Background and Personality
It is very important that you and your au pair get along well on a personal level.
- Please tell me about your family. How many siblings do you have? How is your relationship with them? How is your relationship with your parents?
- Do you still live at home with your family?
- Have you ever lived on your own? If so, for how long?
- Have you ever lived in a different country? If yes, for how long?
- Do you know anyone in the U.S.?
- How do you like to keep your room at home?
- How do you handle conflict with your parents?
- Have you ever traveled without your parents or family? Where did you go?
- What are your hobbies? What do you do in your spare time?
- How would your friends describe you?
- What types of books do you like to read?
- What types of music do you like?
- Do you like to cook? What are your favorite foods to make?
- Do you have any special food requests or dietary restrictions?
- Do you have a boyfriend/girlfriend? How does he/she feel about your decision to become an au pair? How do you feel about being away from him/her for a year?
- Are you a morning person? Are you able to start your day early?
- What is your communication style? Are you more direct, or more indirect?
- How do you handle stress? Can you give us an example of a stressful situation you’ve experienced and how you handled it?
- How will you deal with homesickness while you’re an au pair?
Life as an Au Pair
The interview process is a great time to let potential candidates know your family’s rules so that there are no surprises when your au pair arrives. Talking points should include curfews, car usage, family chores, meals, vacations and a description of your home environment.
- Why do you want to be an au pair in the United States?
- What will you do with your free time, when you’re not working?
- What kind of classes do you want to take?
- What type of family do you see yourself working with?
- What do you expect from us, as a host family?
- What do you expect to learn during your year?
- What are your plans after you go back to your home country?
Household Rules and Responsibilities
- What types of household chores are expected of you in your home?
- What types of household chores would you expect to do in our home?
- Did your parents give you a curfew? How would you react if we have a curfew for you?
Child Care Experience
Share your own expectations about how you want your children cared for. Include your family’s disciplinary style, and your own expectations of how the au pair should discipline your children.
- Tell me more about your child care experience. What kind of child care experience do you have?
- How many days have you worked there (how many hours per week)?
- How old were the children?
- What were your specific responsibilities? What was the most difficult part of that job? What did you like most about that job?
- What do you like most about working with children?
- What is the most difficult part about taking care of children, in your opinion?
- Have you cared for more than one child at a time? If so, how many?
- What is your typical day like as a _______ (babysitter, nanny, teacher/tutor, camp counselor, etc.)?
- What would you do if you had some free time while caring for a child, i.e. if the child was taking a nap?
- When you last cared for a baby, toddler, or child, what types of activities did you do with them?
- Have you ever been in an emergency situation while working with children? If so, how did you handle it?
- What type of discipline did your parents use with you?
- Please tell me about a time when you had to deal with a child that was not listening to you, or misbehaving. How did you react? What did you do? (How do you discipline a child?)
Driving is a common reason why families and their au pairs have difficulties in their relationship. Each country has its own specific requirements for obtaining a license, and au pairs in other countries have different access to cars. Speed limits, road conditions and car sizes also vary greatly between the United States and the rest of the world. Driving your family’s car with your children is a big responsibility, and it is up to you to decide if a candidate’s experience meets your family’s needs.
- When did you begin driving? When did you get your driver’s license?
- What are the requirements for getting a driving license in your country?
- How often do you drive?
- What kind of roads do you typically drive on?
- Do you own your own car? Whose car do you drive?
- What kind of cars have you driven?
- Do you have experience driving in heavy traffic?
- What is the furthest distance you have ever driven?
- Are you okay driving long distances?
- What kind of bad weather have you driven in? (Snow? Heavy rain? Ice?)
- Have you ever been in a car accident? Have you ever received a driving ticket?
- Have you ever used a GPS?
- When you need to drive somewhere new, how do you get directions?
- Have you ever gotten lost while driving? If so, what did you do?
- Have you ever been on a road trip with a friend?
- What is your best driving habit?
- What is your worst driving habit?