If you are already looking for an Au Pair, you should think about whether the candidate really fits in with your family. In order to find this out, we have put together a few criteria that you can use during the selection process.
Generally, the selection criteria can be divided into two main categories:
Are you wondering which criteria you need to consider in order to find the perfect Au Pair or which candidates you can exclude from the selection process? Many families are often overwhelmed by Au Pair requests and finally struggle with choosing the right candidate. We advise Host Families not only to consider the perspective of their family, but also to put themselves in the shoes of the potential Au Pair. Do you meet his/her wishes and expectations? Do you think you can cooperate with him/her on a human and intellectual level? It is important that the Au Pair is seen as part of the family and not as a housekeeper.
First of all, you need to clarify a few general questions, e.g. the Au Pair's language skills, his/her diet or experience with pets.
Area of residence
In which area do you live and where did the Au Pair grow up? If the Au Pair comes from a big city and you live in a rural area, you should clarify with the candidate whether he/she is open to living in a different area than the one he/she is used to.
If the Au Pair has indicated a certain preferred age group of the future Host Kids because he/she has experience with it and your children are older or younger, this should not be an obstacle at first. However, it is important to clarify with the candidate before your stay whether he/she would be willing to look after toddlers, for example, if the Au Pair only has experience in working with teenagers.
On our platform, as you may have already experienced, you have the possibility to indicate if you are a single parent. This is important since not all Au Pairs are familiar with this way of life or expect too much responsibility. The supervision of the children is only shared between two, rather than three adults. Many female Au Pairs also do not feel comfortable living with a single father. If you are a single parent, please check with the Au Pair if he/she would be open to such a living arrangement.
Children with disabilities
Does your child have a physical or mental disability? Not all Au Pairs are experienced or confident in supervising children with disabilities. If this is not stated in the Au Pair's profile, you should clarify with the candidate in a personal message or conversation whether such an option is even imaginable for him/her.
The Au Pair’s gender
Depending on your children’s character and preference it could be worth considering adding a male Au Pair to your family. Talk to your kids and try to understand if it might be beneficial for them hosting a male Au Pair as a “big brother”. You should also check with the Au Pair if he/she feels comfortable with supervising children of the opposite gender only.
Does the potential Au Pair already speak your national language? If not, you should consider that in most countries at least a basic knowledge of the language is a requirement for the Au Pair stay. Furthermore, you should not assume that your new family member is suitable as a language tutor. Although having a native speaker in the home can be beneficial, this is not part of the Au Pair's duties.
Driving a car
If you need an Au Pair who has a driving license to pick up your kids or drive them to different activities, you should check in the applicants’ profiles if they actually own one. Before entering the country, the Au Pair must contact the relevant authorities and ask whether the driving license is recognised in the host country.
Driving a bicycle
As with driving a car, it is important to clarify before the stay whether your future Au Pair can ride a bicycle. If this is not the case, it may be possible to learn how to ride a bike relatively quickly in the host country.
If you have pets, it is probably an advantage to host an Au Pair who already has experience in living with pets. An Au Pair who has never had much contact with a dog, for example, might be put off because of hygienic reasons or the noise.
Many Host Families are not aware that the diet of their future Au Pair might be completely different from their own. This could lead to problems if the Au Pair eats a strictly vegan diet and the Host Family consumes meat or dairy very often. Even if the Au Pair does not have to prepare the food, you should clarify before making arrangements how the diet will work in your home.
Once the general questions mentioned before have been clarified, you can concentrate on the details. Now you have to find out whether the Au Pair fits into your family as a new member! In order to figure this out, it is important that you conduct several video calls with the candidate. If possible, you can also involve your children and ask them for their gut feeling - children are usually very sensitive about these things!
Ask yourself the following questions:
Does the candidate fit into my family in terms of character?
Do we share a similar sense of humour?
Do we share similar basic values? (e.g. authenticity, tolerance, honesty, creativity).
Can I imagine that my children will get along well with the candidate and feel comfortable?
Is the candidate really interested in the Au Pair stay or does he/she only want to get to the country in order to look for a job?
We recommend that you do not exclusively look for an Au Pair of a certain nationality, but that you broaden your choice of country and pay more attention to the character traits. There is no country with particularly "good" or particularly "bad" Au Pairs. Pay attention to the response rate and the activity of the candidate to save yourself extra time. If you do not find a candidate who wants to come to your country and meets your requirements, widen your search for candidates.
We hope that this article will help you in the selection process of your future Au Pair!