By Samantha Enright, Placement Coordinator at InterExchange Au Pair USA
Interviewing your potential au pair is one of, if not the most, important parts of the matching process. You can find more information about asking the right interview questions HERE.
Here are some additional tips to help you get the most out of your interviews:
Ask Open-Ended Questions
Asking open-ended questions allows you to get a better sense of the au pair's English level, including their listening comprehension and speaking ability. Open-ended questions also allow more room for you to get to know the au pair and for other information that you may not have thought to ask about to come up in the conversation.
Ask Multiple Questions About the Same Topic
For example, if an au pair's driving experience is very important to you, instead of just asking "How long have you been driving?" and "Do you feel comfortable driving with children?" you can try asking a series of questions:
- Do you have your own car? If not, whose car do you use?
- How often do you drive?
- What types of roads do you drive on?
- What types of cars have you driven?
- Have you driven with children in the car?
- What types of weather conditions have you driven in?
- Are you going to be comfortable ____ (driving an SUV, driving the kids to school everyday, etc.)?
Ask Questions About Past Behavior
How an au pair has handled a situation in the past is likely predictive of how he or she will behave in the future.
Example: "Has there ever been a time when you had a conflict with one of your employers? How did you resolve the situation?"
Ask Scenario-Based Questions
Scenario-based or situational questions present the au pair with a potential situation that could come up during their program year and assess how the au pair would handle that situation.
Example: "One of your responsibilities will be to get the children ready for school in the morning. What would you do if one morning Johnny refused to get dressed for school?"
Be Clear About Your Expectations
Let the au pair know what your expectations are in terms of their schedule, what their responsibilities will be, what the house rules are, etc.
- Remember that your au pair's schedule must follow program regulations and allow the au pair to attend classes and cluster meetings.
Ask the Au Pair if He or She Has Any Questions
Pay attention to what kinds of questions the au pair asks, as sometimes questions can be even more telling than answers (for example, if every question is about vacations and local hotspots and the au pair never asks about the children, this is probably a red flag!)
And of course, be honest. The match has to be a good fit for both you and the au pair for you to have a truly successful year together.
Follow up! If you think of a follow-up question or two (or ten) after the interview, email the au pair or schedule another interview to ask your questions!
Communication is always the key to best host family and au pair relationships!