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

by cv harquail on May 16, 2011

It’s critical to send potential au pair candidates some information about your family before you call them.

You want offer enough information about your family so that you and the prospective au pair can tell easily whether it’s worth pursuing a potential match.

In addition to sorting out potential mismatches on objective criteria like number of kids, location, and so on, sending your information can help to give an au pair a sense of your personality and your family’s values.

Information Style

Some folks like to send their information as a test, using the “I Dare You To Match With Us”, while other families like to send a very appealing (if limited) picture in order to entice a candidate’s interest.

Based on the conversation on the previous post, where this issue came up on its own, I’ve set up a separate post: Your Au Pair Selection Process: What’s your “Information Style”? (poll). (I’ll eventually transfer the comments related to style from the interview post to the style post.)

[Note: Not every Agency sends the Host Family letter to au pair candidates at the same point as they send the candidate’s information to the Host Family. Thus, ‘best practice’ for a Host family is, I think, to send the Family Letter with the initial email contact.]

How many emails do you typically exchange before speaking with the au pair?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

[Note: Not every Agency sends the Host Family letter to au pair candidates at the same point as they send the candidate’s information to the Host Family. Thus, ‘best practice’ for a Host family is, I think, to send the Family Letter with the initial email contact.]

What information do you include in your initial email to the au pair?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...


If you send your Handbook via email to prospective Au Pairs, how much do you send?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...


What information does your family letter include?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...




AliMom May 16, 2011 at 9:28 pm

We do have a car available for au pair use exclusively but I do not state this during the interview process, only that they will have access to a car. We also never come close to using the maximum hours but again, I do not mention this during matching so we don’t appeal for the wrong reasons.

Taking a Computer Lunch May 16, 2011 at 10:36 pm

While the introductory email is similar to the HF letter, it is not the same. Our agency uses the HF letter as a guideline to pre-select candidates for us, and so we lay out information that is easiest for them to understand. It doesn’t provide a schedule or discuss car access, because that’s not relevant to our agency.

In our introductory email, we lay out information differently – we put The Camel up front. That way, candidates who are not interested know immediately. Then, we describe our typically developing child, the work schedule and duties. We introduce ourselves, our community, and what we have to offer.

Our HF letter, photographs and additional documentation is released to the candidates when we signal to the agency that we are interested in a telephone interview. Still, many candidates do not get them, and request photographs separately.

As I stated before, about 1 in 5 candidates responds positively to our introductory email. Of those who don’t, about 50% respond and say no and about 50% never respond. We give about 4 days before we drop the non-responders from our queue.

Should be working May 17, 2011 at 3:33 am

Wow, I’m surprised at the small proportion of responders sending the Whole Handbook. It’s true that the AP maybe doesn’t need to see all my lists of things regarding what kids eat and so forth, but sending The Whole Thing (28pp) shows them all kinds of little things that might matter to them and I wouldn’t otherwise know it–like our no-incense rule, or no-texting-while-being-in-charge-of-kids rule. I figure the Whole Thing is part of the education the AP gets in matching. It also shows the AP that I’m a list-maker with strong preferences for things being done my way, which she deserves to know.

Taking a Computer Lunch May 17, 2011 at 8:47 pm

I don’t send out the handbook, because mine has private medical information about The Camel which is rather scarier than actually caring for her. If the candidate requests, I send out the portion that is relevant to our guidelines for AP behavior. My guess, however, is that candidates quiz the current AP about what it is like to live with us.

Tristatemom May 17, 2011 at 11:36 am


StephinBoston May 17, 2011 at 1:47 pm

Agreed about the handbook, I’m all about full disclosure. i tell them I’m putting the cards on the table because I don’t want them to be surprised and I also tell them that I expect the same in return. I want to understand who she is before she comes and lives with us and I think she deserves the same from us.

Busy Mom May 18, 2011 at 6:01 pm

Me too. We’re of the “no surprises” school, so the whole handbook is sent. Like Should Be Working, I am a planner and list maker (okay, so perhaps a bit compulsive about it), so the handbook includes samples of all my weekly planning “lists” and tools: e.g., a sample weekly schedule, weekly Google Calendar, weekly “to do” list,etc. It also includes vacation dates where known.

emmiejane May 17, 2011 at 1:47 pm

We are first time hosts. We did match with a great au pair and used lots of the good advice on this site to interview and select. We are with Cultural Care, and our placement coordinator encouraged us to go ahead and call the candidates cold without emailing first. I did use this method-CC has a free connection, so from that perspective it was easy. I ruled out tons of people this way-many of them because of English skills. It allowed me a lot of quick nos. We were looking to match with someone from South or Central America, so the time change was not a problem, which did help with this approach. If I liked them on the initial call, then I set up a time to skype, and we went from there. We conducted two skype interviews and exchanged multiple calls and emails. I did send our handbook in advance between the first and second interview, so we could go over it in detail with the candidate. I wanted to post because I notice that everyone pretty much does email first, and I thought the initial call worked well. It probably is more relevant with the Cultural Care model because you only have 3 candidates in the queue, so sending out a bunch of emails is not really an option, and you want to say a yay or nay quickly in terms of whether or not you want the person to stay in your queue. I found I was able to quickly rule people out and get new people by simply placing a quick call to those with applications that I thought looked decent and seeing if the very basics (i.e. can understand English over the phone, don’t want school aged kids-mine are young) were in place.

Europair May 19, 2011 at 10:12 am

Like used to be an AP, if a host family had done this to me, I also would not have matched with them. It shows an utter lack of respect for the Au Pair’s time and personal space, which would lead me to believe that that sort of disrespect would continue within the home.

Though certain changes need to be made in the Au Pair interview process (as opposed to general interviews), it’s always a good standard to compare your tactics to those employed by any other company. Would you, as a general employer, feel comfortable calling a potential employee at their home, out of the blue for an interview? If so, you’d weed out most of your candidates, simply because most people would be unavailable or unprepared. If you aren’t willing to give your Au Pair the time to properly prepare for an interview or allow her to choose a time that works within her schedule, it’s likely that you wouldn’t be willing to adjust anything else to suit the Au Pair’s needs.

Anna May 19, 2011 at 1:03 pm

If the au pair puts her home phone number on the application, together with the best time to call, it is perfectly reasonable to call her home.
At least that’s the way it was done before email and internet access was so widely available everywhere, just a few years ago!

If I send my resume to an employer, with my phone number on it, yes, I would expect them to call me at least for an initial screening interview without emailing first.

The au pair sends her “resume” (i.e. application) for host families to see, with her contact information on it, I don’t see anything wrong with calling first. Not in all countries and not in all homes there is internet access, but phones are much more common.

hOstCDmom May 19, 2011 at 1:34 pm

I agree with Europair, and I’m a HP. I think an initial email, or phone call, can be used to *set up time for an interview*, but not to call the AP out of the blue and expect to have anything more than an introductory conversation indicating a wish to speak in the next day or so.

Personally, I find email an easier way to do this, as it avoids getting the AP’s family who may not speak English, or catching the AP completely off guard (which I think is unfair), or calling the AP on her mobile only to get a bad connection etc.

So, if someone called the AP without notice, I think the conversation should be something like:

“We reviewed your application and would like to speak with you. Let’s set up a time to talk. If you don’t have your calendar with you at the moment, could you email me later in the day and suggest some times that we can speak”

So, I while agree with Anna to a certain extent, i.e. that it is OK to call an AP without emailing first, I would see such a call as the equivalent of an initial email being sent in order to set up future contact.

Taking a Computer Lunch May 19, 2011 at 5:11 pm

In the old days we had to cold call AP candidates – we had no choice. I think if a HF finds it a useful screening tool, then fine – an AP who finds it abrasive probably wouldn’t be a good match for that particular family.

Me, I would never cold call again – imagine trying to explain The Camel for an AP unprepared to hear technical words with which she is not familiar! (The one AP candidate that we cold called was a pediatric intensive care nurse – so she was familiar with the vocabulary we used – thank goodness.) I prefer to use email – it permits candidates time to look up unfamiliar words, to digest the information that is presented to them, and make an informed decision. These days every AP application that I have seen has email (and more than one that I interviewed did not live in a house with a land line!).

Europair May 19, 2011 at 9:02 pm

Exactly, hOstCDmom. I would expect an employer to call to schedule an interview, but I think most people would be caught off guard if someone expected them to be prepared for an interview at a moment’s notice. Every general interview I have had has been arranged through a series of emails or phone calls, as employers cannot expect applicants to be available at all times. With Skype, scheduling is even more important, as applicants should have the time to dress appropriately and set up a space that is clutter and interruption free.

Anna, I understand what you are saying, but interestingly enough, the millennial generation is increasingly less likely to use actual phone calls as their primary mode of communication. I’m not sure what CV’s rules are about links, but here’s a good one describing the anti-phone epidemic:

Most people in their teens and twenties relay basic information through texts or the internet, so the idea of getting a phone call out of the blue is startling to many. I understand that cold calling can be a great tool to see whether the applicant can think on her feet, but as we move more and more into new technological territory, business etiquette shifts as well.

TACL, I also don’t live in a house with a landline. In college, most of us found it funny that there were provisions to set up landlines in our rooms, since it made much more sense to use a cellphone. :)

Taking a Computer Lunch May 19, 2011 at 9:33 pm

BTW, it’s not just for “millenials” – my sister who works in a hospital only texts to her detective husband – for them it’s just the new etiquette – not interrupting each other during a potentially stressful time for what would seem like minutia for the one handling a crisis. I work away from my own desk, but on a computer, so when I’m at work the people who know me best and want an immediate response email me. For me, the telephone requires minutes of etiquette when at times an OK suffices as an email reply.

emmiejane May 20, 2011 at 10:22 am

Thanks for all of the interesting comments. I really appreciate the feedback. I’m going to think further about whether or not it is unfair. I have had a potential job call in response to a resume, ask a few questions and schedule a follow-up. Frankly, I was just happy to be considered for the job and excited to get the call. It honestly never occured to me that this could be considered unfair.

The initial call lasts only a few minutes. They often have already seen our family in their box. I tell them a little bit about us and ask why they want to be an au pair. If I feel like there is potential I schedule a follow-up. If they are not available at the moment I call, I ask when should I call back. That was actually the case with our au pair; she was about to go into class, so I called back in the timeframe she requested.

One of the challenges is that CC only allows the application to stay in your box for 36 hours. In cases where I was having trouble reaching the candidate by phone, I did send an email, but at times it took a day or two to respond. This doesn’t really work with the CC approach. I don’t blame the candidates, as at least two that I talked to did not have internet access at home.

What I like about it, is that I can get a sense of the language proficiency fairly quickly, which is the main thing that I am looking for in the initial call. CC had many candidates from Latin American countries that I really struggled to communicate with over the phone. Granted, phone is the most difficult, but for me it is important that basic information can be communicated by phone (i.e. emergencies). Additionally, I do like when people can think on their feet to get through a basic call.

However, I will definitely be thinking about my approach and whether or not it is reasonable based on these comments. Happily, it looks like our au pair is going to be extending for an additional 6 months, so I can put off the process a bit longer.

used to be an AP May 18, 2011 at 1:08 pm

I’d be careful with the CC approach. What if a parent or sibling who doesn’t understand or speak English answered the phone? If my HF had used that approach, I wouldn’t have matched with them, because it is likely that my mum would have just hung up the phone and told me about only hours later.

massaupairmom May 18, 2011 at 2:35 pm

Our initial email doesn’t say much beyond, “Hi, We read your profile and you seem like you could be a good fit with our family. After reading our profile, please let me know if you’d like to talk”. Applicants have access to our host family letter, photos, and basic biographical information about us. Some applicants do not respond, which is fine. I don’t like to waste time on a lenghty email to someone who wants fewer children, a different locale, etc.

Regarding the host family letter, another interesting data point is how many people discuss their religious practices in their letter. I have found that, although we would be supportive of an au pair who wanted to attend religious services while here, the fact that we don’t seems to weed out those for whom that is important. I am considering adding our religous practices to our host family letter as a way of further eliminating those candidates who wouldn’t want to match with us for that reason early on.

CO Host Mom May 18, 2011 at 5:03 pm

Our agency lists on the AP application the level of involvement for religion for the au pair – none, occasionally or weekly. I don’t contact anyone who checks “weekly”. We are atheist, and although I know there may be an au pair who attends church regularly that would still be willing to not bring her religion in to our home, I’m not going to take that chance.

Our agency doesn’t use a host family letter, but I do tell au pairs relatively soon that we are atheist. So far, it doesn’t seem as though it has screened out many candidates. Maybe it does, and they are giving me other excuses – not wanting to take care of three kids, not wanting to go to Colorado, etc…. But no one has ever rejected us on the basis of religion (or lack thereof).

Taking a Computer Lunch May 18, 2011 at 9:06 pm

We reveal our religion to weed out potential ill will directed at people of our faith. It has not been a problem. Ironically, it’s been more of a problem with candidates who have the same faith as we, but are more observant. We are not worried about APs who do not share our faith – our child is old enough to have a sense of self.

FutureAuPair July 21, 2011 at 1:54 pm

I’ve had two host family interviews so far and the way it works in the agency I’m going with is that the agency sends out my application to suitable families and they read about me and then if they decide they want to talk to me they email back to the agency whom in turn get in touch with me. And from there it’s up to me to email the family and start communcating.

I recently had an interview with a family that originally required a driver’s license (in the uk) and I don’t have one but they were fine with it and still interviewed me. It went extremely well and I found the host-mum had me as her favorite candidate but in the end her husband got the last word and basically said they ought to pick someone who can drive whilst the mum had no problem with it. From my point of view it might’ve been better if they in the end were clearer about the driving issue. But oh well, not much to do about it :) the search goes on and I have another family to talk to.

Returning HM January 7, 2012 at 12:26 pm

I’m curious how soon before desired arrival date do other HMs out here begin their selection process for their next AP? We will be looking for a new AP to arrive in August. We may stay in the Educare program or may go back to the regular pool, depending on candidates. I should add that it takes me a very long time to match: our successful APs are ones whom I spent more than 2 weeks skyping with and interviewing. So I am a little anxious about getting going on this but don’t want to start too soon (nor to push away the remaining months with our current wonderful AP).

When do others out here start to put out feelers? And do you just go through your agency or do you go on greataupair as well? Thank you.

Should be working January 7, 2012 at 1:41 pm

I am looking for August and have already started reviewing applicants. There aren’t that many to review but that’s ok–I found a fabulous AP last time around in December before an August start date.

I stick with the agency. Greataupair has a lot of frauds, weirdos and undecided people. It’s tempting to go there, but I think it is inefficient and the agency is ultimately my mediator.

Taking a Computer Lunch January 8, 2012 at 10:36 am

I have a special needs child (which probably puts me in an equally small pool as Educare families) and I don’t start looking until the end of April – want to give my wonderful AP an opportunity to extend (her paperwork usually arrives in the middle of April) before I start looking at applications. It generally takes me a month to match, DH and I usually interview 5-6 candidates before we make our selection. I just go through our agency (APIA) which has a large pool of candidates.

AFHostMom January 8, 2012 at 4:14 pm

We started looking in August for a january match–after current AP told us she wanted to switch to a F1 visa and didn’t want to extend. We interviewed 3 candidates this time. I weed a LOT of candidates out from their essays, pictures, and ‘net footprint.
I tend to only speak by Skype to candidates once or twice before matching (with the exception of AP1 who we matched with after meeting, and spent a lot of time with, and it didn’t work out). We’ll see if that works out with the AP arriving next week.

ReturnAupair January 8, 2012 at 9:19 am

Iam currently looking for a family. I want to arrive in July or August. My Application is since December online (APIA). Iam always wondering, why some family make theire desicion in 1 or 2 weeks. I applyied early so i can take my time to get to know the family and make the right desicion. I also having my own apartment and i need some an earlier match to orgenize everything. So i think if a family starts early, they can interview a lot of aupairs and also find the right one for their family.
I was already once AuPair in America , when i was 18 years and now i know how important it is to really make the right desicion. Because only the right family is the way to have a succesfull year.

Their where already a couple of familys who contactet me, but all of them needed somebody immediately.

NoVA Host Mom January 9, 2012 at 10:09 pm

With APIA, we as HF don’t often have access to the database for AP applicants until about 3 months before the end of the current contract. For us, our previous contract was up the first week of February. We were looking for someone to come the end of January (due to no arrival date matching the one we had been using for a couple of years). I was able to start hunting the database in early November. It might be sooner, but that’s usually when I get the reminder to update the essay and family info, etc. Also, when we were in rematch last month, the in-county options who met our needs were few and showed up rather suddenly, so i had to continue interviewing outside of the country (knowing that getting a Visa over Christmas was going to be a disaster).

If you are looking for a family in July or August, then they are only 6 months into their current year and may not even know yet if they want to rematch with their current AP, much less have updated their application/family information with the agency. You are in the database, and that is great, but understand that since you are in there, it is likely very little way for any family to know you are not interested in matching for another 4-5 months (unless it is in your application or essay). So, you will get contacted by HFs looking for APs.

Good luck.

Busy Mom January 11, 2012 at 11:26 am

NoVA Host Mom – I used both APC and APIA last search and had access to both databases in March for an August arrival. I’ve never hired through APIA, but sign up with them every year to expand my choices. (they’re always running a free registration promo)

Taking a Computer Lunch January 11, 2012 at 12:33 pm

That’s not true about APIA. Your LCC and your contact in Stamford you get you set up earlier than 3 months out. Once your family docs are loaded, you should have no problem looking at candidates. I tend to start looking at the end of April for an end of August arrival. It seems to be a good time, because many young woman who are finishing programs in the late spring or early summer are trying to decide what to do with their lives.

NoVA Host Mom January 11, 2012 at 4:32 pm

Now I know I need to set a calendar alert for updating our application 6 months out! Thanks y’all. Unfortunately we just became an early January family, with this last rematch, so it will be nice to have more time to search the applications. I hate trying to set up interviews while dealing with Thanksgiving.

AFHostMom January 11, 2012 at 8:38 pm

We’re also with APIA and were able to review in August. Unfortunately we didn’t match until November because we waffled about whether to continue with APs or switch to another kind of childcare. I still feel behind the curve.

Taking a Computer Lunch January 11, 2012 at 9:23 pm

We had a semi-similar issue last year, when my special needs child had major surgery in early May (we wanted a late-August arrival). We started our interviews early in April and managed to match shortly before the surgery (and good thing – our child was on life support for a week – not a good time to make important decisions). DH and I have been mapping out matching schedules for several years – now that our kids are school-age, our lives are busier than ever and it’s harder to squeeze in interview times that don’t require candidates to stay up all night!

Pokermom January 8, 2012 at 4:35 pm

Hi all! I am new to the site, and have been reading avidly for several weeks while we are gearing up for our first AP! Here’s my situation and question… we have emailed a couple girls, and had one phone interview so far. We do have two boys with very high functioning autism and a girl who has some medical needs, so of course that has narrowed the pool down significantly. (I have gleaned a lot from this blog on presenting that, and being a “dare to match” style thank you all!) The girl who is our frontrunner is open to this and appears to be a very mature, level headed, thorough person, but I am finding it odd that she has very few questions for me. She has looked stuff up on autism and we discussed it in our phone interview and she says she has a very clear picture of who they are and that we’ve given her a great picture of our life here. But no questions about what my husband and I do for a living, or for fun, or about the area, nothing…. is that just a cultural thing to not ask questions or is it a sign of disinterest in us or? I don’t need her to be my BFF but I do need to have someone who feels comfortable to interact with me since I am home most of the time (going to school and managing the herd) Any thoughts?

anonamomma January 8, 2012 at 5:00 pm

Perhaps turn it around – ask her what she would like to do during her free time and how she would spend it – what does she generally do at home during the weekends.

It may be that both sides have been so focused on making sure she is up to the challenge that tunnel vision has set in.

You might want to send her some links to some of the activities in your area and then ask probing questions to ensure that she looked some or at least one of them up.

While she does sound wonderful – and I’m sure she is – you need to ensure that she will be able to build her own life (outside of your family) – this means having interests and developing friendships. The last thing any family needs is a AP who doesn’t leave the house.

Good luck – let us know how you get on.

Pokermom January 8, 2012 at 5:53 pm

Thanks for the advice! We have asked her what she likes to do, and what classes she may be interested in taking. She didn’t really have any idea, said she wanted to see what was offered. (I linked all the local colleges on our application, as well as links to our area) She also said she needs some alone time to recharge so she may be more of a homebody, which hubby and I are actually fine with. I just had the concern that her lack of questions may signal that she isn’t terribly interested in us personally and I could see where that may be a potential problem down the road. I will keep you updated!

HRHM January 8, 2012 at 7:12 pm

I think my concern would be that she is just looking for A MATCH, ANY MATCH and that’s where her lack of curiosity comes from. In my experience, there is a subset of APs who are just looking to get to the US and figure they’ll work out the details (ie rematch as needed) once they get here. Just my 2 cents.

Pokermom January 8, 2012 at 7:59 pm

Thank you for your 2 cents! Since I’m new to this I can use all the help in how to avoid the rematch as best you can, what to look for, what are red flags or even pink flags. This is a pink flag for me, so I’m proceeding with caution. I will be looking at her reply to our “thank you for interviewing” and follow up email to see her response. Her English was excellent so I don’t think it’s a language issue. I am wondering if the type of communication (email, phone) just isn’t her thing too. I know I’m a much better communicator through writing and in person. She shared with us on the phone that she is a better writer as well. However her emails are on the shorter side… so I don’t know. Sigh. I know our children are not the most “desirable” However, I was very explicit that we have people to do the therapy type stuff with the kids, and the AP job is to give them balance with play and fun. My boys are both in regular classes, one is in the accelerated program, and they are very verbal and honestly close enough to losing their diagnosis that I probably could have just called them ADHD. (Go therapy!) But, I believe in being honest for those times where they just meltdown or get stuck, and the AP will need some training in how to deal with that or get them to switch off their obsessions and focus on homework or dinner, hahaha. We’ll see what this week brings!

Pokermom January 9, 2012 at 2:59 pm

Just an update… I haven’t heard anything back from her since our interview on Friday. No response yet to our “thanks for interviewing” email. With the time difference, I am definitely going to give it another day before completely crossing her off the list. My husband is also now thinking it is weird that she didn’t ask us anything the more he thinks about it…. In the meantime, our other candidate replied to our questions AND sent us a bunch back, almost all were about the children and she very much wants to be with our family. We are interviewing her this afternoon! Crossing fingers :)

NoVA Host Mom January 9, 2012 at 10:19 pm

As one who has been there before (not the special needs thing, but the dead zone stuff for someone who seemed so interested), REALLY do not be in such a hurry to match. Go with that nagging feeling that something is off. If it is, the reason will likely show itself after she is here with you.

For AP1, we offered match, which she declined saying she could not get out of her current employment contract in her home country. Okay, whatever, back the the hunt (but as a new HM, the stars in my eyes over the one who was getting away was a huge bummer – I had not found APM yet). Afew weeks later we get a contact from her that “Surprise”, she can get released after all and she can be our AP.

Looking back now at our painful 4 months (which was mostly a demonstration in HPs bending over backwards for an AP who arrived with a different motive), I see that the whole unavailable-available thing was likely because her friend was looking for a match and they were trying to find one near each other. Two months after we rematched, her friend also jumped her visa (dropping the HF just 24 hrs before an expensive international trip at HP-expense).

It bodes well that someone has questions of her own. Those are the AP applicants I think more seriously of (or at least learn more about – especially if the applicant’s questions are all about what they can get and what you are giving them: Princess Warning). I like to see well-rounded questions from AP applicants. Especially about things in the family essay, which is long. It shows they were paying attention.

Taking a Computer Lunch January 10, 2012 at 8:01 am

One of the questions we ask is “Do you know anyone in the United States?” For some it has been a childhood friend, for others, a friend who become an AP.” We also ask about the motivation to become an AP (after all there are plenty of short-term work visa opportunities in the US).

I agree – don’t go chasing after APs that don’t return emails. They’re not interested and unaware that it is impolite in American culture to say “No thank you,” so they say nothing. Another HM coined the term “We dare you to match with us,” but as the mother of a severely retarded, medically fragile child, that’s my strategy too. Our child has the amazing ability to weed out party girls and find lovely young women who really care about children, and as it turns out, society as a whole (AP #5 is currently in Botswana as part of her university degree).

Be patient, don’t rush a match. The right AP will come to you. Don’t let your agency rush you, control them – it’s your money, after all. I make demands on both my LCC and my contact at HQ. I keep potential matches in my queue, and juggle several APs until DH and I have had enough telephone interviews to move ahead (I suppose with this next round we should start skyping, but we have found the telephone, with it’s lack of social cues, to be a useful tool in hearing how APs comprehend English and communicate).

Pokermom January 10, 2012 at 2:45 pm

I definitely feel like our situation is an excellent weed out for the party girls and such. I have been able to get so much information on this site before we even started looking at this process! THANK YOU ALL!!!! We spent our winter break discussing our handbook, our preferences, looking at all the interview questions that people have posted etc. It truly has given us so much help. As of yesterday within an hour of my update post we had emails from both girls. Our frontrunner had been talking with her family and she was telling me how much her family fell in love with us instantly with our profile and had some questions for me and wanted to email one of our other care providers. The other girl also emailed how much she likes our family, what she admired about us, how she felt she could fit in (she also has experience with teaching children with disabilities, but is under 21 so there is a concern with that, insurance and the drinking age difference etc) and we skyped with her yesterday. Husband and I are going to have to make a tough choice, but we figured we would keep emailing and asking questions and probably talk a couple more times via skype or phone and then figure out what we want to do. Again, this site is awesome and I appreciate all the comments and help. I am proceeding with caution and will let you all know what we end up deciding!

LuvCheetos January 9, 2012 at 4:33 pm

Go with your gut! Really. If you have a red flag (or even a pink flag) move on. Especially in your situaton, I would think a rematch is very undesirable.

Tristatemom January 9, 2012 at 5:01 pm

Maybe her personality is a bit more passive. While you first and foremost need an AP to take good care of your kids, you are also living with the person and personalities matter. If it is not a good match personality-wise than little annoyances will be harder to ignore. I would move on if I were you.

Busy Mom January 11, 2012 at 11:22 am

We’ve found that 3 of our AP’s have not asked that many questions during the process. 1 was okay but not the best fit (had I skyped, i don’t think we would have matched), 2 were super. Remember that they are young and inexperienced and sometimes don’t realize what they should be asking until they get here! (Consequently, the AP we got in her extension year asked a lot of detailed questions.) We give a ton of information, pictures, talk on skype, etc. so – admittedly – all the basics are covered. But, I’ve found that many don’t even ask the basic questions about schedule, car, curfew…because it simply doesn’t occur to them to ask. I run into the same issue interviewing high school students for my Ivy League alma mater (and these are NOT passive kids) – they sometimes come with no questions because they’ve visited or looked at the website and think they know everything.

I always try to think of what I would ask and then volunteer the information and let the conversation proceed from there. I have a copy of the handbook on hand and make sure I touch on every topic.

So, I judge more on quality of conversation than on the number of questions asked.

Full disclosure – my kids are all in school so to some extent I am looking for a good employee & driver who can related to my kids. I do think it’s different than looking for an AP to care for kids who are home.

Also, we actually haven’t conducted that many interviews! AP 3 was based on introduction by AP 2 and we hit it off immediately (plus were able to meet in person). AP 4 was the very first and only interview we conducted – we logged on at exactly the right time!

NoVA Host Mom January 13, 2012 at 12:48 am

If you live in the United States, no, there is no way to legally participate in the au pair program. Au Pairs are only able to be contracted through one of the approved State Department agencies. APs must enter and work through the J-1 Visa and that is provided via those agencies (I think there are 12 right now? There is a list on the State Department web site).

NoVA Host Mom January 13, 2012 at 12:53 am
Taking a Computer Lunch January 13, 2012 at 8:14 am

My question is, why would you want to? Yes, agencies are expensive, but if anything goes wrong with the match, then you have recourse to rematch. If you take an “au pair” (I put it in quotations, because in the United States any childcare provider you hire is not an au pair unless you go through an au pair agency) without an agency, then you have no recourse – and neither does your childcare provider since she will be working illegally.

Agencies are also supposed to vet applications and confirm what the AP says is true. Some do a better job than others, that is true.

Comments on this entry are closed.

{ 1 trackback }