Au Pair Tips: Questions to Ask the Host Family During the Interview
Questions to help au pairs decide if a host family is right for them.
The au pair interview is a two-way process. As an au pair candidate, you may be preoccupied with perfecting your answers to the interview questions but it is vital that you use this opportunity to learn as much as you can about your potential new host family. Remember – you are interviewing them as much as they are interviewing you.
There are a wide range of questions that you can ask to gain a greater insight into what life will be like as their au pair. If you feel uncomfortable asking the host family the more difficult questions - such as the kids’ behaviour and your salary – in your first phone call, then keep them for the second interview. You should have a minimum of two calls with the family before you make your decision. During one of the calls, the parents should introduce you to their children so you can get an idea of what they are like.
Here are some questions that you should ask during the interview to help get an insight into their family life:
- How many kids do they have?
- What ages are the kids?
- Why do the family want an au pair?
- What do they expect from you?
- What will a typical day look like for you?
- What will your duties include?
- What are the family’s hobbies and interests?
- What do they do on the weekends?
These questions are a good way to start you off and give you an idea of what the family is like. However, these are not the kind of questions you can alone make your decision on. Here are some specific questions that all au pairs should ask potential host families before making their decision:
- Will the family expect you to cook?
- How many hours will you be expected to babysit?
- How much pocket money will you receive?
- Will they provide you with healthcare coverage?
- Will you have a curfew?
- Will you be allowed have friends over?
- Will you have free access to the internet?
- Will you have internet in your bedroom?
- Do they want you to go on holidays with them?
- How do the kids respond to authority? Will the parents help establish you as an authority figure to the children?
- What do the parents do and are they home during the daytime often?
- Can they help you find a language course and who will pay for it?
- Do they have any special dietary requirements?
- How far is their home from the nearest town and is it accessible by public transport?
- Will you need to drive?
- Have they had an au pair before? If so, can they give you their contact details so you can check the reference?
After a second or third interview, you should be ready to make a decision. It is important to note that it is up to you as the au pair to verify that the host family is safe and you are comfortable going to live in their home.
If you decide to stay with the host family, you must draw up an Au Pair Contract that will formalise the answers to these questions and any other aspects of au pair life.
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