Family Interviewing Guide

How to Spot “The One” From Your Shortlist

Prepared with your Core Competencies, you can now start looking at your shortlist of au pairs.
Most families tell us that they start emailing with two or three au pair candidates and then select one or two to interview.
Although I should recommend at this point that you stick to a certain procedure when interviewing and pay close attention to the facts about your candidates, I have had many personal experiences and heard many mums say that sometimes you just “know,” especially when looking at the pictures.
Sometimes it’s a wonderful smile or a really warm interaction with children in a photo that lets you know you’ve found the right one. Follow your heart as well as your head.
Also, look out for pro-active introductions. Sometimes the au pair may contact you by email to introduce herself with a personal note once she has seen your family profile.
I am a big fan of this pro-active approach, especially when au pairs are prepared with a few questions of their own at this point.communication with your host family

Great Interviews

“What do I ask in the Interview?”

Interviewing your first au pair is both exciting and possibly slightly unnerving.
That is completely normal, and your au pair candidates will feel exactly the same way. Unlike a job interview, you are also deciding if this person would be a compatible member of your family for the next six months.
Your personalities need to be fairly compatible, and you are looking for someone with whom you share important commonalities.
Besides essential information about your family, you need to think about her interests and capabilities also. If you have a hobby or interest in common, you have a great starting point for getting to know each other and you double your chances of success.
Of course, bringing a new person into the home is also an opportunity to find out more about someone else’s interests, even as common ground is a good place to start.
Each au pair is different, and the interests and hobbies of the parents will always be part of your child’s life, too. However, what a great way to exchange a few cultural experiences!

How to hold a great interview…

Once you’ve narrowed down your candidates via their profiles and emails, it’s time to invite them to a Skype video call (or phone call) interview to talk. We highly recommend Skype as it’s the next best thing to a face-to-face interview.
When interviewing candidates, be sure that each interview question has a particular purpose and will reveal specific information you need to choose your au pair.
Don’t waste precious interview time in round one: Use each question to uncover some element of the competencies you identified as critical to your au pair position.
This section includes information on best practices for interviews.
Ready to plan your interview?
Here are a few general tips and best practices to get you into the right frame of mind:

Use open-ended questions:
To learn as much as possible, you want to get your candidates talking. Questions that require only “yes” or “no” answers rarely give you perspective into a candidate’s knowledge base or motives. By keeping your questions open-ended, you’ll give your candidates the opportunity to be thorough in their answers. Open-ended questions will also be more challenging for those candidates who aren’t prepared or the right fit for your family.

Follow up with probing questions:
Don’t feel compelled to move on to a new question immediately once another is answered. Dig deeper with follow-up questions designed to pull more detail out of the candidate’s response.
Specifically, try to get to the “why,” “how” and “who was responsible for that.” This strategy helps you learn more about the candidate’s decision-making and problem- solving style.
The way a candidate answers a question can tell you a lot about how the person feels. When listening to a response, take into account the candidate’s confidence level, amount of detail or knowledge, use of examples and even the tone of voice. Did she take a long time to think of an answer? That might be a sign of limited languages skills or limited experience on the subject. Find out before you move on.
Be aware of body language:
Similarly, you can tell a lot about a candidate through his or her casual movements and other unspoken cues. Keep an eye on how the person sits, leans, fiddles and makes eye contact. You can tell how confident, nervous or uncomfortable a candidate is about a particular question by paying attention to body language. However, please bear in mind that it is natural for the candidate to be nervous about this interview, especially if she is speaking in English; not her native language.
See if you enjoy the conversation:
Did you like spending time with her? Your au pair is someone who you and your family will not only see every day but live with. If you can’t stand talking to the person for half an hour, how will you be able to share a house for the next few months?

Have the au pair candidate ask questions:
The questions she asks can give you insight into what she absorbed during your conversation and how interested she is in your family and the position. Remember, you want an inquisitive and ”adventurous” au pair!
As we mentioned before, it is very important that you properly plan your interview questions to ensure that your conversation will give you insight into the specific skills and behavioral traits that you would like your au pair to have.