Remedial & Special Needs
Au Pairs . Facilitators . Tutors

Meet the Team

Interview Guidelines for Families:

1. Ask the question - "Why us?"
What specifically attracted the candidate to your position? If they have no particular reasons, then you could be one of many families to them and that doesn't make for a special experience. You want to be overwhelmingly chosen by your final candidates - for reasons that you believe are valid.
 
2. Confirm driving record & driving skills
If driving is required, make sure that you inquire about their driving record. Ask direct questions about practical experience and accidents.  Mother’s Load Au Pairs will verify license record as standard background checks. You are placing the lives of your children into the hands of an Au Pair every time they step behind the wheel.
We highly recommend your Au Pair, once appointed, secure Public Liability insurance.  They can contact their insurers in this regard.
 
3. Determine the candidate's motivations
Be sure to identify why the candidate wants to be an Au Pair. If the first reason they mention is that they “need a job”, “need the money” or any unrelated response, then you should be suspect. You want your candidate's first reasons to relate to their love of working with children, or their interest and experience in this line of work.
 
4. Verify everything
Mother's Load Au Pairs will check and verify all references as well as criminal background checks (includes flagging on Sexual Offenders Register), ITC and license history on all short listed candidates.
If however, you would also like to speak to previous employers, when checking references, ask yourself if you feel your standards are similar to those of the person providing you with the reference. Someone with lower standards may have nothing but good things to say about your candidate whereas someone with higher standards may have been disappointed.
Also be sure that you verify the source of your references as who they say they are. Some candidates may have you call a relative or friend who could pose as a previous employer. Verify everything.
You should also consider the disposition, energy and compatibility of the candidate. Your home is your sacred space. You have to choose the right influence for your family or your home will not feel like home any longer. If you choose someone that is too incompatible with your family, there will be disharmony. You need to make sure that you have similar values, and that the candidate's energy has a positive impact on the family.
 
5. That "Gut Feel"
Even when all the reference and background checks are free of alarming incidences, if there is something that concerns you that you can't even put your finger on, then pass. Often, your intuition is your most reliable resource. There are many good candidates out there and you should never have to settle. These are your children that you are talking about and you need to ensure their safety and well-being.
 
6. An issue of the heart
The right candidate will be the one who treats your children with love, compassion and respect.  Don't forget you're asking someone to be the stand-in adult in your absence.  While an individual may tick all the right boxes as far as education and experience is concerned, if they lack heart, it could be disastrous for your children.
 
7. What are the candidate's priorities
Without a doubt their top priority is to your children but so often these days many Au Pairs / Childminders spend more time with their electronic "babies" than they do actually looking after your children, ascertaining when the next party is going down or stalking ex-boyfriends.  The right candidate will not let their personal circumstances interfere with their priority towards your children.  Obviously if they experience urgent family matters the situation will need consideration and understanding on your part but again, someone who always has something "urgent" happening is not a serious contender.
 
8. Seek candidates who will give more than they take
Try to identify the candidates that come on strongly with the "What's in it for me" type attitude. These types of candidates will inevitably be more selfish and "taking" as opposed to selfless and giving. If the Au Pair seems overly concerned about how much money they are going to make, their benefits, overtime-pay, paid vacations, unlimited use of a car, etc. you may have a problem on your hands. Normal interest in being justly compensated is to be expected, but if a candidate is in negotiation with several families and their deciding factor will be the money and benefits package, then you would be hiring someone that is in this business for the wrong reasons.
 
9. Evaluate responsiveness & follow-through
You want to find a candidate that is truly interested in your family and that is appreciative of the opportunity that you are offering. One of the ways that you can identify if someone is appreciative of and truly interested in your opportunity is to notice how responsive they are throughout the interview process.
Do they arrive on time for the scheduled interview?
Have they communicated with you in event they are running late or need to reschedule?
Do they take an interest in your children/family by asking relevant questions?
Do they respond timeously to communication from the agency regarding the status of your hiring decision?
These actions are all indicative of who they are so keep your eyes open for tell-tale signs of good communication and responsibility.
 
10. Comfort and openess
Are you able to communicate comfortably and openly with the candidate either in person or even telephonically?  Bearing in mind that attending an interview is a nerve wracking experience for many people, a person applying for an Au Pair role should exhibit a good degree of confidence and interact / communicate with you easily.  They will be working with your children after all and we all know many kids will push boundaries and someone who does not have the right level of confidence could potentially be a push-over for them.
 
When it comes to interviewing more mature candidates, it can sometimes be described as "interviewing your mother" and some people find this difficult or uncomfortable.  The best way to approach these situations is to chat to the person as you normally would anyone you are meeting for the first time but steering the conversation in the direction of where you need it to go to extract the information you need.  It is also a technique that relaxes the candidate and you can often gain more information in this manner.  It will enable you to develop a rapport with the individual and you will know by the end of the meeting if you are comfortable with them.
 
11. Seek candidates who are genuine
While some people interview really well, are they genuine in their application?  Like employing a sales person who says all the right things in an interview but then cannot deliver on appointment, you need to confirm the consistency of a candidate's history and question them on anything that doesn't sound right.  Consistency in the individual - how they come across on paper, how they present themselves in person, how they interact personally - is key.  Again this quality must be discussed when conducting their reference checks.
 
12. Mistakes can happen
Sometimes, despite your best efforts, with the best reference checking and candidate evaluation, you will find that the Au Pair that you have selected is not the right match for your family. Ideally you want to make the best choice going in, but there may be certain unknowns that won't surface until after the candidate is already with your family. If you should find yourself in this situation don't be afraid to admit the truth and start over again. It may seem like a waste of time, money and effort, but take it as a learning experience and move on. You are better off starting fresh than trying to salvage something that you know just isn't right.