Hello! How nice that you are considering going on an adventure with an au pair. Below are some handy tips to prepare you and make sure you have everything you need to successfully interview your future au pair. Love, Nina
3 Interview sample questions
How do you choose your au pair from all the candidates?
- To get started, go through the information about the candidates and look at the photos and pieces of text.
- Follow your intuition when reading an au pair’s files, but don’t be misled by a just clumsy photo or sentence either. The ladies are sometimes not all equally good at presenting themselves on paper. But that doesn’t say anything about how much fun they are with your kids, and that’s what it’s all about after all.
- Compile a top 3 of the candidates that appealed to you the most. Do you find it difficult? First, make a list of the most important characteristics you expect and see which profiles fit best with them. For example, it is important that an au pair can do the tasks you want and has the experience you want. But the most important thing is that your standards and values match and the motivation of the au pair matches what you expect.
General interview tips
- You can meet in our digital meeting room.
- A conversation often lasts between 10 and 20 minutes.
- Often the au pairs are a bit nervous before the interview. So first put them at ease by giving them a compliment about something that appealed to you in the profile information. Or ask “how was your day today what did you do?”.
- Keep in mind that not everyone speaks English equally well! Therefore, make shorter sentences and use easy words if things don’t go so smoothly.
- Most importantly, make sure the au pair genuinely loves children.
- Also discuss important points such as pocket money, holiday plans, and your expectations in the house. You can probably fill in and discuss a weekly schedule.
Interview sample questions
- Start by introducing yourself so that he or she can get used to it. Tell about your family, your hobbies, where you live, what kind of work you do, and what your kids love.
- Question: Can you tell us something about yourself? How old are you, did you study? What are your hobbies? Do you have brothers or sisters?
- Where do you live now, is that a big city?
- Why did you want to become an au pair?
Personality of your au pair
- How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
- How do you think your previous au pair family would describe you?
- What are your strengths and weaknesses/characteristics?
- What do you like to eat?
- Do you have a boyfriend/girlfriend and if so what does she think? What do your parents think of the plan to become an au pair?
- Would you like your friends/family to visit?
- Have you ever been abroad/in NL before?
- How long do you want to go abroad?
Your au pair’s experience
It is not wrong to do a small test to test your prospective au pair.
- Have you worked with children before? And if so what ages?
- What did you like about this and what activities did you undertake with the children?
- Do you already have children of your own?
- If you were to entertain the children for 2 hours, what would you do?
- What would you do if the kids didn’t listen? (give a real-life example that often occurs e.g. not wanting to go to bed)
Into the depths: Motives of your au pair
- What is something that really makes you very happy when you do that?
- What did you want to be as a child?
- Why did you start doing your education that you are doing?
- What do you want to do next?
- What do you really value in your friends?
- What do you believe in that many other people don’t?
- Do you have a religion?
Practical matters of the au pair
- What do you expect your tasks to be/your life will look like?
- What things do you want to discover in your spare time do you already have an idea of this?
- Do you have a preference for certain cities in the Netherlands?
- Have you ever cooked before? If so what can you make good? And what kind of food do you like? Would you be okay with helping cook?
- Do you plan to return home and if so how often?
- Do you have a driver’s license and how many times have you driven? (If necessary)
- Would you like to go on holiday with our family?
- Do you smoke?
- Are you vegetarian/ what are your dietary requirements/ if you are vegetarian do you cook meat?
- Are you afraid/allergic to pets? (If necessary)
- What do you think you like most about being an au pair?
- What do you think is going to be tough? Do you suffer from homesickness a lot?
- What do you want to do if you are no longer an au pair after a year?
The preparations for the arrival of your au pair
- Try to keep in regular contact with the au pair by e-mail before their arrival.
- Make sure the au pair’s room looks cozy!
- You will receive a template from us to create a weekly schedule. (This is also mandatory to complete) Make this weekly schedule in such a way that it is pleasant for the au pair: sufficient variety in tasks and sufficient rest. Do it in such a way that you would find it a nice grid yourself. We will send you a sample!
- Make a program for the first days and week to put the au pair at ease, to get acquainted with the children and their new country.
Meeting your au pair
- Remember that a first meeting for the au pair is much more exciting for him or her than for you! The au pair is often also tired of the long journey and of all the emotions surrounding leaving home and the new year that awaits her. Try to put the au pair at ease!
- Once at home there may be the first short introduction to the children. Do not make this first acquaintance too long, the au pair often also has jet lag and it is better to give you some rest.
- Give the au pair the opportunity to retire to her room, freshen up in the bathroom, change clothes, etc. and call her parents.
- The au pair is often hungry or thirsty. Put enough packed food or drink in her room in advance. This way she can also eat or drink something in the middle of the night if she suffers from jet lag.
- Depending on the time of arrival, you can agree on a time when you will meet downstairs for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Also, let her know what time she is expected the next day.
- Try to stimulate the au pair to adapt immediately to the time difference. This prevents jet lag.
Getting comfortable with your au pair
- Make a plan of how you are going to train the au pair, it’s all new and it takes a bit of investment to explain everything now.
- Dose the information and spread it over several days.
- Please note that you cannot leave the au pair with the children independently for the first three days after arrival.
- Let the au pair participate in the daily ins and outs of your family as much as possible.
- Discuss the daily schedule and what you expect from her every day.
- Encourage asking questions, au pairs often don’t dare to ask everything.
- Watch for signs of homesickness: Poor sleep, headaches, sadness, stomachaches, and no hunger are signs of this. Homesickness often passes after a few days. What helps is asking what things an au pair liked at home, and asking what she or he misses. You can also say that it is very normal and occurs in almost all au pairs in the 1st week… Distraction and talking about it with people helps a lot. Paracetamol also works. Don’t sympathize too much that is counterproductive stay positive.
- Avoid misunderstandings. If you feel that the au pair doesn’t understand you, let her say it in her own words. This way you can check whether the message has arrived.
- Compliment her when she does something right, but correct her immediately if you want something different.
The first weeks with an au pair at home
- Stick to the daily schedule as much as possible. This ensures that the au pair gets a routine in her work.
- Be realistic in your expectations. Depending on the country of origin, the first month for an au pair is a kind of survival. The au pair needs time to adjust to their new country and your family. Not everything will go well all at once.
- Clear communication. Be clear in what you expect. Avoid misunderstandings and discuss problems. Give constructive criticism. For example: “I would like it if you would do this.”
- Build the confidence of the au pair. Give compliments, be considerate, take the time to get to know her, and surprise her with a little something or a day off
- Encourage the au pairs to engage in activities and make new friends.
- Warn us if you suspect serious homesickness. The au pair training guide, which every au pair has, describes in detail how you can best deal with homesickness.