What is your family’s Au Pair Selection Process?: Interviews (polls)

by cv harquail on May 15, 2011

Busy Mom has been very busy, thinking about how to make the Au Pair Selection Process better. She wrote a long guest post, complete with several suggested polls. Because her effort was so comprehensive, it was a bit much for one post and one conversation theme. So, I’ve broken it down (and added some things too) to create a series:

Your Family’s Au Pair Selection Process

Posts include: (full list forthcoming as I get them scheduled ;-) )

Your Family’s Au Pair Selection Process: Emails and Information before an Interview

Your Au Pair Selection Process: What’s your “Information Style”? (poll)

Now, from BusyMom….

BusyMom’s Au Pair Interview Process

Several posts during the past two weeks made me curious about other families’ selection processes. I thought that it might help our community, and particularly families new to the AP program, to share details about our search processes.

Probably the most important part of our family’s u Pair selection process is the Interview.

My mantra for the interview is “no surprises.”

In the interview, I try to cover everything so the prospective AP knows what she is committing to, and cover some of the most important points multiple times in writing and verbally. Knock on wood. We are on AP 3 and have never rematched. We pretty much used the same process through 6 searches for live-in nannies prior to having an AP and had only 1 who was a complete mismatch for our family.The last 4 nannies came from other parts of the US.

We spend a lot of time in interviews with candidates we like. With our previous, current and next AP, I spent about 2.5 hours in skype or in-person interviews over two sessions. Plus, DH spent 20-30 minutes and the kids collectively spend another 30 minutes – also on skype. That’s a total of 3.5 hours of talk time with our family. And that doesn’t include initial information exchanged via emails prior to the first interview.

We ask tons of questions. We also proactively share a lot of information as I’ve found that most AP’s are either too nervous to ask the tough questions or don’t know the questions to ask (in other words, the questions I would ask if I were interviewing for an AP position). We also verbally cover the highlights of our handbook in advance of sharing it.

Our interview process is a significant time investment, but, compared to the hassle of a rematch situation, it’s trivial. Not every candidate gets the 3.5 hour treatment. In the past 3 searches, we have reached the 2nd interview stage with only 3 candidates and matched with all 3. Only 3 others received the full 1-hour initial interview and those three rejected us.

Length of Interviews

Excluding the candidates that just don’t fit within ten minutes:

How much total time do you typically spend in verbal (phone/skype/in-person) interviews with prospective APs?

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Duration of Process

Considering the time between your 1st email exchange to acceptance of match for the au pairs to whom you have extended offers…

Over how long a period does your interaction with an AP last?

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Prior to the most recent search, I decided that we would not hire anyone we were unable to Skype with. I wonder, though, to what extent this limits our pool and was curious to know how many candidates have access to Skype.

Did you use skype when interviewing your most recent AP?

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Since I have a bit of an analytical, process-improvement mindset, I’m interesting to learn how the interview processes and timing that our family uses compares to processes of other Host Families. I look forward to your comments.


And a few more questions…

Which Host Parents interview the Au Pair Candidate?

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If your Children talk, do they interview the Au Pair candidate (and have a say)?

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Amelie ex au pair May 15, 2011 at 7:44 pm

I only spoke with my HM, over e-mail and telephone. One the telephone, we spent about 40 minutes. I knew from the time I saw their app it was the right family for me (nothing to do with perks or amount of work…), and when I talked to my host mother on the phone, I was sure I wanted to live with them… I was really happy when she decided to match with me, and we had a great year.

I’m just saying… Although I agree that we should ask as many question as we can, and make sure that everything is clear between the au pair and the HF, I think that if you didn’t have a good impression or didn’t feel the “click” from the beggining, it won’t change no matter how long you Skype…

Oh, I almost forgot! I also spoke to the current au pair for 10-15 minutes before the match… I guess it was very decisive because my HM really trusted her. I also spoke to the girl who came after me and shared thoughts with my HM, and I know she took it into account… Is letting the current and prospective au pairs talk included in your selection process, Busy Mom?

cv harquail May 16, 2011 at 8:59 am

Whether or not to include the outgoing AP is the subject of an upcoming post ;-)

Taking a Computer Lunch May 15, 2011 at 8:45 pm

Because The Camel has special needs, we do extensive email communication with candidates prior to setting up a telephone interview. We rarely interview “special needs willing” candidates who have no “special needs experience” (although few have experience with children like The Camel, and that’s okay). We make it very clear that au pairs that live with us must diaper, bath, dress, and feed an adolescent. The Camel is very good at weeding out the good-time gals from those who have a serious commitment to children.

From there, DH and I attempt to interview 5-6 candidates in order to make the best match. It makes it very hard for the first candidate to have a telephone interview – she may have to wait up to a month for our decision. During that time some candidates match with other families, and that’s okay. Because the majority of our potential candidates live in Europe, we have pretty limited times to call them – Saturdays and Sundays. We have risen as early as 4:00 am to make calls, and some candidates have started interviews as late as 10:00 pm.

We follow up telephone conversations with emails until we make our decision. Our process often takes up to a month, during which time we have to play games to keep our favorite candidates who have not matched in our queue (our agency has made this easier to do on our own over time).

It’s much easier than when we first started, and the applications of potential candidates were sent to our home by FEDEX with a mandated 48-hour slot to call the agency and say we wanted to interview, at which time we were given contact information by telephone!

Steff May 16, 2011 at 12:05 am

I spoke with my hostfamily twice (plus many many emails). Both times both parents making me the interview. The first time it was on the phone (give or take 45min) and the second one it was on Skype (1hour or so we spoke then). I liked that interview better because I certainly wasn’t as nervous as I was the day before when we talked on the phone, plus, actually getting to *see* the person who is interviewing you is quite great. I for one loved actually getting a sense of who my hostparents were; if they laughed, joked, or were more serious and things like that. Plus, sometimes you also get to meet your hostchildren like that and that was just awesome :D

Throughout the matching process we emailed each other constantly too; asking more questions or getting more detailed answers to questions Ive asked on the phone or while Skyping. I was fairly new to actually using Skype to communicate this year, but I have to say it really is a great tool for both parts to get a better match.

Matching process with them lasted around 5 to 6 days since I got the match in my account, until the day they “asked” me to be their AP (It totally was a no-brainer for me hehe) – I’m not sure however how many girls before me did my hostfamily interview…I bet the process was longer for them…


Should be working May 16, 2011 at 3:46 am

I’m surprised at how many HPs match with less than 3 hrs of interviewing and over just a few days. But maybe more experienced HPs also know more quickly what they are looking for and thus don’t need as much interview time. It is true that I don’t necessarily learn that much more about a candidate between the first and the fourth hour of interviewing (over several phone calls/skypes) but I just want the chance for her to say or do something that clues me in to a bad vibe, a weird story, an annoying behavioral characteristic, or anything that would exclude her.

We are awaiting our 3rd AP and I’m hoping that my judgment has been good this time and that if we do this again I’ll be able to be a bit more efficient in screening.

CO Host Mom May 16, 2011 at 9:05 am

I answered 1 to 2 hours, and that is actual Skype time. That doesn’t include extensive emailing over the weeks before and after the interview. Even though we don’t spend as much time on Skype, we do spend a lot of time corresponding via email and take several weeks to choose a candidate.

Through email, I’m able to weed out a lot of candidates – not enough driving experience, written English is too poor, they ask the questions of doom, things like that.

cv May 17, 2011 at 2:27 pm

What are “questions of doom”? They sound worthy of their own post!

AliMom May 16, 2011 at 5:03 am

I must admit I am one of the ones who ticked the “1 hour or less” choice. We have just matched with our next au pair and it was the first time we used skype. We are not in the USA so the process is a bit different. I selected six candidates from the list provided by our agency. They then sent me the very extensive application pack from each including reference checks, interview notes from their home country etc. We chose three to interview and then skyped with them for about an hour. I asked them questions for about thirty minutes, my husband for about ten minutes and then our current au pair talked for a futher twenty minutes. I know this will probably seem ridiculous to those with more rigorous interview techniques but I honestly could not think of much more to ask as so much was in the application. I am also a big fan of “gut feel” and felt certain which one was right, but maybe I will live to regret it! I have skyped again with our chosen au pair once she has accepted the role and my children (who are 3 and 5) chatted with her too.

Taking a Computer Lunch May 16, 2011 at 7:06 am

We, too, review the applications, which include a letter to the HF, education background and certificates, work history, health, our agency’s in-person interview write-up and application review, and references. Although the application is filled out in English, we have found that reading and writing are easier skills to acquire than listening and speaking, so we want the candidate to tell us over the phone (an extremely difficult skill – there are no non-verbal queues) in English about her education and work experience.

I am keenly aware that my dear Camel does a lot of weeding for me, just by her very existence (but I do share a YouTube video of the first week she walked so candidates have an idea of her spunk and spark).

Daisy May 16, 2011 at 8:12 am

We are about 5 months into a wonderful match with our first au pair, and already hoping she wants to stay a second year. I suppose we land on the side of lengthy interviews; we extensively reviewed applications, emailed first with candidates, then arranged a phone call or Skype with those we wanted to pursue further. We ultimately Skyped 3 times with the candidate we selected, although the 3rd was just to offer her the job. What we seemed to have done uniquely is actually call her references (at least our LCC said she’d never had a family call the references). First, she had listed several childcare references, which I took as a good sign. I sent all 5 of them an email, asking if I could give them a quick call (again, thank goodness for Skype and its cheap phone service). I heard back from every one of them, agreeing to a call, within 48 hours. That alone was almost good enough for me since we already had a favorable impression of this au pair. I did, however, call every reference, and they all gave consistent and positive feedback. Talking with other parents of children our au pair had cared for sealed the deal for us, and we found an absolutely perfect match!

DC/MD Mom May 18, 2011 at 10:26 pm

I too have called references! Not every one all the time, and sometimes it has been too hard to reach them — but I like to be sure that they are really comfortable with the references they’ve put down, and I hope the references can provide additional information that the AP candidate is really *ready*

StephinBoston May 16, 2011 at 8:55 am

We will be welcoming AP#5 in the August, no rematches yet. Over the years I’ve improved my interviewing skills, but as I’ve mentioned before I have very stringent guidelines for my Placement manager to follow so when I do get someone to interview, I already know there are a lot of things that will work for my family. That being said, I started using Skype for the last match and I really enjoy that, I think it makes a big difference to be able to see each other’s body language.
Another important factor for me is matching early, we always match 4-6 months before we need someone, doing that I establish a few things: Au pair is a careful planner (she was ready, did all her paperwork way early) and I build a strong relationship with the au pair during those months, so when she gets here, she doesn’t feel like a stranger to any of us. Seems to have worked well so far, looking forward to another great year with another wonderful young lady!

hOstCDmom May 16, 2011 at 9:45 am

Would you be willing to share your stringent guidelines with us? I have never had luck getting my placement manager to really pre-select candidates in a meaningful or helpful way….

Mom23 May 16, 2011 at 10:59 am

We also do a lot of emailing before the call. We usually have one parent make the first call. Then both parents make the second call. Then on the third call we have the kids talk to the au pair as it gives us a chance to see how the au pair interacts with the kids. We had one au pair candidate think this was horribly “irresponsible” of us to allow a child to be a part of the process. Ultimately, it is my husband and I who make the final decision but I think it is good to have the kids feedback (especially after about 8 or 9).

CO Host Mom May 16, 2011 at 2:57 pm

We do it the same way – the kids get some input, but ultimately, we decide. Our oldest kids are 12 and 11, though, so they’re definitely old enough to give us an opinion and provide some legitimate feedback.

DarthaStewart May 16, 2011 at 11:17 am

We email repeatedly, Husband and I each call the candidate twice, the kids talk, the current au-pair (or at least one of the previous au-pairs), and possibly several previous au-pairs. With my current au-pair, I had her talk to 3 of my old au-pairs, because I was in transition, and I wanted to reassure her that we are a (mostly) sane host family. In essence I was also providing references.

That said, we do have the element of “dare to match with us”, and we scare off quite a few au-pairs before we even get to the phone, and many more once we actually talk.

Should be working May 16, 2011 at 11:23 am

Question about the “dare to match with us” approach, which I think Calif Mom also uses: does it mean you end up with strong personalities, leaders, very confident APs? Does this ever become a negative, i.e. someone with a stubborn, overconfident streak? I have wondered whether to put a more “I dare you” spin on our interviews, but I’m afraid of scaring off the gentler, sweeter AP types who may otherwise be plenty strong enough to handle what we are like, but who are turned off by the “I dare you” style. The “I dare you” seems to me to select for a strength of will and courage, but does it ever work against you in weeding out more harmonious, peaceful candidates?

Taking a Computer Lunch May 16, 2011 at 3:45 pm

Even though Calif Mom coined the term, we have that approach, too, which includes the line “if you cannot pick up a 24 kg (a little over 50 lbs) child, then she is not the girl for you.” I have found over the years, that an AP with confidence and a strong personality is a great match for me. I eat passive aggressive types for lunch. One AP stated that she didn’t want a telephone interview with us until she had had one with three other families. While that might have turned some HPs off, she was a great AP.

Quite frankly, I’d rather have an AP who can stand her ground than one who might be bullied by my children (even The Camel is capable of pushing around APs in her own way). There is always a time for sweet and gentle, but I need an AP who can firmly say, “No” or get my son to do his homework on time.

It all comes down to personality doesn’t it? Personally, I have found APs who are a little more aggressive have done better not only in my home, but in creating a group of friends, accomplishing their goals, and adjusting to life in the US.

Should be working May 17, 2011 at 3:23 am

I hear you, TaCL. Our last AP’s best qualities were her go-getter, strong-leader style. But then she was also too blunt (despite my emphasizing how sensitive my daughter is and how we try very hard not to say hurtful things when we are angry), rather stubborn (refused to change kids’ sheets every week, said every other week was enough) and her insistence on doing certain things whether or not we and kids wanted them or not.

This time we’re awaiting the arrival in August of a kind, gentle type–the personality test puts her at very low dominance, but high ‘influence’ (social skills) and very high patience. (Previous AP was high dominance, low patience). I hope the gentleness is not a marker for wimpiness. But my daughter really needs someone this time around who will be her sweet pal; whether the AP can handle my young, strong-willed son is another question.

Tristatemom May 17, 2011 at 11:48 am

TACL – you raise a very good point. You know your personality and what personality you are compatible with.

When I interview an AP candidate, I first look at can this person do the job. I think I have this part down because all our matches were able to perform as required. The tricky part for me is personality and how we are compatible. This is where we have failed miserably. I have had to rematch with all (2) candidates that I picked because of personality clashes. Living together is stressful and little quirks get magnified over time. Based on conversations with our current AP, who is a 2nd year and really great, my family is a bit more uptight and expects a lot from still-maturing young girls. I have not figured out how to successfully pick a candidate based on personality (but I keep my hopes up for the new AP coming this summer).

Calif Mom May 17, 2011 at 8:29 pm

My hub gets credit for dubbing it the “I Dare You to Match with Us” letter (which he made me tone down) it’s really more a description that tells it like it is with a slight gloss. Maybe more like a glaze.

I just don’t want people thinking that because of where we live we are wealthy, that they will be living in a fabulous house, that our darling, brilliant and adorable girls never fight, and that we never run out of orange juice, that the dog never poops on the carpet. We’re not, they won’t, they do, we do, and he did (thank goodness the dog walkers dealt with that one, though the Tibetan carpet is going to cost $200 to get cleaned!)

The last au pair we picked out of country–the screamer–was a strong personality. Unfortunately, she didn’t have a lot of experience or skills, or a fundamental love of kids and empathy for them. She wanted to BE a pre-teen, not guide one. So I don’t think it was her strength of personality that was her downfall.

Our rematch au pair (going extremely well, by the way!) is also a strong person. She has already contributed insights to what she thinks is going on between our girls (the fact that she has two sisters is very helpful!) and she has been able to forge strong relationships with them both. And she is calm. She is sweet. She is empathic and really, honestly, truly wants to help them discover themselves and learn to deal with the hard things in life. And that has made all the difference.

DC/MD Mom May 18, 2011 at 10:31 pm

Same here — when we were in a recent transition situation (last AP flamed out in 3 weeks and returned to home country) we used our two previous successful AP’s as our own sort of references!

Anna May 16, 2011 at 11:46 am

Having absorbed most of this blog, I was trying to use “dare to match” approach this time. We are in rematch, very traumatic story with the previous au pair. Time is also of the essense, so I lay it out on the line almost from the first conversation.
It is working against me. I actually did find quite a few rematch candidates that I thought would be great for our family, and more than capable of doing the job. All of them said “no” to me. After four really great ones, that I was already imagining meeting at the airport in a few days, I lost count… Needless to say my host mom self esteem is taking a great hit right now, making it harder and harder to talk to new candidates.

I think it is not working for me. I should go back to trying to sell our family, like any normal job interview situation works – telling about the benefits of “working for our company” (i.e. living in our house), and letting them find out the challenges once they start. Heck, might not be fair, but I don’t think au pairs give me a fair chance with the “dare” approach.

And Should Be Working, I do hear you about the risk of attracting a certain kind of candidate with this approach. While I usually do look for confident, capable, extraverted, hard working women, we did have a bad ending with one similar candidate. She was overconfident in her abilities, too self-assured, which made her inflexible, judgemental, and overestimate her capabilities. You can put it two ways – “confident, mature, knowing what she wants” can also turn out “too self assured, inflexible, judgemental” instead…

Taking a Computer Lunch May 16, 2011 at 4:10 pm

When I send out my initial email, I’m not actively discouraging candidates from rejecting us. DH and I have created a sales pitch of our own, but The Camel naturally weeds out about 4 out of 5 potential candidates (but we still manage to interview 5-6 candidates by phone, so we look at a lot of applications). My tone is gentle, with a certain amount of humor – DH and I don’t want to come off as mean-spirited, but we want to make it clear that the bulk of the AP’s time will be spent caring for The Camel.

I’ve never gone into rematch, but if I did, I imagine I’d use a completely different set of questions than those I use now and a different initial email. As someone has housed several friends of my APs who have gone into rematch, I’ve seen the gamut from liars, thieves and cheats to hard-working young women side-swiped by HF intent on breaking the rules.

Should be working May 17, 2011 at 3:24 am

And those different questions would be . . . ? :)

Taking a Computer Lunch May 17, 2011 at 9:34 pm

I would ask questions that would tease out what had happened with HF #1 that led to rematch (because in my experience if things are going well I can overlook the little things that annoy me about an AP, but if things are not every little infraction rankles). I’d ask what are the 3 most important things she had learned about America. I would want to know what courses she has taken, what places she has visited with her HF, what places she has visited with her friends. I’d want to know if she had a library card. I’d ask her what her favorite place to take her HKs was. If she celebrated Christmas or Thanksgiving with her HF, what surprised her about them. I’d want to know what hours she worked. I’d ask how many times each week she had dinner with her HF, and if it wasn’t many, then I’d want to know if they ate a family dinner or not. While none of these questions are direct, they’d give me a sense of whether this AP was a go-getter or not.

Like I said, I never went into rematch, but I did choose not to extend with one AP who did a fantastic job with The Camel and a mediocre job with the rest of us (so much so that my 3rd grader became extremely independent because he thought the AP was only for The Camel).

What surprised me the most is how few questions those family’s asked about her. Some didn’t even ask why we chose not to extend. For those who did, the only answer I gave was “She didn’t get an American driver’s license,” unless they pressed (because I had decided I wasn’t going to throw her under a bus). Few conversations lasted more than 10 minutes and only one called back with follow-up questions. Some did reveal surprise about the answers she had given them, not only about us, but other families with whom she had interviewed. In the end she extended with a family that never called us and didn’t let APs drive.

Busy Mom May 16, 2011 at 6:02 pm

I facetiously refer to our initial letter as a “dare to match,” but ours mixes humor and lots of positive info about our family with a clear statement of the requirements of our AP position. We make the position out to involve more hours and a more weekends/month than it actually does because it’s always easier to scale back than up. We make it clear that cooking for the kids 3x/week is required as are a 6:15 a.m. start time and a few household chores (occasionally emptying trash, vacuuming kitchen daily, helping with dishwasher, grocery shopping). We state that we have a curfew and that alone serves as a screening tool (what we don’t divulge is that it’s quickly lifted as soon as the AP demonstrates her reliability). We clarify that we don’t travel with our APs. To me, those are some of the job characteristics that might cause an AP to choose not to match with us and I’d prefer to find that out before I spend any time talking to the AP. We are firm on these requirements. No matter how much we like an AP, she still has to cook & load the dishwasher…

We have the advantages of being in a desirable geographic location, having older kids so there’s little physical care involved (though for some APs, this is a minus), and providing access to a car (we don’t state until we’re well into the process that we have a 3rd car).

It’s hard not to take rejections personally, particularly after you’ve invested time and energy into speaking with a person. But, I remind myself that it’s better to know after a chat or two than after a month of cohabitation.

Once we move into “interview” mode, our discusions are 1/3 questions for the AP, 1/3 more details about the position and 1/3 sales pitch. So, I guess what I’m trying to say is know what you want and what you need and clearly communicate your requirements (and communicate them multiple times and in multiple ways during the process – verbally & in writing). If there are unique things about your family that you think might turn off an AP, state them up front. If this scares some APs away, so be it.

However, keep in mind that you do need to present the positives about your family early in the process as well. Figure out your selling points and emphasize them. If you have more turn offs than turn ons, make your initial letter friendly and approachable. Include pictures to balance the message, etc.

With our successful hires, I’ve known in the first 15 minutes of our skype sessions that she was the AP for us. But, we make sure to review the full set of job requirements to make sure we don’t hit any snags. One lovely candidate rejected us because taking classes between 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. didn’t fit with her view of an educational exchange experience. Good to know after investing in only a 1.5 hour skype session, because we can’t change that. Another said that we “didn’t need her enough.” Probably true – she would find little kids more rewarding. We would not have elicted those responses without reviewing detailed job requirements.

As they say, the devil is in the details.

Good luck.

Calif Mom May 17, 2011 at 8:35 pm

Exactly. humor is key.

In rematch, you need to talk about why they are in rematch, and a bit about why you are, too. You are both bruised, and need to start any future relationship with honesty and recognition of what you need in the next “job”.

I’m still a huge believer in meeting rematch au pairs in person. This last experience–realizing how happy our new au pair is and how much less stressed I am, knowing that she’s got my girls in the afternoons–we would not have matched with her if we hadn’t driven 5 hours to meet her for a meal. Seriously. She and I connected, and though she had another offer from a family in an extremely wealthy zip code, she turned them down.

When we went through this a month or whenever it was ago, we did use a different approach. You sort of condense a normal matching conversation into a few essential emails.

D2Dad May 16, 2011 at 12:41 pm

Regarding the Skype question, we have doubts about matching with an Aupair if she and her family do not have access to Skype. It is such a great resouce once she/he is in the states to stay in touch. The flimsy blue Areopost that I had to rely on 30 years ago when I did my year abroad seems like a stoneage form of communication in comparison.

CO Host Mom May 16, 2011 at 3:01 pm

We won’t interview an au pair that does not arrange to talk on Skype. In fact, it shows me a degree of resourcefulness when an AP says “I don’t have Skype, but I’ll make arrangements” – they use a friend’s, family member’s, download it, or whatever…but the ones that are willing to make it happen if they don’t have it definitely earn a few points with me.

I have heard that there are some countries where Skype is blocked. No idea if that is true. So far, that hasn’t been the reason anyone has given us for not being able to use it. If that was the case, I’d do a phone interview.

NJ Host Mom May 16, 2011 at 8:22 pm

I agree that I would never match with an au pair that we could not Skype with during the interview process. Nothing compares to being able to see who you are communicating with for me in regard to reading sincerity, and I need to feel that connection with someone who is going to be living in our house for a year.
And yes, it is an amazing tool for the au pair to keep in touch with family and friends at home if possible, which helps to eleviate homesickness, etc.
Our latest match actually made arrangments to go to her local agency’s office when we requested a Skype interview.

CA mom to twins May 16, 2011 at 4:27 pm

Luckily, my sister lives in the small country where we select our au pair from, so she is able to meet the candidate in person and see how the au pair interacts with her daughter who is about the same age as my twins. Even with that feedback, I still have multiple Skype sessions, phone calls and emails just so we can be comfortable with the au pair and she can be with us.

Au Pair mama May 16, 2011 at 4:52 pm

We took quite a while to interview, several days, separate interviews via skype with myself and DH, emails, called references etc….for 3 out of about 11 candidates. Then, our chosen au pair’s visa was denied twice by the embassy in Columbia. I then conducted a FRANTIC search without Skype for an au pair in rematch willing to meet our schedule (we were relocating about 200 miles away and had limited options for child care during that process). I reached out to several candidates and seriously interviewed 2. Via phone. Quickly. I made DH talk to the final candidate once. Then we went with her…she’s been great! It was great to have somebody who had gotten over the initial culture shock and had been driving in the US already for several months. I will take my time when we do it again, but sometimes the situation dictates different interviewing strategies!

PA AP mom May 16, 2011 at 8:18 pm

Our process is this:

1. Review application placed in our account by placement manager. If we like the application, I have an introductory letter which tells about our family and then asks a bajillion questions. I email them the questions.

2. If they respond, which only about 2/3 do, then I review the answers. If the answers aren’t what we are looking forward, we release them.

3. If the answers are what we are looking for, we send a few more emails, some pictures, etc.

4. If the applicant is interested, then we share our host family handbook. After they have had the chance to read the handbook and ask questions, we make a phone call.

5. First phone call is usually me (HM) only and lasts about 20 minutes. then we arrange a second call.

6. The second call includes HD, kids and our current au pair.

7. After the second call we either match with them or release them.

8. If we match, we keep up regular emailing until her arrival.

AuPairToBeFromGermany May 17, 2011 at 8:37 am

My HostFamily and I had contact over two month before we “finaled”, we mailed almost dayly, skyped twice and became friends on facebook (before we finaled). My HostMom once send me a video of the kids and parts of the house, and I send her a couple of videos too. Whenever I catch her on skype we chat for a few min. I am really glad that we’ve that much contact, I know over two month before the Final isn’t typical, but that the Family waited for my account that long (I met them on GreatAuPair.com) just proved me that they are the right match for me. I wouldn’t feel as comfortable as I do, if I only would have mailed twice and would have had less contact. And that we still have quite much contact, even tho that my hostmom is very busy makes me really happy too.
I can only speak about me and my oppinion, but for me it was very important from the beginning that I would have much contact with my HostFamily before the Final and after as well :)

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