ‘off season’ because of rematch, abrupt au pair departures, extensions, and changes in childcare needs.
If you find yourself looking for an au pair during the ‘off season’, what can you do to increase the chance of finding a good match?
Dear Au Pair Mom– I’ve got a problem I’d call the “Off Season Match.”
We are in the midst of the matching process now, since our current au pair’s year ends in March. As others have noted, this time of the year is “slim pickings.”
I have been working diligently to find an au pair in the current pool. We have sent out about 12-14 introductory emails, telling prospective au pairs about our family and asking them to email us back a few times during which we might talk to them in person.
Of that number, we have had what I consider to be a dismal response rate–and I mean ANY response. We have only had 6 responses, and of those, 2 said they were already matching with another family, 2 said they couldn’t come until later (one not until July! why even have the profile up now, in that case?). So far, only 2 have written back with times to talk to them. Argh! I don’t know if it matters, but we are with a ‘very big agency’.
My questions are:
1. What type of response rate should I be expecting, considering the time of year, etc.?
We’ve been through this process twice, and it’s always been better than this. In fact, I don’t think I have had to send out so many emails before.
2. Does your interview process change if you happen to be matching during an “off” time of year?
- Have you found that your standards have lowered as a matter of necessity?
- If not, how have you managed to find a good au pair when there don’t seem to be that many choices out there?
I’d appreciate feedback on either or both of these questions!
Thanks for this site, again! What a tremendous gift to HFs from all of you!
“Season-ed Host Mom”
[Don’t groan at me, she picked the name. Pun intended, I assume ;-)]